This is definitely a fine line on data mining and appears to be an additional query source of information. This response creates a number of unanswered issues on how the information could or would be used, especially without an option for anyone to "opt out". With drill down type queries created, the identity of an individual could very easily be narrowed down to a potential job candidate. Who would be the next user of this type of a data base, headhunters to perhaps financially gain in the process? BD
In response to Andis Robezniek's "Advisory groups to help with Blues claims database":
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association's illegal and unethical plan to sell data to large employers on all 79 million Blues enrollees against their will, without informed consent, and with no way to opt-out cannot be "cleaned up" by claiming that the data is "de-identified" or by adding unpaid advisers from government or private industry to contribute "research-based insights" to justify their theft and sale of sensitive health and claims data.
Forced participation in research is abhorrent. America is not yet a gulag. "Research" conducted in this fashion will drive people away from participation in the healthcare system. No one wants secret snooping in his or her most sensitive personal records of all: medical records.
First, it is critical to point out the obvious: It is impossible to de-identify health data. There are simply too many unique pieces of identifying information, dates and places that cannot all be removed from records.
A medical record of a 55-year-old person who had a CT scan at Seton Hospital in Austin on April 15, 2007, could easily be re-identified by his/her employer, even by other employers like Dell. How many employees were absent from work that day? How many employees submitted medical claims for that day? His/her data could be re-identified by other large employers who could easily match him/her up by using programs to match public voter registration databases with health databases for re-identification. Then they may not hire that person.
Sadly and criminally, the greatest use of Americans' electronic health data today is by the data-mining industry for profit. And not a single dime of this money from using and selling our stolen private property goes to improve the health of a single sick person. Even though HIPAA allows "covered entities" to use and sell electronic health data, the data-miners are still violating stronger state laws that require consent before access to and disclosure of medical records.