The relationship between a doctor and patient is a sacred one dependent upon trust. But is that trust now threatened when a doctor begins spying on you?
How would you feel if you received this call from a case manager at your local hospital:
Good Afternoon, Mrs. Jones.
We've noticed that your gym membership has lapsed and that you've increased the amount of ice cream youre buying. We should discuss how proper exercise and a good diet will keep your diabetes under control.
Your sense of privacy just vaporized in an instant.
Thats exactly what 2 groups - Carolinas HealthCare System and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have started doing by mixing your electronic health record (EHR) with consumer data they can acquire through companies such as LexisNexis and Acxiom Corp.
Even if a doctor doesn't see you more than once a year, she knows if you've stopped going to the gym, if youve started smoking, if youre eating way too much fast food, and much more based on your spending habits gathered by data brokers.
Why are they suddenly going to such lengths?
Thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, frequently referred to as Obamacare, hospitals and physicians find themselves in a bind.
After getting paid big bucks to install flashy new EHR systems that enable them to store all patient information in a central location, these groups are now:
- being hit with demands to bring down readmission rates, control diabetes, and
- focus more on preventative measures to avoid illness,
- when they fail to meet specific goals and guidelines, they are fined,
- And where does that leave Americans, whose sense of privacy has already become a tattered thing?
- Isn't it our right to choose what to eat, drink or smoke?
- Doesn't that fall somewhere within the guidelines of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
- if you choose to be unhealthy, is it then the responsibility of all United States citizens to help pay for your medical care through ever-increasing medical costs?
- or is this the job of doctors who are paid to keep us healthy and a matter of educating people regarding the dangers of their bad choices?