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Medicine The Almighty Buck

California Healthcare Provider Wants Illness-Predicting Algorithm 341

alphadogg writes "The Heritage Provider Network wants to do for healthcare what technology in the film Minority Report did for police work. In other words, it wants to use technology to pre-emptively predict when illness is likely to strike and take measures to prevent costly hospitalizations. This week Heritage announced that it was offering a prize of $3 million for any developer who successfully created a 'breakthrough algorithm that uses available patient data, including health records and claims data, to predict and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations.'"
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California Healthcare Provider Wants Illness-Predicting Algorithm

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  • Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @08:07AM (#35665058)

    'breakthrough algorithm that uses available patient data, including health records and claims data, to predict and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations.'"

    By removing them from the list?
    "Sorry, you're statistically not interesting for us anymore..."

  • by mattcsn ( 1592281 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @08:11AM (#35665082)

    "New care plans and strategies" sounds like HMO-speak for "cut off people before they cost us more than we soak in from them".

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @08:31AM (#35665242)

    The whole idea of a healthcare insurance is to spread the risk between people... therefore it's pretty much necessary that healthy and unhealthy people pay the same. If you have a cheap healthcare for all healthy people, and then an unaffordable one for those more likely to get ill, the system crashes, doesn't it?

    An insurance is a protection against future problems. Healthy people also must invest in their own unavoidable loss of health.

    You are assuming that the aim of healthcare insurance is to provide healthcare to people efficiently rather than to maximise profit for the providers.

  • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by goodmanj ( 234846 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @09:06AM (#35665586)

    The question is, is this preventive medicine or preventive insurance?

    With single-payer health care, this distinction doesn't exist.

  • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @09:09AM (#35665612)

    "So, why would health insurance be different?"

    Ultimately it is different because without car insurance you walk, without health insurance you die [1]. Maybe you are fine with the concept of the poor and people who don't live the way you feel they should just dieing of treatable illness, but that fundamental difference between car insurance and health insurance remains.

    [1] Earlier than necessary due to treatable illness you can't afford.

  • by mcelrath ( 8027 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @09:14AM (#35665662) Homepage

    And that, in a nutshell is what's wrong with for-profit insurance providers: the profit motive of the company is directly opposed to the health motive of the customer.

    Because of that very fundamental fact, the only medical insurance scheme that makes any sense is a socialized one.

  • by famebait ( 450028 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @09:22AM (#35665768)

    You seem to be arguing from the following premise:
            "costly treatments make people take more care of their health"

    Until you bring forth Extraoridnary Evidence (tm) for this Extraordinary Claim (tm), please forgive us for ignoring your random speculations, and for frowning upon your attempt at presenting those ramblings as fact.

    You might be surprised to learn that there are many other countries besides the US, employing many different models of health care funding. A first stab at checking your assumtions (don't knock it 'till you've tried it) would be to compare some industrialised countries in terms of public health, healtcare spending, and typical cost to patients.

    Seriously - would you or anyone you know actually think "I never really considered getting a serious helath problem, but it the treatment is free, why the hell not?", or is it just "those other people" you collectively accuse of this insanity?

  • by mcelrath ( 8027 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @09:45AM (#35666012) Homepage

    Incorrect. If an insurance company has the opportunity to remove unprofitable members from the rolls, they will take it. If they have the opportunity to refuse treatment, they will take it. If they can select which new customers they will take and which ones they won't, they will use that. If they can write long obtuse contracts outlining things they won't pay for, and have their army of lawyers enforce it, they will do it.

    It is a general fact about any kind of insurance that the interests of the insurer are misaligned with the interests of the insuree. They're predatory industries who rely upon promising more than they will deliver and tricking their customers wherever possible.

    Only in the circumstance that the insurer is required to insure everyone does the profit motive go in the direction of the patient's interests (in the form of preventative care). Preventative care is a long term investment that wall street doesn't see.

Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man -- who has no gills. -- Ambrose Bierce