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Algorithm Contest Aims To Predict Health Problems

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the math-of-health dept.

Math 138

databuff writes "The April 4 launch of the $3 million Heritage Health Prize has been announced by the Heritage Provider Network, a network of doctors. The competition challenges data hackers to build algorithms that predict who will go to the hospital in the next year, so that preventative action can be taken. An algorithm might find that somebody with diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol is a 90 per cent risk for hospitalization. Knowing this, it might be cheaper for an HMO to enroll them in an exercise program now rather than pay the likely hospital bill. The competition takes the same approach as the $1 million Netflix Prize, but solves a far more significant problem."

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Hackers? (1)

SenorPez (840621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107676)

Is that now synonymous with programmers?

Re:Hackers? (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107812)

The original meaning of 'to hack' was 'to do something clever'.

So a "Computer Hacker" is "A person who knows how to do something clever with a computer". A data hacker would be something like that.

Then the media misunderstood Hacker culture and now Hacker == Cracker in their ontology

Re:Hackers? (3, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108280)

Is that now synonymous with programmers?

Get with the times will you, this is Web 2.0!

(Old name) --> (New name)

Webmonkey --> Application programmer

Programmer --> Hacker

Hacker --> Terrorist

Or Like Kaiser does.... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35107678)

Just label them as a 'High Risk Candidate' and jack up their premiums 2-3x so they can no longer afford healthcare by the point at which they need service :P

Re:Or Like Kaiser does.... (0)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107722)

How does this fit in with Obamacare?

Re:Or Like Kaiser does.... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108666)

The Government Health Care policy will stop them from doing it anymore.

Re:Or Like Kaiser does.... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35109316)

"The Government Health Care policy will stop them from doing it anymore."

ON the other hand...the feds just might use it...to decide on your method and amount of care you will get...?

Safeway (4, Interesting)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107740)

That's likely what will happen, but not necessarily the only result.

To lower company premiums, Safeway bribes employees to quit smoking and/or lose weight:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124476804026308603.html [wsj.com]

Re:Safeway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35107800)

My company simply drug tests for tobacco, and yes, fires people if they test positive. No bribery needed.

Re:Safeway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35107880)

you should proba

Re:Safeway (1)

ocdscouter (1922930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107970)

Should he proba the whole thing?

Re:Safeway (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107924)

I'm 6'3" 155lbs and I've never smoked more than the occasional cigar. My doctor is always surprised to see me for an annual physical, in his clinical opinion he doesn't need to see me more often than every 3 years.

Whats in programs like this for me? Do I get rewarded for being healthy or should I take up smoking and then quit to get my prize for doing what I'm supposed to do to take care of myself?

Re:Safeway (1)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107962)

The same thing applies to non-smokers with regard to smoking breaks. You'd be an idiot to take up smoking just for that incentive.

Re:Safeway (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35109188)

Get a bubble pipe. (the kids toy that blows soap bubbles)

Claim it relaxes you, just like smoking.

Re:Safeway (3, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108058)

Your reward is a long, healthy life. That's more valuable than money, IMO.

Re:Safeway (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108100)

Or until you get run over by the a school bus being driven by a drunk, overweight, chain-smoking loser who will spend the rest of his long, unproductive life behind bars.

Re:Safeway (2)

nickersonm (1646933) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108098)

Read the article. Yes, you do get rewarded for being healthy. They discount the employee-paid portion of health care premiums if you elect to take, and pass, various physical tests. Eg. nonsmokers pay $312 less annually than smokers.

Re:Safeway (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108586)

How is being a "nonsmoker" taking, and passing a "physical test"?

Re:Safeway (1)

gnapster (1401889) | more than 3 years ago | (#35109444)

It proves that, during the interview with your company's healthcare rep, the overwhelming cologne was just bad taste rather than covering for lying about your tobacco addiction.

Re:Safeway (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35109302)

But how common is that? This is more or less the first time I've ever heard about that, more generally if you're taking care of yourself the only reward is possible good health in the future, even as you subsidize the care for people that don't care about how they take care of themselves. People who have genetic risk factors benefiting doesn't bother me at all.

