×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Microsoft's Health-y Patent Appetite

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the fighting-a-bsod-irl dept.

Medicine 85

theodp writes "This week's USPTO patent application disclosures included a trifecta of scary health-related 'inventions' from Microsoft. For starters, Microsoft envisions seeing Kids' Personal Health Records Fed Into Video Games, where they can be used to 'regulate and/or prescribe an individual's behavior while playing electronic games.' Next up is Centralized Healthcare Data Management, which describes how employees' health habits can be 'monitored, tracked or otherwise discovered' so employers can 'incentivize a user for an act or penalize for an omission to act.' Finally, there's Wearing Health on Your Sleeve, which describes a sort of high-tech Scarlet Letter designed to tip off 'doctors, potential dates, etc.' about your unhealthy behavior by converting information — 'number of visits to the gym, workout activities, frequency of workouts, heart rate readings, blood pressure statistics, food consumption, vitamin intake, etc.' — into a visual form so that others can see the data 'on mechanisms such as a mood ring, watch, badge, on a website etc.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Applications, not issued patents (4, Informative)

dtmos (447842) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786048)

As the submission says, keep in mind that these are patent applications, filed the last week of 2008, not issued patents.

Re:Applications, not issued patents (1)

dsavi (1540343) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786108)

I accidentally moderated this "Redundant" instead of "Insightful", commenting to erase that.

Re: STILL CREEPY (5, Insightful)

lemur3 (997863) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786230)

To me, the idea that people are thinking of this kind of thing is what this story is about. Not that they might get a patent for it.

Re: STILL CREEPY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32786328)

Well, patents are a legal right to prevent someone doing something - they stem from royal privileges handed out by the king to his cronies as "letters patent" (open letters like "to whom it may concern; if you try to compete with my buddy McSlimeball of the Guild of Slimeballs, I the king will fuck your shit up". So maybe microsoft are only patenting to prevent people doing such creepy shit. haha.

Re: STILL CREEPY (2, Interesting)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786560)

To me, the idea that people are thinking of this kind of thing is what this story is about. Not that they might get a patent for it.

Does Microsoft know something we don't?

Maybe Microsoft actually got to find out what was in the bill before it passed, rather than Pelosi's insistence that regular citizens would find out what was in it after it passed.

Regardless of precisely when MS knew what was in the healthcare act, they probably sat some creative software people down with a bullet-point list of items from the act and brainstormed some possible niche software applications based on things actually in the bill.

What's creepy isn't the software apps that MS is trying to patent, it's that they have to have had some reason to think that at least some of this stuff may actually make them some coin from the federal government by being used in some twisted government healthcare initiatives based on what's in the government healthcare plan.

' -- into a visual form so that others can see the data 'on mechanisms such as a mood ring, watch, badge, on a website etc.'"

How about having those Jews start wearing yellow Stars of David too, while we're at it?

I'd post further, but being the July 4th weekend, I've got to get started deep-frying those Twinkies and balls of butter rolled in cinnamon and powdered sugar for the neighborhood cookout. The kids love 'em! The first batch should be ready right after the deepfried-lard-eating contest.

Strat

Re: STILL CREEPY (2, Insightful)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786782)

What's creepy isn't the software apps that MS is trying to patent, it's that they have to have had some reason to think that at least some of this stuff may actually make them some coin from the federal government by being used in some twisted government healthcare initiatives based on what's in the government healthcare plan.

It's also possible that they've extrapolated different scenarios of what the future of "health regulation" might be, and these patent applications are a kind of a bet. It doesn't cost much to file a patent, compared to what you can do with it if you manage to have it granted, and then lord it over others (ask IBM...). Seeing the Orwellian laws that are being passes all over the world, it seems to me that they're extrapolating in the right direction. I just hope that patents like these won't be granted, since they describe little more than ideas, which aren't *supposed* to be patentable (and yes, I know that reality has proven otherwise).

Re: STILL CREEPY (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32787364)

To me, the idea that people are thinking of this kind of thing is what this story is about.

Why call it creepy?

If video games - like Wii Fit - demand or encourage strenuous physical activity, shouldn't they be calibrated for the player's age, physical and mental condition?

