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Senator Pushing on Behavioral Health–Sounds Like We Have Another “Algo Duped” “Paper Lawmaker” on

Posted Sep 19 2013 2:56pm

Here we go again with more rhetoric on just “pounding on those consumers again” with using technology to change their behaviors.  So what’s done in DC to change behaviors like this I ask?  You have to give this a bit of satire as 84% of the Senators we have today still use all paper methodologies instead of using the digital capabilities of what the Senate provides…so what does that tell you about what’s going to come out of the halls of knowledge here when they don’t participate, more duping with buying to all kinds of stats and numbers that nobody verifies for accuracy but repetition in the media convinces all they “must” be right:)

The numbers of Congressmen in the House were said to be a little better but over whelming we are stuffed with “Paper Congressmen” all around us.  My representative still uses “robo calls by phone” to communicate with constituents.  What’s up with that? 

Of course this post is not going to be very popular with those who market analytics up the ying yang and actually I agreed with a bunch of Australian bankers a while back that half of the analytics companies invest in will be a waste of money.  I don’t Paper Lawmakers can see this are they are largely the “non participants” here and don’t have a clue about all the data and software the end consumers work with.  It’s easy to sit in an ivory type tower and listen to lobbyists and people with their own interests and get duped.  Software and analytics are the easiest thing in the world to push as it does what it says it will but many times there’s no discussion on how it might impact what someone is already using and how software builds on itself and the “software platform” makes that easy to keep adding layer after layer.  Software companies are not dumb. 

Some do participate in technology and we had one example recently with John McCain and found out where they think the benefits are with technology, playing poker to entertain oneself..perfect poster child for the focus of this post:)  That tells me up front where the minds go on the Hill one big duper on this one on public display. 

Senator John McCain: Another Demonstration of Why Congress Should Reinstitute the Office of Technology Assessment, When Education Takes Place, Less Distractions With Boredom And More Respect for Consumers…

Yesterday all the folks in technology enjoyed the show after the Bernanke news with the charts showing the bots working in milliseconds to show how people invest anymore, all automated with investment software.  Bernanke is smart enough to know what the algos do and rather than to suggest an “unknown” path he’s staying with the current game as we history here and with tapering, who in the hell knows what the algorithms would do with that “unknown”.  You have to realize that all laws today are tied to at least one IT Infrastructure and lawmakers don’t see to catch this ride yet sadly. 

You can look at the proposed re-instatement of Glass-Steagall, yes better than nothing but it’s a “low tech” solution to “high tech” problem, in other words the world has gone beyond what the solution can potentially solve as the banks would get 5 more bonus years of writing models before the actual money transfers would have to take place.  I like Elizabeth Warren and she’s all we have as consumers but again is this solution a result of the majority of those being “Paper Lawmakers”.  You do by osmosis learn about technologies and how they work by using them.  The paradigm in DC of “its for those guys over there still lives sadly”. 

Glass-Steagall Revival Presents a “Low Tech” Partial Solution for an Industry that Needs “High Tech” Regulation-Consumers Get 5 More Years of Bank Modeling For Inequality With Segmentation - No Real Regulation In Sight

Speaking of numbers the other day I saw some nonsense from the McKinsey group claiming to save a “trillion” over 10 years..to big but out there to market and show value for what they do so everyone who bought in on that one was “duped” but the numbers with marketing do prey creating a sense of urgency with readers whether there is one or not.  Like I said millions and billions are always up for discussion but when the “T” word comes in and we spend a bit over 2 trillion a year on healthcare in the US and this guy says in ten years we can save a trillions”  Come on, do some very simple math to figure out that number was too high. 

The consultant firms out there make big money and a book came out about McKinsey recently that said some companies pay millions so their CEO can have a buddy that will reaffirm all their decisions and the company does crank out CEOs, remember Enron..they were there right by their side the whole time, and GM.

I think back to the song from years ago and the lyrics “everybody must get stoned” and think we could appropriately replace the last word with “duped’.  Sure there are some good analytics happening out there in healthcare and beyond with trending and good solid clinical data and even that gets put up for sale instead of being shared for the “good” of the nation.  Insurers make a ton of money selling data as such and I wonder how much of the data selling goes up up against competing with the FDA, you know that “consumer agency” that is supposed to help and guide us.  Just look around the news at the subsidiaries of insurers today and the data selling is alive and well.

Pharma and Health Insurance Companies Pairing Up, Humana’s Analytics Subsidiary and Lilly To Figure Out How to Save (Make) Money and Provide Better Patient Care–Selling Research Data That Competes With FDA Sentinel Initiative

Algo Duping is non partisan but those companies who do it well for their own self interests prey on the ones who are least knowledgeable in lawmaking for sure as they want to make money.  Why not, they are easiest pickings.  Cathy O’Neil who was featured in the PBS special about Money, Power and Wall Street makes this point very well in this clip from the series and talks about her work on Wall Street, and by the way she used to be Larry Summers’s Quant at DE Shaw and nobody was happier than her this week on him pulling from the race.

