Healthcare groups are reportedly now using credit card and other consumer data to determine the health habits of patients. That means hospitals may soon take note if you let your gym membership expire, make a habit of purchasing a lot of junk food or cigarettes.

Bloomberg reports that “some hospitals are starting to use detailed consumer data to create profiles on current and potential patients to identify those most likely to get sick, so the hospitals can intervene before they do.”

Obamacare states hospitals can be fined if patients are re-admitted shortly after initial treatment. This has put pressure on hospitals to keep patients healthy, the Daily Mail reports.

credit cards

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Whether you know it or not, data brokers are compiling massive amounts of information on consumers from public records. Large hospital chains are already utilizing data from millions of patients.

More from the Bloomberg report:

The largest hospital chain in the Carolinas is plugging data for 2 million people into algorithms designed to identify high-risk patients, while Pennsylvania’s biggest system uses household and demographic data. Patients and their advocates, meanwhile, say they’re concerned that big data’s expansion into medical care will hurt the doctor-patient relationship and threaten privacy.

[…]

Acxiom Corp. (ACXM) and LexisNexis are two of the largest data brokers who collect such information on individuals. Acxiom says their data is supposed to be used only for marketing, not for medical purposes or to be included in medical records. LexisNexis said it doesn’t sell consumer information to health insurers for the purposes of identifying patients at risk.

“What we are looking to find are people before they end up in trouble,” Dr. Michael Dulin, who is reportedly in charge of the data monitoring program in the Carolinas, told Bloomberg.

Jorjanne Murry, an accountant in Charlotte, North Carolina, with Type 1 diabetes, said the data monitoring is “intrusive.”

“It is one thing to have a number I can call if I have a problem or question, it is another thing to get unsolicited phone calls. I don’t like that,” Murry added.

Other privacy advocates say the new algorithm-based technology is invasive and will hurt the doctor-patient relationship, WFAA-TV reports.

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