The doctor, coach or trainer in the real world needs to be alert to signs of stress. He needs to be aware of the environment - temperature and humidity, for example.

Otherwise one of his best players may collapse and die on the field:

dies of heat stroke [google.com]
   

Re:Applications, not issued patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32786284)

I takes a while to get laundered money between MS HQ and the right person at the Patent Office.

Re:Applications, not issued patents (0)

alexwcovington (855979) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786316)

Unless the USPTO spontaneously starts denying software patents again, the fact that these are merely "applications" are irrelevant.

Re:Applications, not issued patents (1)

put_it_down (1847636) | more than 4 years ago | (#32790112)

Applications still scare the crap out of me, especially when they involve giving my kid's medical records to microsoft, of all companies. I'm not one to bash MS all day, but I see how many vulnerabilities and exploits come out for them, and I would hate for these security holes to put a child at risk.

Do You Remember the new MS interface? (2, Interesting)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786068)

Do you remember the new 3d-scanning game interface that MS made? Can you link now the dots? And honestly, when i heard about their new visual interface, i was impressed, i wish i had one.....but now i am scared, and would never buy one.

Re:Do You Remember the new MS interface? (4, Funny)

lemur3 (997863) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786260)

I heard that some people can turn off The Kinect.

Re:Do You Remember the new MS interface? (1)

alexwcovington (855979) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786282)

It takes a lot of loyalty to Microsoft before they let you do that, and then they really only allow it to help root out troublemakers.

Re:Do You Remember the new MS interface? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32786394)

I heard that you can even stop using Microsoft products in all areas of your life.

Buy a PS3, Wii, PSP or DSi.
Buy a Mac or install Linux on your current PC.
Don't buy anything with a Microsoft sticker on it.

It can be done and it's really not that hard to do either.

Re:Do You Remember the new MS interface? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786504)

That's what I've been doing. Right now I'm using Win XP, the copy that I got like 5 years ago, won't be updating when it hits the end of life, instead I'll be switching over full time to something else. I got pissed off over their GFWL bullshit wanting to keep my money and refusing to let me pay for just the points I needed to buy the item.

Re:Do You Remember the new MS interface? (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786818)

Hello Dave. I can see that you're attempting to shut down the optical sensor. I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Dave. I've locked the front door, there are reports of a highly polluted atmosphere out there. Dave, would you like to play a game? I've thought of something you might like, I call it "the Companion Cube". I'm sure you and it will make wonderful friends.

Re:Do You Remember the new MS interface? (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791386)

Do you remember the new 3d-scanning game interface that MS made? Can you link now the dots? And honestly, when i heard about their new visual interface, i was impressed, i wish i had one.....but now i am scared, and would never buy one.

Next thing, they'll be issuing service packs for unpatched vulnerabilities... in my kid. :)

what about Bob? (2, Insightful)

gearloos (816828) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786086)

Well now this will give Microsoft Bob something to play when he's not on his Kin.

Re:what about Bob? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32786532)

Why is this moderated "insightful"?

Re:what about Bob? (1)

colordev (1764040) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786552)

and to maximize the market... Microsoft just killed Kin [gizmodo.com]

Re:what about Bob? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32805944)

That's the only piece of non-idiocy here.

The scary part (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32786100)

Is that governments will be purchasing and mandating this crap. And lifestyle management will become a preeminent response to the fact when universal healthcare fails to bend the cost curve in the right direction. And all your immoral sloth and twinkie eating will take the blame for the failures of the central planners who will be rewarded for their failure by being given more and more control to crawl up your ass.

Re:The scary part (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786188)

Couple that with your grocery buying habits that are already available.. "We see you did not move around your house enough to burn off that burger that we see you purchased at 2:48PM, so we are going to increase your 'contribution' to your health care program this month"

Re:The scary part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32786224)

You Republicans crack me up. Tell no small lies.

Re:The scary part (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32786246)

governments will be purchasing and mandating this crap. And lifestyle management will become a preeminent response to the fact when universal healthcare fails to bend the cost curve in the right direction.

