If you are a regular reader here then you know I look for accuracy with data and gee sometimes you wonder, where is it?  With all data being connected today, it’s easy to blame shift and say “well I’m just using their data” which must be flawed.  That is all over healthcare today, like or not, it is what it is.  It’s not easy updating data and it takes time and costs money.  The latter is more than likely the true focus here on how often information is updated.  Back in May of this year the company said it identified it’s own flaws…more at the link below. 

HealthGrades 'Best Hospital' List Algorithm Needs Work Again - Flawed Data

If you want to dig back you can see where I originally found my former deceased doctor who had been dead for 8 years still listed on their site and the fact that she honored HealthNet.  I know they have fixed some of this since this was a hot topic with accuracy and I even had the AMA interview me about it.  How can that be, dead for 8 years and still listed?  Yup that goes back to updating information.  The New York Times had a similar business and they sold it and got out of it, again it’s a lot of work, time and money to provide real time consumer information that is accurate.  My original post came at a time when HealthGrades was being sold to a private equity firm and being taken off the market for trading so I’m sure I was not real popular with my post:)

HealthGrades And Other MD Rating and Referral Sites List “Dead Doctors” on Their MD Information Pages And Even Include the Insurance Plans the “Dead Doctors” Honor

HealthGrades is not the only one with flawed data as I found a few more, again all using the same sources of flawed data will result in more end user flawed data out there until someone along the line updates it.  You can read the comments at the link below as I had some great doctors look themselves and their medical groups up to see what was out there, we found dead doctors, some listed at hospitals where they had never set foot in and so on. 

Avvo Physician Rating Service Can’t Get Accurate Information Listed on Doctors - One OC Oncologist Sitting in Jail for Fraud

We have the Social Security Death Index which is a great tool and even it has some flaws with around 30k in there who are still living, but still is a good resource except for those folks who I’m sure would like to be out of there.

Social Security Master Death Index Data Flawed–Over 31,000 Living Found in the Index

We also have errors too made by governments, like the City of Buffalo that didn’t check their record and update them, so again paying out over $2 million in insurance premiums on “dead” employees too? It happened and the insurers may not have been too anxious to find this error either as this was just pure profit, dead people don’t file claims:)

City of Buffalo Has Paid Over $2 Million to Provide Health Insurance for Hundreds of Dead People-Some as Many as 4 Years

Now let’s add a little more insanity here and get the Medicare Claim data that is flawed to the hilt with years of data input and really mess things up?  This is actually a case of digital illiteracy with law makers in not understanding all of this and you know just because it exists does not mean it maybe useful.  Some don’t get this and Dow Jones saw it as an opportunity for some company to take on this massive project to clean it up and make some big bucks on the government’s tab too, so what the heck?  You have to stop and ask the question, “is there value in doing this and secondly, would it be used properly or serve just to confuse and exploit more flawed data”.  Law enforcement needs it by all means and so does HHS to analyze, but to make a case to throw this out to the public is a bit stupid in my opinion. 

Two More Senators Propose More Bills to Publish Medicare Claims Data Without A Hint of Digital Literacy Relative to Cost and Time

Weill CPM dive into getting more accurate data out there with this endeavor?  I imageguess time will tell when we see the changes made.  I just hope this is not yet one more marketing area to “cloud” issues for consumers and doctors.  The answer too is not to have doctors take their valuable time to chase down what others put on the web to correct as well.  Consumers are now getting a taste of this too and we don’t like it and there will be more on a later post on that forefront. 

Actually take this from a higher source than me, NYU professor Siefe who is a mathematician and a journalists.  Numbers don’t lie but people do and he does a very good job in making you think when it comes around to all the stats and reports that are tossed in our faces every day.  One more popular post from the archives at the Quack below:)

Why Is Almost Everyone In Healthcare Marketing Their “Ass” Off

When you use algorithmic formulas today, guess what, you can make the numbers lie if you want to.  I used to write code, good honest code but there are those who spin it out there too, so be aware as straight math is no long a 100% methodology that can be used anymore to prove accuracy.  Don’t feel bad, the government get sucked in too as we are sometimes just way to trusting as that’s how we have been wired for years, but times are a changing.  The link below has an audio of a radio show that will definitely cue you right in to think about asking questions when your inner sense tells you something is odd.  There’s also a stellar video about how algorithms are shaping our lives, again not to be missed.  

“Numbers Don’t Lie, But People Do”–Radio Interview from Charles Siefe–Journalists Take Note, He Addresses How Marketing And Bogus Statistics Are Sources of Problems That Mislead the Public & Government

So time will tell if we get better data and fewer skewed or marketing algorithms here for better consumer tools I guess.  If you don’t believe it today, ask is my word of advice and do some alternative research.  BD 

HealthGrades has signed a definitive agreement to merge with CPM Marketing Group, a Madison, Wis.-based provider of customer relationship-management services for hospitals.

"Hospitals are under increasing pressure to improve their clinical as well as financial performance," HealthGrades CEO Kerry Hicks said in a news release. "CPM is the relationship management platform hospitals trust to measurably improve the performance of their patient health management and physician alignment initiatives.”
The combined company will retain the HealthGrades name and headquarters in Denver. CPM's products and services will be merged into a business unit with an existing HealthGrades product, the spokeswoman said



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