Advanced Analytics Only Way To Deal With Obamacare

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Everyone is aware of the size and complexity of the so-called healthcare reform act passed by Congress at the behest of the Obama administration.  The law itself was more than 2,000 pages, and the avalanche of regulations being issued to implement it continues to pile up, virtually day-by-day.
Unless the law is repealed—which seems unlikely at this point—there is little healthcare providers can do but comply with its myriad of detailed decrees about what can and cannot and must and must not be done.  Only advanced analytics has the capability of making any kind of sense of the system, which also will vary from state to state, depending upon local legislative decision-making and opt-outs.
Regardless of whether you think such laws are good ideas or not, programming all the variables into an advanced analytics/business intelligence system is the only hope of meeting the demands and staying out of federal trouble.  The time to start was several yesterdays ago.
(Warren B. Causey)

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Analytics Need To Determine Power Fuel Choices

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A day doesn’t pass in these times that you don’t see arguments across all media; in the news, on social media sites, in legislatures, Congress and all kinds of bureaucracies; about the merits of different types of fuel used for generating electricity.  Coal, natural gas, wind, solar all have their proponents and detractors which are analyzed and evaluated regularly in order to regulate them.
Despite these laws passed by Congress, which are expanded and refined  by federal agencies; most notably the Environmental Protection Agency; the arguments continue.  These arguments are political, but the facts are rather easy to determine.  Apply advanced analytics to the issue and it will be relatively simple to determine which is the most economical decision to make.  You need to include all of the costs, including the costs of government subsidies to taxpayers, legitimate environmental mitigation, resource supply & demand, etc.
Most people in the U.S. don’t remember the days before electricity.  I happen to be one who does. The corner of the U.S. where I was born didn’t get electric power until the late 1940s.  I studied my 1st Grade homework (yes, we had homework in the first grade then) by kerosene lamp.  Going back to kerosene lamps is not an option.  It’s past time to take all the politics (including the politics of global warming doomsayers and deniers) out of power generation and let advanced analytics, provide the logical answers.
(Warren B. Causey)

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EPA Rulings Require The Wisdom of Solomon, Or Analytics

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I was chatting with the CEO of a rural electric co-operative this week who has run into another Environmental Protection Agency regulation that is going to require some serious analytical work on the part of the co-op as well as its customers.  The co-op has had a very aggressive load management program since the 1970s, allowing it to shed up to 50% of its load in minutes thus avoiding making expensive market purchases of power, keeping its rates down for customers.  Most of that load shedding is done by customers who switch to diesel generation when called upon.
The problem now is that the EPA allows those customers to only use their diesel generators up to 100 hours per year without very expensive retrofits to make them comply with various EPA regulations.  However, the EPA will forbid them from using the same diesels for peak shaving about a year from now without those expensive retrofits.
The utility now is working hard with its 100 peak-shaving customers to try to “find some kind of soft landing for them.”  It seems that the EPA doesn’t have a problem with diesel generators operating 100 hours per year as long as it isn’t for peak shaving.  With the EPA cranking out more than 10,000 regulations over the last four years, many of them as nonsensical as this one, utilities of all sizes are going to need serious analytics, and the wisdom of Solomon to figure out what is legal and where to go to keep the lights on when the federal government obviously has gone berserk.
(Warren B. Causey)

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CDC has been using analytics for decades—it’s easier now

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The Centers for Disease Control, a division of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, located near Atlanta, GA, has been using analytics for decades to try to control serious infectious diseases and foodborne pathogens.  Despite numerous advances in this effort in recent years, the CDC remains a serious and necessary agency, especially in the current age of trans-national terrorism.
The CDC has had numerous successes through the years, helping virtually eradicate malaria, smallpox and other plagues.  However, new diseases are being discovered, such as AIDS and the Swine Flu, and the terror threat hovers over our water supplies, food transportation system, etc.
Much of the CDC’s work involves statistics and advanced analytics.  While much of this work was done by hand for decades, the CDC now has state-of the-art analytical systems to help trace outbreaks and identify sources and trajectories of diseases and pathogens.  It is one federal agency that makes excellent use of analytics to help keep us safe.  It’s a constant battle and advanced analytics are helping the CDC stop as much as it can as quickly as it can.  There will be successes and failures, but hopefully analytics will increase the former and reduce the latter.
(Warren B. Causey)

