This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
There are two things that come together here, computer models and Politicians.
That is when we get a really serious problem.
I expect the reason the MP's expenses were so high is that they are suckers for double glazing, fitted kitchen and conservatory salesmen.
Confront them with a computer company and/or software and they seem to suspend all critical faculties.
They have short memories and are more vulnerable than most to the law of unintended consequences.
Inevitably almost every computer or system sold to the government costs far more than first thought, takes twice as long to deliver and only does half of what it was supposed to do and does that wrongly. yet still they keep buying.
The latest brainwave is to put all of our medical records on a central computer so some hospital or surgery in the Shetland Islands can access your data whenever they like.
Ah yes, I forgot, the other propensity of the government and its servants is to store as much data as they can on unsecure disks/laptops/memory sticks etc and scatter them round the country on buses, trains and in taxis for someone to find and publish in the News of the World.
It seems to me, when I visit my surgery, that my local GP has all the information he needs on his computer without having to link in to some mystical new government bought and paid for Pandora's box of a system.
AH, you say, but suppose you are taken ill in Bradford? Well, come to that, suppose I am taken ill in Riga or Los Angeles? This system surely won't be so extensive as to benefit me overseas. Given the number of Brits who go to Falaraki, get blind drunk and end up in some Greek Hospital, I would think this is a serious deficit.
The thing is, the only reason Cedar Sinai Hospital might need my medical records is if I am in Los Angeles. It seems to me that a far simpler and more useful solution is for each of us to be issued with an NHS memory stick or smart card. Or maybe an "app" for our I-phones.
Where I go my medical records go.
If anyone is going to leave my records on a train it will be me and it will be my records and not half the countries.
Each visit to the GP he logs me in with my swipe card/memory stick etc and updates it at the end of the session.
best news, thee government has nothing to do with my information so they can't, like the DVLC, sell my data to the insurance companies or the pharmaceutical companies. In fact, they can't make money out of me whatever they do.
Built into an "app" on a mobile phone, or in memory stick with an "app" on my PC, it can issue me with medication alerts and keep track of my prescriptions.
It can even order me new prescriptions when I am online without my having to log into my surgery web site and do it myself.
In other words a different approach would be far less expensive and far more useful than yet another Government money-sink.
Sacrilege, Anarchy --
What the heck are you talking about... Letting the patient have access to his own records. THOSE records belong to the doctor. They belong to the hospital. They belong to everyone but the patient.
Put that information directly in the hands of the patient and they might read their own file.
I just finished Phil Plait admonishing people like me for thinking that we might understand data or have an ability to analyze it. It is perfectly appropriate in his mind to prevent anyone but approved experts from having access to it.
Apparently, he didn't actually read any of the messages. Those comments were just short hand jargon that pack a lot of meaning into a small space.
Well, they can always make these records only readable by the GPs.
But why shouldn't we see our own records?
Doctors are supposed to discus things with us these days.
Plus if we know what is wrong with us we have the internet.
I hope the sarcasm was apparent.
I think we should be able to read our own charts. Certain people though, should be warned heavily against reading their own charts.
I am sure everyone here fell into this discussion of statistics. The author attempts as has our bending author to explain the challenges faced by statistician, most especially those who use the computer tools but never get a grasp of the implications of the underlying math.
Which makes me say.
It is the people who interpret P < 0.05 to mean that there is a 95% probability of the study being correct who will be dangerous if they get hold of their medical files.
The NHS system is only a database and an intranet, with an appointments system tacked on. A very big system, yes, but only the kind of thing that the business world has been doing for 20 years. They should just have found out what was available and bought that.
The problem with off the shelf solutions is that they never match the customers needs unless the customer can figure out how to make excel accomplish the task.
People who can figure out how to use excel as a word processor, database, or any other task they need done, can figure out how to use an off the shelf system to accomplish their task. This may seem obvious, but it is something I run into constantly. People have visions of what they want a system to do which never matches what a canned product can do. you can usually point out how to get the system to mimick the "feature" they expect but it requires the user to adjust how they look at the problem. Ironically it is usually quite easy to get the user trained to do the task. It is near impossible to get the manager to get it.
Managers know better.
I think they acquired an off the shelf ambulance system and it was tampering with that that cased some emergencies to be downplayed resulting in deaths.
The problem is that it was Government meddling as usual.
By the way, Brad, yes, I did detect the sarcasm. I should have shown that in my reply.
The first mistake the bosses make is to ask dozens of 'user groups' (i.e. managers) what they would like from a system. This results in hundreds of incompatible demands and raises expectations that cannot be fulfilled. As Henry Ford remarked "If I'd asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse". They then hand this over to consultants who win the work based on their size, cost (the greater the better, it proves they must be good) and ability to schmooze. The consultants have an interest in making the system as complex and expensive as possible in order that they may become essential and, of course, the last thing they want is for the project to be completed and their income stream stanched. The bosses then watch helplessly as a project that they do not understand turns into a money-eating monster.
The alternative is to find out what is available, with modifications that can reasonably be achieved and then offer the users a choice of three or four options. Moral: never let the best drive out the good.
On the subject of misuse of models, here is a prime example:
Despite the fact that polar bears are apparently thriving, some guy has a “model”, which says they won’t. Cue the BBC in full doomsday mode and you have an impending disaster. A completely misleading piece by Matt Walker, who is well known for writing tripe like this!