Re:Or Like Kaiser does.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35107904)

See why we have the NHS, as the saying goes, if we can spend money to blowup/kill people we can spend money tosave our own.
I thought the same thing, insurance factors are going to be the first thing without a doubt.

Re:Or Like Kaiser does.... (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108524)

Don't worry, other countries will make proper use of that technology to safe money _AND_ provide better health care at the same time.

Re:Or Like Kaiser does.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35109338)

Came here to post the same thing. Is this how cynical we've all become? Ack!

if Weight 300 pounds (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107680)

then print "Not good"

Re:if Weight 300 pounds (2)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107770)

Oh come on, I know some Sumo Wrestlers that are in great shape!

Re:if Weight 300 pounds (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108106)

Along those lines, I'd like to point out that "egg-shaped" is, per definition, a shape. A good shape, even, for selected applications. (Like for an egg.)

"I'm not out of shape. This (gestures at rotund body) is a shape, you Sesame Street failure."

Re:if Weight 300 pounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35108240)

Wow you are so cool, focusing on one part of an idiom.

Dumb ass.

Re:if Weight 300 pounds (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35109306)

It's idiomatic in nature, as is most of the language. Or are you one of those people who gets asked out and immediately leaves the room?

Re:if Weight 300 pounds (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35109414)

"Are you sure you won't change your mind?"

"Why? What's wrong with the one I have?"

Nevada gaming commission might take interest... (1)

Tmack (593755) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107704)

sounds like a way to cheat the system on something LasVegas probably has a line on already...have you seen what they are betting on for the Superbowl? How long will it take Christina Aguilera to sing the National Anthem, Will Fergie be dressed as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader at any point during the Halftime show...

-Tm

Re:Nevada gaming commission might take interest... (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107910)

Yeah, I am out in Sin City, and you do not even want to know what I bet on, but if there is another nipple slip, I will be one rich man

Re:Nevada gaming commission might take interest... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108036)

Which would lead to you seeing a lot more nipple.

Nipple is a fun word.

Re:Nevada gaming commission might take interest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35108040)

If you give me a baseball bat, I can predict who will go to the hospital in the next five minutes.

Too little Minority Report (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35107706)

... I am sparing my mad skills for the 'predict the next to commit a crime' contest.

Good idea, hard to implement (1)

Romario77 (1844904) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107746)

Might be a good thing for our health-care system, but I doubt that it would be implemented - too much red tape around privacy and the data is not centralized, so it could be hard to have access to this data.

Re:Good idea, hard to implement (5, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107804)

the data is not centralized

Actually a solid argument could be made that the data is centralized, you just don't have access to it because your insurance company makes more money by not allowing you to access it. Insurance companies have plenty of centralized data on plenty of people in this country; enough to make very solid models - particularly models for the types of people that the insurance companies are most concerned about.

If you could get the data from just one big insurance company or HMO - like perhaps the one that is advertising on this story - you could get plenty of data to build your algorithm. You just have to convince them that you are worthy of access to it (even if it has the personal identifiers removed).

Re:Good idea, hard to implement (1)

Romario77 (1844904) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107898)

Well, typically until you get to the hospital insurance company doesn't know much about you - may be your age, sex, may be height and weight, but they don't typically ask for this info when you sign up for insurance. And even after you get into hospital the information about you is in hospital records and not in the insurance company possession - they just know the procedures performed. So, the initial data about you is in the hospital (blood pressure, sugar level, weight, etc.) And in the hospital it could be in different systems, sometimes on paper only.

Re:Good idea, hard to implement (3, Informative)

praxis (19962) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108028)

You've never enrolled in insurance have you? They don't ask this for employer-provided insurance, since that's a different kind of coverage (where they have models for the type of employees that employer tends to employ, etc). For those cases, they rely on the principles insurance is suppose to rely on, for individual buyers, they give you an anal probe and only enroll you if you are not likely to need their services.