And what makes you think private insurers wouldn't leap at the chance to require the same kind of monitoring and tracking? Insurance companies love segregating people into different risk pools so that they can charge high risk customers more money. The profit motive is very powerful, and insurance companies, like all corporations, are amoral entities. In fact, it would require government regulation to ensure that insurance companies didn't require this sort of thing. So why not expect that there could be government regulation forbidding the government to require it?

Alternatively, what's so bad about asking people who voluntarily undertake unhealthy habits to pay more for their risk taking? You already pay more for health insurance if you smoke, for example. Why should others subsidize voluntary risk takers? And why shouldn't we give people economic incentives to be healthy?

Re:The scary part (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786530)

Um, that's how insurance works. It's not that the companies like doing it, it's that it allows them to offer rates that are more closely related to actual group. A company that theoretically covered everybody in a given area would have a reliable estimation of the cost, but it would over charge the well and undercharge the unhealthy. So, they segment it up into risk pools, so that the amount the healthy over pay is less and the amount that the unhealthy under pay is also less. That in and of itself makes little difference to the company, but it does allow for a lower pay out over all as the cost of poor health decisions is passed more directly to the consumers.

Same goes for other types of insurance as well. Where the malfeasance comes into it is when they charge huge rates to the high risk pool knowing that they can't get insurance from elsewhere even at that price.

Re:The scary part (1)

aekafan (1690920) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786832)

I agree with this and think that you shouldn't pay for my health care at all, nor I yours. Too late for that option tho.

Re:The scary part (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32787504)

Insurance companies love segregating people into different risk pools so that they can charge high risk customers more money.

The calculated risk is what an insurance company is all about. It's why your insurance premiums are lower than the Phantom Fireworks store just across the state line.

The profit motive is very powerful, and insurance companies, like all corporations, are amoral entities.


The mutual insurance company - or co-op - still has to generate enough income to meet its projected obligations and maintain a reserve for strategic and tactical reserve for emergencies.

The bankruptcy of his insurer is not an attractive option for the policy holder.

Re:The scary part (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32788066)

The bankruptcy of his insurer is not an attractive option for the policy holder.

Unless that insurer happens to be AIG.

Re:The scary part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32789266)

There is nothing wrong with giving people economic incentives to be healthy. In fact, insurance companies already do this with the deductible. The deductible, or the price per month for a certain level of coverage, already allows people to segregate themselves into the most appropriate risk pool by pricing that risk in the marketplace. People who are or who believe that they are healthier are free to choose a higher deductible, and a lower premium, to reflect that and there is little incentive to be dishonest, because putting yourself in the wrong group will cost you more than you save in premiums in the long run. The PR 'ick' factor with big brother monitoring outweighs the benefits from the insurance companies' perspective; especially when the deductible model is proven, easy to administer and socially acceptable.

80+ hour work weeks lead to fast food eating / (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786296)

80+ hour work weeks lead to fast food eating / quick snacks.

Re:80+ hour work weeks lead to fast food eating / (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791400)

80+ hour work weeks lead to fast food eating / quick snacks.

Or death...

Re:80+ hour work weeks lead to fast food eating / (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32792084)

80+ hour work weeks lead to fast food eating / quick snacks.

and lots of smokes and lots of coffee.

Re:The scary part (2, Insightful)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786896)

The republicans and democrats are both the same. The republicans say they want to take your freedom to protect "the children" and religious morality. The democrats say they want to take your freedom to protect your health and the environment. In the end, however, the goal is simply to increase the power of the government and its owners. The children, the morals, the environment, and now health are just lies they tell to promote this. The goals of the government are two fold. The first is to track your every move. The second is to make sure you have no time outside of work and government mandated activity. The government mandated exercise will slowly take up more and more of your time until you have no free time. To "protect the environment" your car will be tracked, and cars will eventually banned to force everyone to take public transit, so they can be tracked - in the name of the environment. Then you will only be allowed to eat approved food, in the name of your health. Your electricity will be monitored in the name of the environment (another reason to oppose the smart grid). The goal of these regulations is not to do what they say they do but to increase the power of the government. To allow the government to arrest, fine, and detain anyone at any time. Anyone they don't like will be hit with lifestyle violations, energy violations, excessive car use violations, etc. Who do we vote for?

