This is always a great topic as you just don’t know what data mining algorithms could be mining your data. Yup, there’s that word again and it’s an algorithm that is written in code that does this.  Do you not think that algorithms are in control today or rather should I say some of those that create them in order to gain information?

And Now A Word About Privacy – Digital Signs Using Hidden Facial Recognition Software To Market You and Store Data – Are They Playing in a Physician’s Office Near You?image

Now this has you worried, walk with a mask in the future I guess and don’t look at digital signage boards as they may be marketing you from the face.    If nothing else this makes a statement on how health insurance companies dig and dig for any data they can get.  Here’s an example of what United is doing.

UnitedHealthCare To Use Data Mining Algorithms On Claim Data To Look For Those At “Risk” of Developing Diabetes – Walgreens and the YMCA Benefit With Pay for Performance Dollars to Promote and Supply The Tools

It’s those sneaky algorithms and wimpy disclosures that will get you.  We come back to the programmers and coders paid to do such things usually at the instruction of others wanting the data.  Nielsen decided it was a bad practice and said they were not doing this any longer, but again not doubting their word but only your programmer knows for sure. 

Junk Insurance Lawsuit Filed Against Texas Firm Healthmarkets by LA City Attorney–More Algorithms for Profit Conflicting With Care

Marketing and digging for data is pretty much destroying the very basis and value of what it was set up to do in healthcare as it is being seen as a “secret weapon” these days. Remember this story to where the folks were marketed.  I don’t know about you but I’m not putting my information on these sites or answering an quizzes, but have never been one to do that anyway. 

Patients Like Me Experienced Data Mining Through a Data Mining Research Firm Break In –The Nielsen Company

Now there are marketing companies that flat out buy your prescription data and sell it to insurers or companies doing clinical trials too and this you have no control over if you are on record at a pharmacy or PBM and the second company notes below is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Health Care and this has been going on for years and they make big dollars doing it. 

You can read the statement from Milliman about Intelliscript here.


“Does this process make it more difficult for consumers to get insurance?
No.  There is nothing new about consumers authorizing the release of their medical records, including prescriptions, to insurers.  This standard process has been in place for decades, helping insurers make good decisions about rates and insurability.”

You can read more about Ingenix MedPoint here.

There’s also a flash presentation where you can view the process here.


“By increasing understanding of potential disease conditions and relative risk, MedPoint enables underwriters to more accurately project future claims costs on a case-by-case basis.”

Data mining is just another series of algorithms out there functioning on the web to find data.  Writing queries to match is not that hard once one finds a common denominator and again read below to where the one company wants a patent on their automated query system to match up your personal information with the likes of Twitter and Facebook

Habits and Identities Revealed via Coupons – Facebook Fan Pages Can Make User ID Visible – Shopping Algorithms Reduce Privacy And Increase Visibility

You don’t have to be on Facebook but it has happened there too and some of it gets sold.  During healthcare reform politics before the law was signed we had play money from a game on Facebook going to Blue Cross. 

Have You Been Suckered In by FaceBook to Play Games To Support Employer and Insurance Company Reform Initiatives?

Again, always read the “privacy statements” for each site and try your best to figure out exactly what it means.  This week, Humana came out with a game for people to play and connect devices to report data, where does that information go?  In the case of this game, I would rather connect and put the information into my PHR Healthvault so I know I have it and exactly who has access, me. 

Health Insurer Humana Introduces a New Game Called FamScape–Making It Fun to Get And Maybe Mine Your Data?

If all this information was not in some fashion used against us, there would probably be a lower resistance but when we have steroid algorithmic marketing out there and it’s only going to get worse, stay away from all of it would be my advice if you don’t agree with or understand the privacy statement. 

My next question here, what is the FTC going to do with all these questionable algorithms?  Hmmmm….we are too late to the party once again as I suggested a couple years ago some type of regulations are needed here since it costs consumers money and potential identify issues.  Is the FTC going to get some code hackers in to see what’s behind the scenes here? 

Only your algorithm knows for sure.

“Department of Algorithms – Do We Need One of These to Regulate Upcoming Laws?

There’s a bit more here on a prior post I wrote on the topic below.  As a consumer if you want to get even on some of these sites, just lie with some exaggerated numbers and perhaps we can all create such inflated data bases that are filled to the brim with data that is so far beyond belief they might throw it away <grin>. 

Why Is Almost Everyone In Healthcare Marketing Their “Ass” Off

Don’t let the wrong algorithms hit you in the back on your way out the door as Algorithmic marketing has arrived.  BD

QualityHealth is one of a number of companies cited in the complaint to the F.T.C. filed by four nonprofit privacy and consumer advocacy groups. In the complaint, the Center for Digital Democracy, U.S. PIRG, Consumer Watchdog and the World Privacy Forum charged that online marketing of medications, products and medical services posed fundamental new risks to consumer privacy and health because of sophisticated data collection and patient-profiling techniques.

Some sites, the complaint said, were not transparent enough about how they tracked people through users’ online heath searches and discussions or how they categorized and marketed to their conditions. Other sites may not be entirely open about how they create and use data profiles about users or blur the line between independent and sponsored content, the complaint said.

The concern, said Ed Mierzwinski, the consumer program director at U.S. PIRG, is not just about data mining and marketing that could influence patients to seek drugs they do not need or to spend more money on branded drugs rather than generics. More broadly, employers or health insurers could gain access to the consumers’ data profiles, leading to potential problems or penalties against the consumer, he said.

A notice at the bottom of QualityHealth’s member registration form, for example, provides a link to the site’s privacy policy. The policy explains that information that may or may not identify someone may be used for ads aimed at consumers.

Mr. Vladeck offered a hypothetical example of a core privacy question. “Suppose someone goes online to read about depression, should that person get targeted with ads for antidepressants, for counseling services or books about depression?”

Online Health Sites Share Personal Data, Privacy Groups Say -


Post a Comment

Google Analytics Alternative