Mayo Clinic takes a gold for developing data-mining software that monitors its employees' use of credit cards. The cards enable small-dollar purchases without time-wasting paperwork and processing—key for staff who should be focused on patients' needs—but introduce the potential for abuse or policy violations.

Credit card issuers have long used software to identify potentially problematic patterns when, for example, purchases are made in New York and then 10 minutes later in Seattle. The Mayo Clinic's software, says Erich Heneke, senior manager of supply chain audit and controls, instead looks for internal fraud.

"A credit card company would never notice if you use a corporate credit card in a neighborhood grocery store, but that looks suspicious to us," Heneke says.

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