  She’s also one who reached out to educate the Occupy group on banking and was a big part of their education process, which whether you agree with them or not, “they got educated” and in a time where we hear pounded in the news, just like with this Congressman, what not give out an “atta boy” but it wasn’t someone getting sprayed with mace or beat with a club so the value there didn’t make huge news…does that give you a clue of what’s wrong out there?   As a contrast you have extreme knowledge here from her point of view versus the “Paper Congressman” syndrome. 

When you read the opening statements of doing a better job to transform the healthcare system from this Senator, how many have said this..you read it every week multiple times in the news..so what let’s move forward and say some thing substantial now:) 

In the news this week we had the University of Pennsylvania in the news with the big brother smack of penalizing those who did not participate and this is important to bring up as it relates to folks thinking that all it takes is technology to change people’s behavior, wrong, some tools can help but it’s the person who changes their behavior and over the years the human touch from others is what works, not dumping an app out there and saying there’s your cure.  This permeates out there sadly and this Senator is right in there so again why I feel we might have Paper Lawmaker on the case. 

At Penn State, they need money, their partner WebMD needs money so when you look at it that way there’s the motivation to use the big brother methodologies as if people participate in the Wellness program they can sell data.  Again just look at the links above on how insurers do this and many Wellness companies are owned by insurance companies and this is why I keep telling folks to look under the hood and see the massive numbers of subsidiary companies most of them have and what kind of businesses they are in to see the big picture put in front of you. Following the money has not lead me wrong yet:)  When you see big companies like Walgreens pulling in a cool billion a year selling data, well what does that tell you? Add everyone in who is selling data (which would be a massive index) and hey you have a ton of money being made selling consumer data. 

This week too with employees of big firms being moved over to “consultant” companies with private exchanges has them concerned and rightly so I think as the main focus of the firms running the exchanges is the shareholder.  Keep in mind “the consultants” AON and Tower will be providing analytics to their clients they service, Walgreens, IBM, and so on as to what the cost is probably in real time and will be able to find tiny areas to where changes can be made but again that’s to keep the shareholders going and the impact on the employees may not be given the attention it should get as the employees will have to learn to sink or swim using the exchanges.  Do you not think the consultants will be providing this type of analytical service to their clients..crawl out from under the rock if not.  As I mentioned with a little satire that AON can even provide ransom and kidnapping insurance, which indicates to me they have some highly visible clients, CEOs or otherwise that may need this service, why advertise if not?

Ok so back to “Mr. Paper Lawmaker” and the comments…he’s concerned that that telehealth is not doing anything to reduce wait times…the mentality you would again expect as I have written about the benefits of telehealth and agree if done correct and you keep the “data selling element” out of it from what’s done on websites, it can be very helpful.  Hospitals use it like Banner in Phoenix for monitoring ICU patients, and I think that’s great, but it’s not what is being discussed here though, totally different picture to get consumers on the web in masses to use web services that expose consumers to advertising for insurers and again who’ scraping data…we don’t know. 

Banner Medical Centers in Phoenix Offering Telehealth Monitoring in Intensive Care Unit–iCare System Option

We can pretty much figure there’s a big interest in this as all will want toimage sell their stats on how many consumers used it, how many consulted for a cold, how many consulted for the flu and so on.  Maybe not now but with hospital marketing along data selling reaching obnoxious limits of late perhaps that hospital will be using the data to sell their services internally?  The company providing the service will certainly want the numbers to create a white paper to sell it and what will their sales pitch look like?  I get regular marketing mailers in the US mail from all the hospitals in my are in Orange County, all the time.  I throw them away. 

I’m going to embed one of my favorite videos here and it’s always in the footer of this blog “It’s all about context” and it will make you think about numbers and stats that are fed to you on a daily basis..it’s hard to figure out what’s real and when you are duped. Professor Siefe gave this lecture at Google.   When I looked at the McKinsey report talking Trillions I simply used what I learned from this video to determine the numbers were too big and that the report was a “duper”.  There is a time and place to be a skeptic when you need to be.

In what I have watched over the years too you can’t expect much from HHS in this area either as Dupees are in control over there when it comes to Health IT and why having someone in charge that can be a skeptic and not get soaked is becoming more important all the time.  I said it back in 2009 that some knowledge of Health IT would be imperative as the years moved on, and again to me anyway, looks like that is still an issue, again with all the Algo Duping going on.  I just hope we have not reached the point in government where all are duped beyond repair and thinking apps and software are a solution for behaviors..just look at this post and you will find several links that allude to that line of thought…”like hurry up health IT” as all of this is information that’s public record and quoting folks that say it.

