I am torn. When I first read this this article in the WSJ I was on-board. But then it felt creepy. The title is
Investigators Use New Strategy to Combat Opioid Crisis: Data Analytics
Justice Department tracks prescription and billing records to find patterns of abuse in opioid epidemic
The article starts out like this and goes:
When federal investigators got a tip in 2015 that a health center in Houston was distributing millions of doses of opioid painkillers, they tried a new approach: look at the numbers.
State and federal prescription and medical billing data showed a pattern of overprescription, giving authorities enough ammunition to send an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent. She found a crowded waiting room and armed security guards. After a 91-second appointment with the sole doctor, the agent paid $270 at the cash-only clinic and walked out with 100 10mg pills of the powerful opioid hydrocodone.
Yes, I get it! These pill mills needed to be raided and the doctors jailed. Oh, and the patients should have been jailed, too, as many were just diverters. And, in the case above, the doctor did go to jail.
Then I read this:
The Justice Department effort is led by a data scientist with a Ph.D. and staffed by veteran health-care fraud prosecutors working in both Washington and out in the field. They pull and examine a huge trove of data culled from Medicare, Medicaid, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state pharmacy databases and other sources.
Is anyone else afraid of what the government can do with this unlimited data? Are you overprescribing antibiotics? Do you not include enough Medicaid patients in your panel? I hope you see where I am going with this.
Or am I just being paranoid?