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Patient Confidentiality Requires Analytics

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The U.S. federal government spews out regulations like volcanoes spew out lava and ash.  Some of them, however, are useful, such as those concerning patient confidentiality in healthcare.  No one wants information about their personal health issues available to people who have no business knowing.
Most everyone is bombarded these days by advertisements for insurance—health, life, automobile, and even bundles!  Analytics on a national scale are behind most of those advertisements.  However, one thing that you usually don’t see on an individualized basis is ads for specific drugs targeting your individual health issues.  That’s because doctors’ offices, hospitals and others with your health records have to jump through many hoops to protect information about you.  In most cases, you have to sign numerous forms to release health information if you’re looking for insurance, for example.
How’s all that information tracked and your confidentiality assured?  Advanced analytics and business intelligence are really what make it possible.  Once confidentiality used to be assured by manual processing and common sense, but to do so was laborious and time-consuming.  Advanced systems can reveal your buying habits and many other things about your daily life.  In health care, however, they serve to protect you by keeping your healthcare information confidential.  And advanced analytics and business intelligence is getting better every day at not only revealing information, but also protecting it.
(Warren B. Causey)

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Government regulations are ubiquitous, analytics can track them

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I was reminded this week in a small way of the ubiquity of government regulations in our society.  I puff a pipe and needed some pipe cleaners, so I walked across the street to a drug store to buy some while my wife was seeing her doctor.  At checkout, the clerk asked for my date of birth.  It seems that under some federal or state regulation pipe cleaners are considered a “tobacco product” and that clerk is required by law or regulation to verify my age.  I told her I certainly am old enough to buy tobacco products since I’m old enough to remember when this was a mostly free country.

 

Aside from the political implications of such ubiquitous regulations, which are justly debated endlessly, from a practical perspective, all businesses are required to keep track of and obey them.  That requires advanced analytics because these regulations are being churned out by the tens of thousands these days, particularly at the federal level.  There is no way a reasonable person—even one with a law degree—can keep track of all that.
However, having a BI dashboard programmed to capture all the regulations that affect your business can help you stay out of trouble.  Various organizations in virtually all industries track these regulations and provide data for your BI system.  There was once a day when this wasn’t necessary.  You could go to a store and buy anything sold there without worrying about you or the merchant getting into trouble.  Those days are over—get advanced analytics and BI now, you need them no matter what industry you’re in.  It’s the only way to keep up!
 
(Warren B. Causey)

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Family doctors need better analytics on medicines now!

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There was a day when family doctors had a relatively small assortment of medicines to choose from and they could know by memory which ones were effective in various circumstances.  Today, there is no way a physician can rely upon his or her memory to deal with the thousands of drugs on the market.
I recall going to visit my doctor because the blood pressure medicine he had me on was giving me problems.  I asked if there was something else he could give me and his answer was: “I’ve got a whole closet of blood-pressure medicines.”  I walked with him to the closet and saw the hundreds of options there.  He picked one, I tried it, problem solved.
This means our doctor’s offices need to keep up inventory levels, much like any retail manufacturer or many small businesses.  I’m sure many of us have visited our doctors and shared the waiting room with a neatly dressed male or female with a large briefcase and perhaps a couple of other containers awaiting the doctor’s attention.  These are pharmaceutical representatives bringing dozens upon dozens of sample drugs for the doctor’s consideration.  These drugs are left free in the hopes the doctor will like them and re-order.  Frequently the physician will dispense them free until the samples run out.
Obviously, there is no way a physician can track all the pharmaceuticals being pushed upon him and remember all their interactions.  And yet, in many cases, memory is the only guide to this cornucopia of medicines.  There is a desperate need for advanced analytics at the physician’s office level to help guide these hundreds of daily/weekly decisions.  A physician should be able to see at a glance on a computer screen which medicines are available for which situations and the potential pitfalls of each one.  Only advanced analytics can do that and doctors needed it yesterday!
 
(Warren B. Causey)

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