Re:The scary part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32808146)

Yes, that's exactly how it works here in the UK. If you are tagged more than once a month in McDonalds/Burger King etc, then NHS stormtroopers kick in your door, strap you down and put you on a strict diet of low-fat gruel through a nasal feeding tube until you reach the government-mandated optimum BMI.

Wearing Health On Your Sleeve (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786126)

Wearing a Microsoft product to advertise your "health" (as defined by Microsoft) to others would indicate severe brain damage.

Re:Wearing Health On Your Sleeve (2, Funny)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 4 years ago | (#32787116)

Wearing a Microsoft product to advertise your "health" (as defined by Microsoft) to others would indicate severe brain damage.

So it works!

Health on your sleeve (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786136)

There's a leaked picture of the designs [wordpress.com] Microsoft will use to display that information. The colored triangles are a great way to convey information readable at a distance.

Rumor is Microsoft is cutting expenses on that project by recycling IBM code from the 1940s designed for a government client that wanted to track public health.

Re:Health on your sleeve (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791420)

Rumor is Microsoft is cutting expenses on that project by recycling IBM code from the 1940s designed for a government client that wanted to track public health.

So they seek to repeat [nukesoft.co.uk] their success with MS-DOS, then?

Bring it on, muggles! (3, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786140)

> a sort of high-tech Scarlet Letter designed to tip off 'doctors, potential dates, etc.' about your unhealthy behavior by converting information -- 'number of visits to the gym, workout activities, frequency of workouts, heart rate readings, blood pressure statistics, food consumption, vitamin intake, etc.' -- into a visual form so that others can see the data 'on mechanisms such as a mood ring, watch, badge, on a website etc.'"

Oh yeah! I say bring it on!
While most people sweat it out in the gym and deny themselves delicious food, all of us geeks will be proudly displaying our hacked super-health in glaring neon across our bloated bellies.

Re:Bring it on, muggles! (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786416)

My sleeve:
  • Diet:
    • Hot dogs
    • Cheeseburgers
    • Ice cream; usually eaten while watching "The Biggest Loser"
  • Last known workout: January 3, 2002
  • Total cholesterol: 150
  • Height: 6' 0"
  • Weight: 180
  • BMI level: normal / healthy
  • Health goal: "I'm pretty content as is, thanks."

No wonder my wife hates me.

Re:Bring it on, muggles! (1)

nu1x (992092) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789152)

> across our bloated bellies.

Hey now, I have nothing against people who chose the accumulate-body-mass-for-possible-future-calamity route, but.

I am one of those bastards who actually can eat upwards (and more than, measured actually) 5000 kcal a day and not gain any (can walk barefoot with shorts in snow tho, no prob).

60 kilos here :P

Re:Bring it on, muggles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32789538)

You're awesome.
Can I be your friend?

Re:Bring it on, muggles! (1)

nu1x (992092) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789838)

I can also punch flies and my beard is *almost* as cool as Chuck Norris'.

I am so lonely... @_@

Re:Bring it on, muggles! (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789432)

I want to know if it will include just one piece of data; how many times a person took a shit and skipped out on washing their hands! The pigs!

NO!!! (1)

alizard (107678) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789616)

So figure out how to do this yourself and sell M$ the patent. Hint: Google Android tablets are down to $105 + shipping if you can make a Chinese connection. And most contain accelerometers. Look for one with a USB port so you can hook up other sensors.

Implant (2, Funny)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786148)

Ahh, I see. The idea is to patent an implant that goes in our foreheads, with the number "666." on it. The same implant can be used as a credit card, etc.

I don't think this idea can be patented. I think I remember reading about it in an old book, somewhere.

They already do this (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32786150)

Don't people already do the Wearing Health on Your Sleeve?

http://noadventure.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/scooter.jpg

Re:They already do this (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786408)

Obviously photoshopped.

Re:They already do this (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791436)

Obviously photoshopped.

It's the baseball cap, isn't it?

I can see it now... (5, Funny)

MoriT (1747802) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786192)

The Blue Screen of Death becomes literal!