Re:Good idea, hard to implement (1)

Romario77 (1844904) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108330)

I did enroll in insurance in many companies. And this is the main type of insurance in US - provided through employer. With this type of enrollment insurance companies don't know much information about me until I am in the hospital. When you enroll by yourself they mostly ask for preexisting conditions, I don't remember the insurance companies asking for my blood pressure or cholesterol level.

Re:Good idea, hard to implement (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35109318)

In most of the country they make you fill out an extensive questionnaire. Around here it's pretty complicated and is designed to flunk ~10% of the applicants into the high risk pool. Which sounds bad, but up until now it was the only way that the state could guarantee that everybody could get access to health insurance. Previously some people couldn't get coverage no matter how much they were willing to pay. Now they just have to figure out where to get the money, which is not easy to do with the high risk pool.

Individual fools. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35109200)

Smart individual buyers join a professional or other organization that has their own group.

IEEE makes you wait a year to get into their health insurance group. It's worth joining while you have a job so you have backup group insurance available.

Re:Good idea, hard to implement (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35109148)

Well, typically until you get to the hospital insurance company doesn't know much about you - may be your age, sex, may be height and weight, but they don't typically ask for this info when you sign up for insurance.

When I applied for private health insurance (as opposed to company-provided insurance), part of the application was six pages of "Have you been treated by a medical professional for such-and-such in the past one year, three years, or ten years?". This was in addition to things like age, sex, smoking status (not only "are you a smoker?", but also "if you quit, how long ago?"), and so on.

Re:Good idea, hard to implement (2)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108928)

uhh, the health care incentives that are part of ARRA will have moved nearly the entire health system to a completely electronic patient record that has the ability to share data between providers by 2016. I say nearly only because I am sure some providers will not be able to meet the incentives deadline and will start getting penalized for not being there, but with in a few years of the deadline, everyone will have gotten there.

Re:Good idea, hard to implement (1)

cbs4385 (929248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108932)

Just arguing the point, but one of the databases where I work has the medical records of 1 out of every 4 Americans

Obama Care (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35107752)

Dear Obama Health Care Customer,

We have identified you as a high risk patient. We have taken the liberty of enrolling you in an exercise program which will start immediately. Please read the included forms and documentation pertaining to your health. If you decide to not follow this program then you can expect an increase in your personal health tax.

Thank you for your patronage.

Re: Obama Care (3, Insightful)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107790)

And this is different from how your current insurance provider treats you now? "You smoke? Extra fee. You ever have cancer? Extra fee".

The only people I've ever run into who have a problem with "ObamaCare" are ignorant assholes (and republicans, but they're in the same group).

Re: Obama Care (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107826)

Current insurance providers would just drop your ass.

Re: Obama Care (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107890)

Exactly. My point to GPP was, "You have no farking idea what you're talking about."

Re: Obama Care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35107824)

yeah exactly.

Tell me why this would be bad? You get a speeding ticket and your car insurance goes up, if you have hypertension and still won't get off the damn couch for an hour a day you should pay more.

Re: Obama Care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35108242)

> Tell me why this would be bad?

Because America is the land of the FREE.

>You get a speeding ticket and your car insurance goes up,

I have a choice if I want to speed while driving. A health condition could be hereditary and your screwed for life.

> if you have hypertension and still won't get off the damn couch for an hour a day you should pay more.

Mercury used to be a great medicine. It was used to treat pretty much anything and everything. Scraped your knee? Just rub a little mercury on it. Now we know it's toxic as hell. What if we didn't know about the side effects of Mercury like we do now? What if the doctor (and government) said that Mercury cured hypertension? Let's say that I suspected Mercury could do more harm than good. Would I be expected to pay more if I elected not to follow through on the treatment? Where does the decision making it stop?

Re: Obama Care (3, Interesting)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107988)

I love the reform haters. Here is a little story that happened to me: I found a lump near my booty hole. I am only 28, so that is pretty scary. I went to get it checked out for cancer. I had a colonoscopy (you know, what you get when you are 50). Well it cleaned out my system good enough for my gall stones to spout up and hurt alot. Remember, I am 28 and am in decent health. Within a 2 week span, I went to the doctor, had a colonscopy, went to the emergency room, had my gall bladder removed, then was bed ridden in the hospital for 5 days.

