This is a good article and goes back to my former life which was logistics, the top of the ladder with verticals employing technology.  Back 15 years ago we had “bar code” guns that would send information back via a bar code using an infrared beam.  Right now healthcare is just beginning in many areas to use more bar codes but what has been done so far is good and it’s much more complex than logistics by all means. 

So in rolling out the Orion project drivers were pretty much basically told and felt that a machine could do better than their brain, route drivers that had been doing this job for years, so put yourself in their place and we would probably all feel pretty much the same.  Now after the system has been out there and all the hurt feelings are mending as UPS realized that efficiencies here with algorithms were not mixing with employees on all levels, they went back to the “attraction” method, which is probably where it should have started but like many we all make mistakes and give big data and technology too much credit sometimes and in this case it was not much different as it all came back to saving money, what else.

I have seen this in healthcare with way too many folks singing that "money savings tune” who have no idea of how the technology will work in “real life” with humans.  They just figure “tell the humans they have to do it this way or else”…and then of course the humans are at fault because some flipping insurance company used some big data analytics to say “look they are the problem and the reason we can’t save more money”…tell me you have not seen that type of steroid marketing on the web.  I see it all the time and though of late it does seem to be easing.  By the way if you have not read this post from a while back UPS is slowly becoming a big Pharmacy Benefit Partner in more ways than one.  They employ pharmacists to fill prescriptions. 

UPS Healthcare Fulfillment Centers Continue to Grow And What Effect Could This Have on the Future Further Changing the Pharmacy Benefit Business?

What is probably most evident is the “fat reports” and you know recently we had another report that said some fat people don’t have the common health issues that other so, what about the healthy fat people?  Obviously I’m not writing to say that everyone should be fat and not look at adjusting eating and exercise habits as there’s probably everyone of us that could make an adjustment, but for goodness sakes stop putting out reports that project that the “fat people are costing millions” and making them “evil”. 

It’s just like these UPS route drivers and how they use their tool and it will catch on more and more, take time but in the meantime UPS could not sit there and blame them for not generating enough savings with being called “evil drivers”  and expect all to work harmoniously and obviously they probably are generating some savings but gave up on the idea that every human had to use the software exclusively and they will eventually win as more will use it with greater frequency once the hurt feelings and bad rubs go away.

Way back when PDAs were just that and not combined with phones I was one of the first in the industry to get one and my peers looked at me like I was nuts.  It took me 6 months before I could drop my old paper files and address books of clients to use the PDA for all my client notes, I needed to establish trust and it took me time and learning how to use the software and PDA to where it benefited me. My client Sharp, who by the way made a PDA product which he did not use (grin) said I knew more about PDAs than he did.  By the way this knowledge and using it wisely allowed me to crack the account for a company who had kicked out of there for 10 years…lot of freight moving from that facility in those days.

Ok so coming back around that knowledge stays with me in healthcare as well and I look at everyone else like I was years ago and this was prior to me writing code so you have to give it time and not come down like a Gestapo on compliance.  mHealth apps marketing is so full of that, plus it gets more complicated today with choosing a device that isn’t selling your data soul to make a buck.  This is why I hate “gamificaiton” as it is actually a big disruption to the learning process and in essence “has a dummy down” effect”..think of it with the folks that push this…you are telling your potential consumers “we think you are dumb”…and consumers are getting wise to that more and more and for the most part “gamification” does not work for that reason. 

When I say gamification, I don’t mean playing games to enhance your skills with your hands, as that’s something else and it is not telling you to “dummy down” and admit you are stupid.  Insurers will keep it going in some circles as they do believe you are “dumb” and they are smarter than you.  As I have said (from 2/2009 forward)  running HHS with someone with no tech knowledge is the prime example as insurers are smarter with math models to manipulate and get exactly what they want for profit, so insurers think you are dumb and will try the same thing as again it worked with duping HHS and they got everything they wanted when it comes to Obamacare.   Here’s a prime example of gamificaiton not working at the link below, but what happened, well guess what an insurance company bought the assets and will be working what they bought into their “dummy down” processes.  How about a game of Famscape on the web so your data can be mined and sold while you “dummy down”… 

Healthrageous Closes Down and Sells Assets (The “Fun” Algorithms)

Actually this same insurance company is now partnering with Eli Lilly to sell more of your data…more the link below on how that one was recently announced…sell the data instead of donating to the FDA is the name of that song as well as more of your data out there for sale, all done via a Humana subsidiary…watch those subs as they can go where the big corporation can’t and dig in to all kinds of data and business. 