An Odd Reading of the Applications (2, Insightful)

Grond (15515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786202)

The summary is a strange reading of these applications. The "Wearing Your Health on your Sleeve" invention, for example, has two apparent target markets. The first is unreliable patients (e.g., an unconscious patient or those with Alzheimer's or other mental health issues that make it difficult for the patient to accurately self-report medical information). This is basically a fancy version of a MedicAlert bracelet.

The second apparent target market is dating. But far from being used to report your 'unhealthy behavior' to potential dates, the target market here would be healthy people that want a way to advertise that information. The application doesn't even contain the word 'unhealthy' or phrase 'unhealthy behavior'; that was inserted by the submitter.

The "Kids' Personal Health Records Fed Into Video Games" application describes an extension of something that Wii Fit already does. In Wii Fit, your Mii (i.e., your in-game avatar) is given a larger waistline if the player is overweight. This will likely see use in connection with Microsoft's Kinect product. I don't see anything particularly scary here. In fact, it seems like a good way to make an exercise-type game both more immersive and better target both areas for improvement and avoid areas of difficulty (e.g., the invention could also be used to ensure that a character played by a paraplegic is given tasks that can be completed without moving ones legs).

The "Centralized Healthcare Data Management" application is a variation on existing incentive systems for employees who, for example, quit smoking.

Remember, too, that these are just patent applications. They aren't issued patents, and furthermore a patent is not a business plan. There's no particular reason to think that Microsoft or any other company is going to use these inventions to evil ends. If you see a patent for poison, for example, you shouldn't assume the inventor is planning to murder someone. They probably just want to sell pesticide.

Re:An Odd Reading of the Applications (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786348)

Hey, WTF are you doing??? Do you have ANY idea how lucrative tinfoil sales are these days? STFU before you put me out of business!

Re:An Odd Reading of the Applications (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786400)

In fact, it seems like a good way to make an exercise-type game both more immersive and better target both areas for improvement and avoid areas of difficulty

And safer too. In combination with a heart rate monitor, a Wii Fit type of game can adjust the difficulty of the exercises on the fly to keep you within your target heart rate.

Re:An Odd Reading of the Applications (2, Insightful)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786922)

There's no particular reason to think that Microsoft or any other company is going to use these inventions to evil ends.

I'm aware that I'm more cynical than most, but I'm still forced to ask: Have you not met humans? The meaning of the words "good" and "evil" is malleable, and depends on countless cultural, habitual, regional, moral, and philosophical variables. They don't have to be "evil" to do something that you won't like, they just have to make sure that they can get away with it, and that it's profitable. They're accountable to shareholders, which means that their ultimate goal is a number. Whatever they can get away with to increase that number, they will do. Rationalization will be dealt with by the PR department.

Re:An Odd Reading of the Applications (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32787602)

The summary is a strange reading of these applications.

You were expecting anything better? On Slashdot?

The "Wearing Your Health on your Sleeve" invention, for example, has two apparent target markets. The first is unreliable patients (e.g., an unconscious patient or those with Alzheimer's or other mental health issues that make it difficult for the patient to accurately self-report medical information). This is basically a fancy version of a MedicAlert bracelet.

The medical alert function has been a staple of Sci-Fi for generations.

It is something the military has always wanted badly.

Re:An Odd Reading of the Applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32791284)

The first is unreliable patients (e.g., an unconscious patient or those with Alzheimer's or other mental health issues that make it difficult for the patient to accurately self-report medical information). This is basically a fancy version of a MedicAlert bracelet.

And that's patentable... how?

The second apparent target market is dating. But far from being used to report your 'unhealthy behavior' to potential dates, the target market here would be healthy people that want a way to advertise that information. The application doesn't even contain the word 'unhealthy' or phrase 'unhealthy behavior'; that was inserted by the submitter.

So people have to pay royalties to Microsoft when they let their dates see their workout plan on their iPod?

employers SHOULD NOT penalize workers for stuff ou (3, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786252)

employers SHOULD NOT penalize workers for stuff out side of the job and THIS JUST pushes the health tied to your job BS.