I got out on a Thursday, went back to work on the following Monday. I had to. How else am I going to pay for this? I am still making payments on it.

Maybe I wiped too hard or something, but that chain of events, then me going back to work so soon, yeah, not good. Now under what you call "ObamaCare" I would not still be paying this because once I had my colonscopy, guess what, even with a clean record of good health before this, they jacked my premiums through the roof.

Oh wait, urgent delivery:

Dear person who does not support the Health Care Reform,
We regret to inform you that we thought it would be a great idea to jack up your premiums making excuses for it. Even if the health reform is not even in place, we are going to go ahead and use that as an excuse to boost your premiums up. Also, please be aware that once you have insurance through us, if you have a salary job, regardless of what you go to the doctor for, we will go ahead and boost your premiums again.

Thank You again for supporting us and Being Republican,
Big Insurance Company

Re: Obama Care (3, Funny)

aethogamous (935390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108080)

Dear Non-Obama Health Care Customer

We have identified you as a high risk patient.

Good bye.

Not Really Like the Netflix Prize... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107762)

The Netflix Prize was sponsored by the company who gained the most from it. In the same vein, this should then be sponsored by an HMO.

Re:Not Really Like the Netflix Prize... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35107938)

Hey buddy, I don't like how they operate either but that's no reason to call them names.

This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (1, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107774)

The purpose of insurance is cover random catastrophic expenses, not to let a person cost-shift known expenses to his or her neighbors. If your body is breaking down because you spend decades being fat and never did anything about it then foot the bill yourself. If you can't afford the cost of fixing a problem caused by your own lifestyle decisions then tough shit.

Re:This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (4, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107882)

Very few medical conditions are caused purely by lifestyle choices. Genetics play a big role. Many catastrophic expenses are due to catastrophic events, like car accidents. Even HIV is not always caused by life style choices -- millions of babies are born with it, and there is no way of determining whether a health care worker contracted it because of their job or because of their choice of sex partners.

That being said, I agree with you in principle. Public health care should be targeted at prevention and diagnostics. Catastrophic health care should be covered by insurance; if you don't pay for insurance, you're out of luck. That still doesn't change the fact that 90% of most people's health care expenses are incurred in the last 5 months of their lives, but cutting off funding for that would amount to a real version of the "death panels" the Republicans have falsely associated with the new Health Care act. Health insurance is so expensive because we simply refuse to let people die in peace.

Re:This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108068)

When does there 5 months begin. you sick and in your twenties, how do you know that's not the last 5 months of your life?

And by the way, Fuck dying in peace. I want to live as long as possible. Preferable forever, even if it's on a machine.

Re:This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108208)

> I want to live as long as possible. Preferable forever...

We can cover this by continuing to grow tissue samples of you for experimental purposes. Would you care to contribute your genome to science? [tvtropes.org]

Re:This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35108482)

Fuck science, haven't you seen the /. stories about vat meat? Maybe human flesh is the missing ingredient...

Re:This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (1)

cmburns69 (169686) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108416)

I want to live as long as possible. Preferable forever, even if it's on a machine.

If you can afford that, I'm happy to support you in your quest for immortality.

But please don't make me, and my children, and their children (and so on) pay just because you refuse to die gracefully at some point.

Re:This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35109154)

5 months left to live? PARTY LIKE CHARLIE SHEEN!

Also, have you ever seen someone hooked up to the machines that keep you alive? I work with them on a daily basis, nothing worth living for!

Re:This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (4, Interesting)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108222)

That still doesn't change the fact that 90% of most people's health care expenses are incurred in the last 5 months of their lives, but cutting off funding for that would amount to a real version of the "death panels" the Republicans have falsely associated with the new Health Care act.

This problem will be solved shortly when Medicare melts down. Then people will get exactly as much end of life care as they can afford and no more.

Which, in the end, is how it should have been done from the beginning. When there aren't enough resources to give everybody what they want then some kind of rationing will occur no matter how much people complain and protest about it. The only decision to make is whether to have rationing by price or rationing by fiat. Rationing by price is the superior solution because then market forces will provide incentives to bring the costs down to increase the number of potential customers. Rationing by fiat puts everybody at the mercy of unelected bureaucrats.

