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Hospitals Mine Data To Communicate with Patients

HEALTHCARE PRIVACY—U.S.

November 13, 2012

The Columbus Dispatch reports on Ohio hospitals’ data-mining practices for targeted advertising. OhioHealth and Mount Carmel Health System “routinely mine health data from their patients’ records to decide who should receive certain mailings,” the report states. While OhioHealth uses data to message patients with diabetes or heart conditions, Mount Carmel uses the data to send reminders about routine procedures. Both organizations say their tactics comply with privacy laws and data is encrypted. Twenty-five percent of U.S. hospitals use similar techniques. Some patients don’t mind; a recent survey of cancer patients found almost 60 percent said they were willing to share de-identified data for research purposes.
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