Tag Archives: #hcldr

Technology Amplifies Our Behavior

Last week there was a lot of news and talk about the abuse of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica.

If you did not read about the breach, here is the summary:

“Cambridge Analytica used a quiz app to scrape data such as users’ identities, their friend networks, and likes from millions of Facebook users. Users inadvertently gave consent by agreeing to the user conditions in the app. The company later used that data to build targeted political ads for political campaign’s, The New York Times, which conducted the investigation along with The Observer, reports. (read the full article here on Futurism)…”

I am not here to comment on whether or not this is right, wrong, or who is to blame whether it is Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, Political Campaigns, or us as the end users.

I leave that judgment to you. To make on your own. To use the information available to you and to draw your own conclusion.

I do want to point out the obvious.

This is nothing new.

Big brands, marketing firms, advertising agencies, small businesses, governments, and political campaigns have been using these tactics for decades.

Whether it has been in the form of print ads, newspaper articles, radio spots, or television commercials “consumers” (defined as the end users of content) have always been subjected to messages that are trying to tell us a particular story.

If the messages are really good, they usually nudge us to take action.

An action based on emotions. The action to purchase, to join, to support, to share, or to participate.

The gold standard used to be demographics.

The ability to generate insights about groups of the population based on their education, nationality, religion, and ethnicity. If you are able to understand these common traits you can hopefully develop messages and stories that will resonate with segments of people and encourage them to take an action.

As our world continues to evolve, we have transitioned from demographics to psychographic segmentation.

The ability to understand smaller groups within a population allows us to design messages that will resonate with specific subsegments of people.

As we begin to understand people’s motivations, their patterns of thinking, how they perceive the world, and how they feel towards specific topics we can target audiences with more specific and precise messaging.

Again, this is nothing new. A prime example of this type of data is Nielsen Media Research.

In today’s world, it is not unimaginable to segment down to the zip code or street address of people and to understand their buying patterns, their watching patterns, as well as how their dietary choices, their activity level, or how they view the most recent political campaigns.

Facebook is not the originator of this type of business model, nor will they be the last. Google, Instagram, Snapchat, Nielsen, and many others have been doing this for years. Yes, even our hospitals and medical research have been in this business and will continue to be in this business.

It used to take months and sometimes years to generate this kind of insight and actionable data.

Today’s technology accelerates the generation, testing, implementation, and targeting of this insight. It now happens in clicks and is summarized in minutes.

With our blind acceptance and acknowledgment of the terms and conditions combined with our app happy downloads for ease and simplicity only exacerbates the problem.

We need to remember that we are consistently being marketed too.

We need to remember that with every click, swipe, and like that we generate data that is being used by others to develop more messages to target us and the people like us.

We need to remember that as we sit and point at Facebook and other social media companies that there are three fingers pointing back at us. We need to share in the blame. We need to own our own decisions.

We must be responsible for our decisions, our data, and the “news” we believe in the content we consume.

Just like the food we ingest, we too must take responsibility for stories we believe.

Delivering care, the consumption of content and building trust happen at the N of 1.

As always feel free to email me at cancergeek@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter and Instagram as CancerGeek



Healthcare — Remember Stephen Hawking

(above photo via Nitch.com)

This week the greatest mind of several generations passed away, Stephen Hawking.

I have always been a huge fan of Stephen Hawking and have read a majority of his books (link here), some of his papers (papers here) listened to several of his lectures (videos here), and have a running list of his quotes (quotes here).

One of my favorite quotes from Stephen Hawking is pictured below:

“Be curious. And how difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” ~Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking was the living example of this belief.

Here was a man that was diagnosed with a debilitating motor neuron disease known to us as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gerhig’s Disease. Stephen Hawking was diagnosed at the age of 21 and was told he had 2 years to live. He was confined to a wheelchair until he died last week at the age of 76.

Despite the life-altering diagnosis, a debilitating physical disease, being confined to a wheelchair, and losing his ability to speak without the help of a computer-generated voice, Stephen Hawking still became the greatest mind of our time.

He lived, laughed, and loved.

Healthcare must remember the story of Stephen Hawking.

Often we get bogged down by the inefficient processes and workflows inside healthcare.

We whine about relative value units and productivity.

The difficulty to acquire preauthorizations.

The obscenity in sharing data, having a unified record and making it accessible to patients.

We play the blame game that medical technology companies, EMR/EHR Vendors, and Government Agencies have forced us to make decisions that make us less efficient, take us away from patient care, and increase clinical/physician burnout.

We use the rules and regulations set forth by the Regulators as an excuse to run and hide.

Our greatest minds have been diminished to a workforce that follows the rules, raises their hands, colors within the lines, and measures their value in productivity instead of the lives they have touched.

We too often look down at our devices during work, conferences, meetings, and in our spare time. We have become acclimated to a Pavlovian response to the rings, dings, pings and other things.

As healthcare leaders, both physicians and non-physicians, we need to remember the privilege of proximity that we have in viewing our stars each and every day. The person, the people, the community, and the patient(s) that entrust us with their lives.

A patient life is our star.

The multiple patients we see over a day, a month and a year are the stars we get to observe, discover, name and learn. Our careers are nothing more than a galaxy made up of many stars, or more specifically, the patients we serve.

As leaders in healthcare, we must remain curious.

We must ask the difficult questions. We need to have constructive conflict. We can no longer nod in silent acceptance without first discussing in an open forum the impacts of our decisions. We cannot throw our hands up and say it is too difficult, too hard, too complex, too inefficient, too tedious, or too time-consuming.

We must not accept NO’s, CANT’s, DONT’s or WON’T’s.

We must lead with “I like this, and I wish that…”

We must lead with “….and?”

We must lead with a curiosity in the greater context of how the universe around us works. Not merely healthcare, but the multiple dimensions of our lives.

As we become more intimate in the other universes that envelop us, we can begin to connect those dimensions into the reality of what patients want: health AND care.

We must be curious in our discovery and pursuit of health AND care.

We need to be in awe of the stars we encounter each and every day.

We can never give up.

Care matters at the N of 1.

As always feel free to email me at cancergeek@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter and Instagram as CancerGeek