Give me your medication list and I'll tell you your health problems.
It happens every day in emergency rooms across the country as confused elderly patients present for an acute problem unable to describe their past medical history but equipped with a list of medications in their wallet.
Metformin = type II diabetes
Synthroid = hypothyroidism
Lipitor + Altace + Lasix + Slo-K = ischemic cardiomyopathy
Lexapro = He's a little anxious or depressed
Viagra = Well, you know...
I bet I'd be right better than 90% of the time.
Now, imagine you're a pharmaceutical company wanting to target people with those chronic diseases. Where might you find them?
No problem. Just pay the insurers to provide you patients drug lists. No names need be exchanged in keeping with HIPAA requirements. But the drugs list attached to folk's cable TV box?
Perfect. You're in. With no legal strings attached. Then just fire away with that targeted direct-to-consumer advertising on TV, courtesy of your local health care insurance provider.
No wonder our health care industry movers and shakers love the electronic medical record.
Health care privacy? What health care privacy?