Monday, July 1, 2013

Doctors And Spies Are Both Data Mining With The Same Tools by Taylor Bec|June 27, 2013


Imagine you've got some really important news--like, life-or-death information. Say, there's been a zombie apocalypse or a nuclear attack, and you're the only one who knows the location of meds or food that could save the world from pain or famine.

No, the doctors are not spying on you, however big pharma, medical devices manufacturing, marketing firms, even the Dept. of HHS and soon the IRS may be right by your bedside.   Theoretically HIPAA prevents you from being personally identified by safeguards in software. 

HIPAA however does not guarantee security…Anything on the internet can be hacked, now more providers are using ‘cloud solution’ for cost containment and minimizing maintenance tasks.

Activate Networks, Inc. tries to do this for the healthcare industry: data mining of doctors and patients' contacts, to find the key nodes of medical social networks. They sell the network maps they make--charting the most powerful doctors in the U.S.--to hospitals and (you guessed it) to drug companies--the wealthiest clients with incentives to access the most influential doctors to pitch them pills. By monitoring ties between people through patient records, doctors' referrals, census data, and even corporate email traffic patterns, Activate N determines people's relative "impact" or influence on their professional social network.

Meta-data derived from networks will dissect out relationships,and referral patterns. As health-care providers shift some of their care to their ACO units, there is an opportunity to control health-care costs by creating formal ACOs out of existing networks of providers in the community who already work together effectively.

These close-knit groups of physicians, or “organic ACOs,” are already coordinating care and can give the new ACO the ability to manage care processes and costs more effectively.

Better coordination almost always translates to lower costs. For example, a recent study by Craig Pollack and colleagues from Johns Hopkins found the cost of care for patients who stayed within existing closely collaborating clusters of physicians was 10 to 15 percent lower compared to organizations where physicians do not closely collaborate.


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