To see how this works compare the prices of procedures that people normally pay out of pocket vs procedures that people normally pay for with OPM. Laser eye surgery has been getting cheaper over the years. Anything covered by Medicare or private health insurance has been getting more expensive.

Re:This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (1)

tomthepom (314977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35109494)

Then people will get exactly as much end of life care as they can afford and no more.

One of the most stupidly cruel and inhuman sentences I've ever read.

Which, in the end, is how it should have been done from the beginning.

Which was how it was done in the beginning, you ignorant libertarian fundamentalist. And the sight of the old and the poor dying in the streets was exactly the reason that most civilized countries adopted social systems to treat them.

Laser eye surgery has been getting cheaper over the years. Anything covered by Medicare or private health insurance has been getting more expensive.

Every technology and drug has got cheaper over the years. The scope and cost of newer technologies and drugs has gone up, irrespective of how it's paid for.

Re:This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (1)

DesertNomad (885798) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108436)

Very few medical conditions are caused purely by lifestyle choices...

You'll need to show a little proof here.

On the other hand, "Personal decisions are the leading cause of death", Dr. Ralph L. Keeney of Duke University, 2008
http://orforum.blog.informs.org/files/2009/01/keeney.pdf [informs.org]

A discussion of his paper, with a variety of points of view, at the Operations Research Forum
http://orforum.blog.informs.org/2009/01/06/personal-decisions-are-the-leading-cause-of-death/ [informs.org]

And for the rest of us, the Wired article on his paper is here
http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/17-10/ff_smartlist_keeney [wired.com]

Re:This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35109380)

And some people (e.g. George Burns) choose to smoke and drink and still live to be 100. The point is that both genetics AND lifestyle choices enter into the equation. For example, I'm 6' tall and have never weighed over 185 pounds, but I still have diabetes, not because I didn't eat right and exercise, but because it runs in my family. My grandmother died of diabetes, my mother has diabetes, and my sister has diabetes. None of them ever qualified as obese either. Jim Fixx's dad died of heart disease in his 50's, so Jim Fixx took up running every day to overcome his genetics -- and still died of heart attack at 52.

Re:This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108494)

Public health care should be targeted at prevention and diagnostics. Catastrophic health care should be covered by insurance; if you don't pay for insurance, you're out of luck. That still doesn't change the fact that 90% of most people's health care expenses are incurred in the last 5 months of their lives, but cutting off funding for that would amount to a real version of the "death panels" the Republicans have falsely associated with the new Health Care act. Health insurance is so expensive because we simply refuse to let people die in peace.

Given that people who are most likely dying, but possibly not -- terminal cancer patients, who spend unbelievable amounts of money on the slight chance they'll beat cancer -- have zero incentive to die in peace and an extremely high incentive to spend every penny they have on the slight chance they'll beat cancer, especially if the money actually belongs to their insurance company, and given that the health care industry, who makes money off providing health care, also has absolutely zero incentive to let people die in peace, *and* given that the general public shows strong support for keeping people alive through extraordinary medical efforts and even a whisper about managed health care and providing treatment based on statistical analysis will have the AARP so far up a politician's butt that blue hair will be sticking out his nose... what do we do to actually implement a plan wherein people die in peace? In an article on this subject by Atul Gawande [newyorker.com] , a surgical oncologist, he pointed out that the quality of life for people who went through Hospice was significantly better than that of people who went through extraordinary medical procedures, and I think articles like his, that convince people that life-prolonging medical treatments are painful, expensive, and don't actually do any real good, is probably the only way we as a culture have to fix this problem. But I don't think even that's going to do much. I know in my family my religiously-oriented aunt and uncle think it would actually be sinful to let my grandmother "just die" rather than doing everything they can to try to keep her alive, even though she's always said she wanted to die peacefully when it was her time, rather than hooked up to a machine, and the same certainly seemed to be the case when hundreds of thousands of people were shrieking wildly that Terry Schiavo should be kept alive against what appeared to be her own written wishes.

