System for Targeting Advertisements based on Patient Electronic Medical Record Data

A US Patent application has been filed for a 'System for Targeting Advertisements based on Patient Electronic Medical Record Data'. This is so Wrong on so many levels.

I have written about EMR Data sales in the past as also how some free EMR models work. There are also some downright illegal activities like this one involving Prozac.

This particular Patent application is about 'a patient specific informational material distribution system, that comprises of at least one repository or informational material items associated with corresponding particular medical conditions and an individual item is associated with at least one medical condition.'

Where is this going?

On one extreme why not allow a doctor to give full access to the practice's patient database to a pharma company? I can see people saying, this will not happen, there are regulations in place. But, we all know how it starts. One isolated instance, then another and another. People start discussing mainstream, and then it just happens.

As EMR adoption increases, hospitals and academia start focusing on big data in the name of better analysis for greater good. The downside effect is bound to happen. I do expect such things to happen. While people say there is no good system to match offers and demand in healthcare,  with increasing adoption of EMR, it is just a matter of time.

I do not know what the real intent of this patent filing was but at least for now, there are regulatory responsibilities to ensure everything is legal.

Is it certainly something I will be watching with a keen eye in the months/years to come.