Tracking patient’s health using credit card details

This may seem a little weird when you read about it. Hospitals have found a way to identify patients with a sedentary lifestyle by tapping into their credit card details. They use an algorithm which obtains these details about a patient’s medical history and purchases that may indicate his or her lifestyle. After getting this information, it will foresee the health issues that a patient could face in the future even before the doctors can diagnose it. This system is already in use in Carolina’s HealthCare system. It makes us of this data to track the health condition of its members.


An example

A detailed explanation of this system’s working can be given by taking the case of an Asthma patient. They track a patient’s condition by how they refill their prescription, whether they are smoking cigarettes or not and whether they are living in an area which is polluted with pollen. Michael Dulin who is a chief clinical officer for analytics and outcome research for the medical network has said that they work with big data and predictive models to find an individual’s habits and thereby determine their health status based on these habits.

Reasons for introducing this system


This system was introduced by Obamacare to prevent the flooding of hospital bills by patients who often find themselves in the emergency rooms. Another reason for introducing this system is that medical centers are no longer paid based on the number of tests they perform. Hence it is more feasible for them to decrease the number of these tests and tracking the patient’s habits using their credit card history enables them to achieve this goal.

Issues surrounding this system

Like every other system, this one has also faced some criticism from the public. JorjanneMurry who is a type-1 diabetes patient says that she cannot tolerate the phone calls she receives from unknown people as a result of using this system. She adds that she is extremely irritated by the calls she gets from her insurer regarding her health issues.
Another issue is that now our private data are in the hands of unauthorized agencies. These unauthorized agencies include data brokers who collect these information and the hospitals or healthcare centers to which they sell this data. Also, there is no information about the type of details these health care centers source from the information agencies.