Sebelius Has Bees in Her Bonnet–Giving A Contract to Good Data to Mine HHS Employees Data So We Can See What They Think? Who Cares…Algo Duping Strikes Again…

I have written several times about HHS being horrible role models and there’s nothing better than when you get employees speaking out on their success is there?  When it comes to personal health records stories it was like “pulling teeth” to get a few to talk about how PHRs help them.  I found couple but I assume the resistance for more to add success stories is the fact they are not using one..that’s usually the case and you even find oxymoron software developers who are in it for the money and don’t even use their own apps that they create for consumers.  Is the developer not a a consumer too and don’t they believe in their own product?  A lot of this came about again with the transitional leaders we had too, like Aneesh Chopra who was a great cheerleader and what was needed at the time; however in listening to some of his later speeches all I was hearing was him telling developers ‘you can get rich”, which might make sense from his background at that’s where he has returned, selling analytics and consulting.  See how this influence rubs off on government departments if you will. 

Aneesh Chopra Former US Chief Technology Officer Returns to “The Advisory Board Company” Publicly Traded on NASDAQ That Sells Software Consulting & Analytics

Back to the article and Paper Lawmakers here, we have this Rand study quoted in here talking about a potential $700 billion dollar savings that is creating this sense of urgency.  We are getting close to that TRILLION word again but this time it’s even worse as they are claiming this can be saved “annually” so it just sucked in the Paper Lawmakers like a virus:)  Watch that video above or in the footer again to “get this” (grin). Reminder: US spend a bit over 2 Trillion a year on healthcare.

Again what you are sucking in out there today?  These are just guesses based on numbers and it’s all about context here and if you visit the Algo Duping page or scroll down to the footer hear, again I advise all to watch the quant documentary as insurers have quants by the 100s doing the same thing except its healthcare math models.  Pay attention to Paul Wilmott saying the quants were lost and didn’t have a clue so the science of their numbers was quoted as “we’ll just use six”..wake up time on stats and reports folks.  It does make you think and wonder how many banks, financial firms and insurers are using “we’ll just use six” when they can’t come up with a model to please CEOs and investors, right?  This is again where Cathy comes in to talk and make sense out of what goes on, her video above and who better to listen to than those folks who create models.  But as she says in one of her videos, they end up being the “grunts” for the likes of Larry Summers and others out there that “want the model that makes money and guess what, its could be that “we’ll just pick six” model that rakes in the money. 

When asking for math model accountability I think we need to know do we have a real working model or are the financial institutes and insurers using one of those “pick six” models..

Do the Quants that create the math models worry about this as being part of their job, you bet they do…as they want to do the right thing and know better than any of us that the other evil side exists…we should listen to them, must better advice than you will get from some economists at times.  Now here is an appropriate use of the word “trillions”.    Here’s a link below that tells more about the Code of Ethics and the danger of the illusions of understanding they worry about with big powerful CEOs and other officers.

Big Data–The Data Science Code of Ethics-Designed By Those Who Create Models - Don’t Fall Victim To Write Fictitious Code and Models Just to Make Money With Clients Demanding Such

Again the Algo Duping page will help educate you and I have some posts at the top of my blog I call “ Posts Worth Reading” that also help educate.  Check those out. 

So in summary it appears we have some Paper Lawmakers at the helm here getting sucked in and this is not a personal attack on the one senator as he has a lot of company, he just happened to be speaking out so thus I decided to write about the paper boys and girls delivering papers  I’m like a broken record on this topic but for the life of me, with all education talk and push that goes on out there I can’t figure out for the life of me why this group of paper lawmakers won’t get themselves a tool to help them.. bring back the Office of Technology Assessment and above in the John McCain link above, if you can’t see him being a poster child, well I guess we are somewhat doomed to be duped, duped and duped again while banks and big corporations rack in the money as nobody will venture into asking for accountability for math models, how can they with one hand tied behind their backs and education would really stand to improve things.  This is the end result of a whole lot of duping going on, data used out of context against consumers and I hope they wake up soon. 

Big Data/Analytics If Used Out of Context and Without True Values Stand To Be A Huge Discriminatory Practice Against Consumers–More Honest Data Scientists Needed to Formulate Accuracy/Value To Keep Algo Duping For Profit Out of the Game

If you want to venture a little bit more here, PBS also did a great documentary called “The Untouchables” and all I needed was 5 minutes of listening to DOJ Lanny to see where he had no confidence in what he was supposed to do, so I just figure it was “Paper DOJ Lanny” at work, as the voice and body language said it all. 

The purpose of this post is not a witch hunt but rather one more effort to bring a lot folks up to the 20th century and to understand how modeling with segmentation keeps inequality growing.   A lot of the movies are doing a good job at getting attention but where they leave off and Robert Reich is doing the same thing , getting attention which is good but leaves no answers or directions to work on a fix.  BD


The federal government could do a better job helping to transform the nation's healthcare system, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island,  said at a Capitol Hill press conference Sept. 18. The conference was part of the HIMSS HIT Policy Summit here during National Health IT Week. “We could be doing a better job of supporting those leading states that could make something that goes viral," Whitehouse said.

“Today I re-filed the Behavioral Health Information Technology Act,” Sheldon said, adding that patients who don't deal with all their health issues ultimately cost everyone more.

Analyst firms such as Rand put the potential for cost-savings at $700 billion annually. “Multiply by that by ten like we do on the budget committee” for long-range planning, Whitehouse added, and “we’re talking real money.

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