Hospitals Monitor Patients’ Credit Card Accounts

July 7, 2014, Written By Lynn Oldshue
Medical team with male patient at reception desk in hospital

How would you like it if your doctor knew exactly how you spent your money every month? That pack of cigarettes you tried to keep secret or that trip to Cinnabon would be put on display for your doctor to review. This may sound like an invasion of privacy, but it is happening in hospitals every single day.

Several hospitals in America are now using detailed consumer data to create patient profiles that doctors can review. The idea is to provide doctors with a way to identify patients who are most likely to get sick and intervene before that ever happens.

The data in these patient profiles is a combination of information from public records and credit card transactions. The data is protected by the doctor-patient confidentiality agreement, but many patients feel it goes too far. The most prominent use of this system is in a major chain of hospitals in North and South Carolina.

Would you want your doctor knowing about your spending habits, or would you prefer keeping things the way they are? Do you think there are any benefits to letting your doctor know this information? For now, the program is not widespread enough for most people to be concerned, but the practice may begin someday at your local hospital.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of July 7, 2014. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.