When faced with those three problems: individual, institutional, and cultural pressure to preserve life at any cost, I think we as a culture are simply facing inevitable bankruptcy, as our medical industry provides ever-newer, ever-more-expensive ways to give people another couple of days of life.

Re:This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35109398)

Just remember that the religious right considers every life sacred, and that "letting grandma die in peace" is tantamount to murder. In fact, I think if they had there way, they would execute you for not doing everything possible to prolong your grandma's life, just to prove to you how sacred life really is!

Re:This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108546)

You wrote, "Health insurance is so expensive because we simply refuse to let people die in peace."--- Where you get that from?

I thought it's so expensive because it's a rip-off / blackmail industry. And regulated on top of that. Then, in the US add a little bit of racism to the reasons

Re:This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108562)

This is where the cultural differences comes into play...

You Americans call it "death panels" and denying people's right to try everything to stay alive, while over here we like to see it as a "dignified end" and use scares resources to help those who actually have a chance of a life worth living.

Re:This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108664)

If you can locate the person they contracted it from, it's actually pretty easy to find out. Now if you work in a hospital and a patient infects you, it may become quite difficult, but if you contract HIV it is definitely a good idea to have all the people you have been in contact with tested. A) In case they have it so they can get treatment B) So that person doesn't keep spreading it.

Re:This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (1, Interesting)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108674)

If you can't afford the cost of fixing a problem caused by your own lifestyle decisions then tough shit.

Says the conservative who couldn't give a piss about anybody until it's about him.

Since you're apparently not fat there's no chance you'll ever be in need of medical attention, but - just hypothetically - I'd love to be your insurance adjuster, playing by your own rules, if you ever did. The look on your face as we explain that we're denying your claim because of some arguably sub-optimal "lifestyle choice" you once made would be priceless. Eat meat? Play sports? Work a stressful job? Drive a car? You're on your own.

Re:This is why "health insurance" is so expensive (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 3 years ago | (#35109118)

If I was in the market for health insurance I would have no problem disclosing any of those factors and paying a premium appropriate to the risk. It's no different that a person who lives next to a river paying more for flood insurance than someone who lives on the top of a hill.

FAIL from the start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35107776)

People don't want to end up in the hospital. Yet they do nothing in-spite of all the knowledge and information available. Obesity is increasing. You don't want to end up in the hospital? Keep your BMI < 22 (for average person! you know who you are!)

If your BPI is %gt; 25, you lead a sedentary life, you eat crap, then it is a good chance you will end up in the hospital or worse, ahead of your time.

Re:FAIL from the start (1)

Manfre (631065) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108038)

BMI is a flawed measure of health. Weightlifters have a higher BMI than average and some are deemed obese based upon their BMI.

Re:FAIL from the start (1)

tysonedwards (969693) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108816)

But professional body builders and athletes (the only groups where BMI has been measurably incorrect) only make up 0.00004% of the world population.

OR (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35107782)

"Knowing this, it might be cheaper for an HMO to enroll them in an exercise program" OR DROP THEIR COVERAGE!

Re:OR (2)

dr2chase (653338) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108394)

Thankfully, under Obamacare, that's not legal.

If they can't kick you to the curb, they've got to try Plan B, which is improving your health before you cost them money.

Fat Tony,"I predict you're going to the hospital (2, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107794)

Contest judge,"Why I'm perfectly healthy, why would you pick me?"
Fat Tony: *punch to the face of contest judge*
Contest judge,"Well I see your point, but that isn't exactly going to send me to the hospital."
Fat Tony: *draws a gun*
Contest Judge,"Ok ok, I'll go to the hospital, here's your money."
Fat Tony,"Who says I want your money?"

the western approach to health: completely broken (1, Interesting)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107820)

In a way, doctors are trained to ignore teh science. They start with someone who already has a problem, and treat the symptoms as best they can. Science has determined many of the causes, but they are not profitable for the oligarchy, so they train our doctors to sell us pills for the symptoms.

somebody with diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol is a 90 per cent risk for hospitalization. Knowing this, it might be cheaper for an HMO to enroll them in an exercise program now rather than pay the likely hospital bill.

