Friday, December 6, 2013

The Secret Life of a QUANT

Whatsa  "Quant" ?

It sounds like a new previously undiscovered subatomic particle somewhere between a quark, a string, a lepton,a boson,a prion,mesons and baryons.

Well, a quant is none of that. While those fundamental particles are essential to matter and energy and some are theoretical, the "Quant" is a far more threatening player in health care and the financial world. On one hand quants offer great hope for some, and for others they are a barrier to obtaining health care.


Quants are the math wizards and computer programmers in the engine room of our global financial system who designed the financial products that almost crashed Wall st.

The Quants arrived quietly some time ago in  health care. The similarities between the crash of the global financial system and current health care systems is frightening.

Quants are sometimes known as "Algos".

Barbara Duck, who writes at The Medical Quack:

     Attack of the Killer Algorithms – “Algo Duping 101″

     In health care this is well underway with the Affordable Care Act,
     Accountable Care Organizations, Outcome Studies, Preferred Practice Pattern;  all have been developed by "Quants".

Here’s a selection of videos that offer a lot of information, which I call “Algo Duping”. Barbara Duck has written several posts on the Medical Quack about this topic and here’s a group of MUST SEE videos if you want to understand what is happening in the world. The general public does not like math, is afraid of it, etc. but banks and corporations are not and they use it against us.

First off let’s hear from Charlie Siefe, Who Wrote the Book, “Proofiness, The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception.


 Physicians, too are afraid of the math, although trained in scientific methodology. One cannot defend against something one does not know about. For most, statistical probability and algorithms fall into that category.

Health insurers have been big on algos, that is how they separated the sick,(read expensive) and infirm from the healthy (read inexpensive) beneficiaries.

How will they work around the Affordable Care Act ?  When there is challenge their is opportunity (to make a profit). The  Affordable Care Act's initial thrust is to eliminate pre-existing conditions as a reason for non insurability.  This flies in the face of previous algo's.

The first law of algo's is: "If the first algo fails, another algo will appear"

The second algo will disavow the original algo as "obsolete and not suited to the changes in health finance".

Jobs in quants are fluorishing in health care with enterprises attempting to game the system.

There is a continuing tension between quants and quals (those who emphasize quality, regardless of cost ).

As in the financial world risk is a key metric for a health algorithm. Population health is a field in which quants are essential.



Is this occurring in health reform? This is a documentary called “Quants, the Alchemists of Wall Street” and they make the math and formulas that move money. Banks and companies use these all the time and the one interview tells you that yes they are smart and talks about their attitudes as they literally have the CEOs by the balls, as they don’t understand their own business models that they pay royally for the Quants to write. In this video you see the software designer who created the software for the big mortgage scam. It’s not his fault but rather how it was used and abused. He makes one very good quote at the end, “You Can Do Anything With Software”

There is a saying amongst quants (read statisticians) “You Can Do Anything With Software” and also points out the software models and the real world do clash

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