Pharma and Health Insurance Companies Pairing Up, Humana’s Analytics Subsidiary and Lilly To Figure Out How to Save (Make) Money and Provide Better Patient Care–Selling Research Data That Competes With FDA Sentinel Initiative

Now you know why we have this…story at the link below…marketing their asses off..

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

This was also further explained in Chapter 11 of the Attack of the Killer Algorithms here…we have all your data and it didn’t cost us (the corporations) one cent.  So again here we have what UPS learned and it’s a lesson that many in healthcare should look at.  We also have the quantified self movement with some folks thinking that everyone should be just like them and go on a steroid path of measuring everything and anything they can, which they won’t, so that adds to the insanity as well. I also love it when I find developers that tell you how good their software is for you and what it can do and then find out they don’t use it themselves….(grin).  There’s more of that out there than you know.  At Penn State this came out with the school wanting to fine members $100 each month for not using their health portal…there you go the Gestapo with telling all they “needed to be fixed” which again just like the UPS drivers was basically telling all members they were stupid…same thing and in addition the school wanted to maximize the amount of data they could sell and that has caught the attention of a US Congressman. 

Wellness Questionnaires Coming Under Scrutiny, Federal Lawmaker Wants Rules–Many Wellness Programs Are Subsidiaries of Health Insurance Companies and Most Mine Data For Sale

So in closing, humans can use machines as tools and not as a replacement for their entire mental capacities be it driving a truck route or deciding what to eat for dinner.  If the steroid advertising and data selling epidemic were not so wide spread the problem might be smaller but it’s not…just watch for the next study from some insurer or contracted entity projecting trillions to be saved if fat people would lose weight..way too big of a number and they can’t base their profits on real people losing weight so again attraction and education will still win.  This is actually one of the big contributors that makes half the analytics a waste of money that are coming out now as it gets mixed up with the good.  Hopefully enough data scientists will abide by a code of ethics, started by some age old original quants on Wall Street. 

Half of Analytics Investments By Companies and Banks Will Be a Waste–What Do We Analyze with Big Data and Does It Have Value–Some Algo Fairies Would Do Better at Disneyland…

Good to see this movement moving forward and less Algo Duping thinking that an algorithm can solve all…BD

“Turn left here,” instructs your GPS. You know there is a nasty patch of construction in that direction so you ignore it. “Re-calculating,” says the GPS in an annoyed tone. “In one hundred feet turn left…turn left here…recalculating.” And so it goes, and you would swear that woman’s voice gets increasingly stern as you continue to ignore her instructions.

In this case the GPS doesn’t have complete information, but UPS has developed a much more sophisticated navigation system for their drivers called ORION. It uses complex big data analysis not just to plot a course from A to B, but to plot a driver’s entire delivery schedule, an average of 120 stops per day, in the most efficient manner. It can update the route in real-time in response to traffic, construction, weather and more.

And the drivers hate it.

Nobody likes being told he’s doing his job wrong, especially if he’s been doing it for a decade or so. It doesn’t matter if the message comes from a manager or a computer. UPS has changed their message to the workers over the years. At first ORION was pushed as the solution, and the company admits that message was not well received by the drivers. Now they present it as a tool to be used in conjunction with the driver’s own intuition.

There is a lesson her for any company trying to bring big data analysis to their operations. Never assume your employees will embrace the new technology, even if you can prove it is better. Presenting analysis as a tool rather than a solution will help workers accept the changes more readily without feeling they are giving up their autonomy.


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