The Lipid Peroxidation [wikipedia.org] chain reaction is a large part of what causes the diabetes, hypertension and [oxidized] cholesterol problems.

Lipid peroxidation is such a huge problem today because the western world switched its main sources of dietary fats from animals (mostly saturated butter/lard) to seeds (mostly polyunsaturated corn/soy/rapeseed/linseed)... And even the animals we eat aren't as healthy as they once were because now they subsists on seeds instead of grass/insects/etc.

This contest is a waste of time.

Re:the western approach to health: completely brok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35108086)

Nice that you linked to a (semi-) reputable source for the definition of lipid peroxidation. Can you do the same for the dietary and medical claims?

Re:the western approach to health: completely brok (1)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108380)

Nice that you linked to a (semi-) reputable source for the definition of lipid peroxidation. Can you do the same for the dietary and medical claims?

Suitable Fats, Unsuitable Fats: Issues in Nutrition [raypeat.com] has a nice list of references. I'd start there.

Re:the western approach to health: completely brok (3, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108120)

"In a way, doctors are trained to ignore teh science. They start with someone who already has a problem, and treat the symptoms as best they can. Science has determined many of the causes, but they are not profitable for the oligarchy, so they train our doctors to sell us pills for the symptoms"

that is completely false. While may Dr.s are not scientists, they still prefer to cure someone. It's a lie perpetrated by people whose own 'belief' aren't born out scientifically. Since they are so attached to them they invoke conspiracy that are nonsense.

"The Lipid Peroxidation [wikipedia.org] chain reaction is a large part of what causes the diabetes, hypertension and [oxidized] cholesterol problems.":
That is complete nonsense.

speaking of doctors and science:

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/ [sciencebasedmedicine.org]

Re:the western approach to health: completely brok (2)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108432)

While may Dr.s are not scientists, they still prefer to cure someone.

Of course, but their training is deficient. If you spend years learning the minutia of pharmacology and surgery, it's easy to "miss the forest for the trees". If your doctor's training only gives a cursory overview of the role of nutrition, AND the conventional wisdom about certain nutritional concepts is wrong (e.g. saturated fats were vilified so A.D.M. [wikipedia.org] can make billions selling seed oils), your doctor is going to be biased for the things that he spent the majority of his training learning about.

The Lipid Peroxidation [wikipedia.org] chain reaction is a large part of what causes the diabetes, hypertension and [oxidized] cholesterol problems.

That is complete nonsense.

Are you defending the mass consumption of rancid oils? I think you are. All "vegetable" oils are deodorized as a part of the production process.

Oxidative rancidity is associated with the degradation by oxygen in the air. Via a free radical process, the double bonds of an unsaturated fatty acid can undergo cleavage, releasing volatile aldehydes and ketones. This process can be suppressed by the exclusion of oxygen or by the addition of antioxidants. Oxidation primarily occurs with unsaturated fats. -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rancidification

It's hard to exclude oxygen from a biological system. Which leaves antioxidants, and it takes a lot of antioxidants to deal with the massive quantities of polyunsaturated oils in a person's weekly servings of A.D.M. soybean-oil-based Kraft salad dressing.

Your tone was pretty rude, so I'm going to have to refer you to my response to the anonymous poster, who politely asked for a substantiating link for the health claims.

Re:the western approach to health: completely brok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35109120)

Feh, I had some of that soybean-oil (and corn syrup)-based salad dressing tonight, and it was disgusting. Give me buttermilk+mayo+herbs over the 40 ingredients in this crap they provide under the branding "natural" something or other ranch dressing.

Re:the western approach to health: completely brok (1)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#35109448)

Give me buttermilk+mayo+herbs over the 40 ingredients in this crap they provide under the branding "natural" something or other ranch dressing.

Yeah, except most mayo's are made with the same Soybean oil... I made mayo with olive oil once, but it was a little work.

Thanks for writing though. I definitely agree with your sentiment about "natural" branding for certain products. :)

Laughable (1)

infinite9 (319274) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107922)

The competition challenges data hackers to build algorithms that predict who will go to the hospital in the next year, so that they can be dropped.

fixed.

Re:Laughable (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108144)

"Do your own research. Draw your own conclusions. "

That , my friend, is the basics for a disaster.

Most people don't known how to do research, don't know a well done study vs a poorly done study. Most people will only cherry pick data that confirms their own bias.

Plus it will be done in a manner without review.

Learn how to read a study, learn what makes an actual expert, and pay attention.

Algorithms (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 3 years ago | (#35107992)

Why don't they just build a lottery machine to approximate it and sell another lottery game at convenience stores? Let people pay to run around going to all of the stores to find the algorithm which most correctly approximates the data.

Easy (1)

tomthepom (314977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108006)

Probability of visiting a hospital in the next year P

P = R

Where R = 1 if

- you ride a motorbike
- you're one of (bullfighter, boxer, lumberjack, cheerleader)
- you consume more than 30 hamburgers per week
- you consume more than 1 bottle of whiskey a day or equivalent

Now where's my 3 million?

New Title: (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108050)

"Health Insurance company offers $3 million dollar bounty for technical-sounding excuse to raise premiums"

Re:New Title: (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35109344)

That's what they're hoping for. I'm fortunate enough to live in a state where the insurance commissioner has to approve rate increases. Which means that when an insurance company wants to raise premiums they have to provide the commissioner's office with the data that shows that it's reasonable from an actuarial stand point. Fortunately, this is now much more widespread as of the beginning of the year now that all insurance companies have to spend at least 80% of their premiums on care or improving the health of the customers and 85% for those issuing group policies. Unless they can demonstrate why they can't do it.

It's going to take a while for these measures to make an impact on health insurance costs, but it will eventually fix the problem when taken with the other changes.

Carbohydrate intake (1)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108072)

Just measure carbohydrate intake. That correlates with all of the "diseases of civilization", like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, alzheimer's and other chronic diseases.

Re:Carbohydrate intake (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108374)

Just measure carbohydrate intake. That correlates with all of the "diseases of civilization", like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, alzheimer's and other chronic diseases.

Of course! It's just that simple. Why didn't anybody think of that sooner?

You need to read up on human diseases a bit more. And no, you cannot jump from rodent longevity using caloric restriction to broad brushing carbohydrates as the boogyman for western health care issues.

Re:Carbohydrate intake (1)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108580)

Well, we did think about this sooner, but thanks the Ancel Keys, and his 7 countries study (that ignored data from another dozen or so countries that confounded his hypothesis), we've mistakenly pushed the low-fat/semi-starvation dogma for the past 40 years.

The simple fact of the matter is that the chronic diseases of civilization are caused by high insulin levels in humans, and the primary driver of those insulin levels is carbohydrate intake.

Cites: Gary Taubes, "Good Calories, Bad Calories" - you can find a summary here: http://webcast.berkeley.edu/event_details.php?webcastid=21216 [berkeley.edu]

Hacker competition (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108356)

I like how everyone and their uncle suddenly runs a competition with a grand prize for the lucky one who meets the goal.

Need a new company logo? You could hire a graphic designer. Or you run a design competition, first prize an iPad. Much cheaper than paying someone, and the blogs will pick it up for free advertisement. Then you shell out the shinny gadget and look charitable.

Anyone interested in a basement-cleanup-competition?

Re:Hacker competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35108440)

Anyone interested in a basement-cleanup-competition?
I think my wife offers better prizes than you will.

Re:Hacker competition (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108622)

Depends, what's the prize?

Re:Hacker competition (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35109350)

Yeah, if it's a sizable prize it can be worthwhile, but most of the time they're giving out trinkets in exchange for a potentially large amount of wasted effort. The fame is really the only worthwhile prize from some of these competitions. And even then you'd be better off just giving the product away or selling it after you've finished it.

Yeah The Minority Report version of healthcare... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35108758)

It won't be long until they start euthanizing people before they become too expensive to treat.

I got a good algorithm (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#35108830)

Population - Population that will die = Chances of them making an algorithm that predicts Health Problems Correctly for Individuals.

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