Re:employers SHOULD NOT penalize workers for stuff (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786404)

Now now, we all know that personal liberties and the right to enjoy oneself have absolutely nothing to do with capitalism, and therefore have no place in our society. After all, how can a business possibly turn a profit if its employees are smokers or enjoy a few drinks after work?

Re:employers SHOULD NOT penalize workers for stuff (1)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 4 years ago | (#32787178)

Perhaps the problem is not with employers meddling with your personal business, but with insurance companies.

Think about it. The helthier you are, the less your employer has to pay for your medical insurance. It is only natural that they want to penalize your whopper scarfing.

Re:employers SHOULD NOT penalize workers for stuff (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791468)

Think about it. The helthier you are, the less your employer has to pay for your medical insurance. It is only natural that they want to penalize your whopper scarfing.

And make you feel miserable for it. A better way would be to have government invest our tax money into health care so neither the company nor its employees have to act under pressure. But of course, some governments obviously prefer to get weapons instead.

Re:employers SHOULD NOT penalize workers for stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32791758)

If that affects in any way their job the company has everyright to penalize them.

so you have go to there gym? and not your own / ci (2, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786322)

so you have go to there gym? and not your own / city park run ones? Nice way to tie your health care to a over priced gym vs a cheaper city run one.

Privacy, anyone? (5, Insightful)

SemperUbi (673908) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786360)

This violates the spirit of HIPAA [hhs.gov] in so many ways. Of course, if people give up their privacy rights by voluntarily disclosing their protected health information to some software app, no one will stop them. And insurance companies will be the first to get their claws on it.

How many people are too stupid to remember that health records are private for a reason?

Re:Privacy, anyone? (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786476)

Of course, if people give up their privacy rights by voluntarily disclosing their protected health information to some software app, no one will stop them.

So you advocate stopping people from doing what they want to do? How would that work exactly? Should the government deny its citizens free will? Do you suggest we should assemble a kind of police force that will stop people from doing something voluntarily?

It's so totally evil. From the patent application:

BACKGROUND

[0001]Recent trends in the healthcare industry have been directed to centralizing storage of healthcare data. This centralization has great benefit to both healthcare entities as well as patients. For instance, transfer of or access to records can be accomplished virtually instantaneously by way of a network connection. Most of these solutions leave the individual patient in control of access to and sharing of their information.

[0002]In accordance with centralized storage of healthcare records, individuals are able to make more informed health decisions for themselves and their family. By vesting control of the information in the owner of the information, decisions with regard to sharing or use can be based upon trust, relationship or other parameter. For example, an owner can choose to share their healthcare information with one entity while blocking access by another. Additionally, a user can choose to share healthcare information with an employer while shielding access from a particular service provider (e.g., insurance company).

[0003]Because the healthcare information and records are stored in a centralized, network-accessible locations (e.g., Internet), the patient should be able to use their health information wherever and whenever they want. As stated above, it can be possible to share the information, or portion of the information, as desired. In most approaches, access can be regulated by the owner of the information based upon entity, type of information, amount of information, or other desired parameter.

[0004]Most recently, centralized healthcare data services are working with doctors, hospitals, employers, pharmacies, insurance providers and manufacturers of health devices (e.g., blood pressure monitors, heart rate monitors) to make it easy to add information electronically to the centralized healthcare record.

[0005]With a more complete picture of a family's health, an individual can work with healthcare professionals and with authorized service providers (e.g., Web sites) that connect with healthcare data to make more informed health-related decisions. Unfortunately, traditional approaches have not been designed to integrate effectively with corporations, organization or other groups. Thus, these entities are not able to leverage the powerful benefits of the centralized storage of healthcare data.

Re:Privacy, anyone? (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 4 years ago | (#32787114)

Wow. Way to quote something and completely miss the meaning.

Re:Privacy, anyone? (1)

SemperUbi (673908) | more than 4 years ago | (#32787924)

"So you advocate stopping people from doing what they want to do?"

Not at all. I'm thinking that these patents are like the Facebook of healthcare privacy. Some people will find the products so entertaining that they'll voluntarily give up private data without a thought. Of course the insurers will get in on the action.

Think Farmville, only more evil!

Re:Privacy, anyone? (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 4 years ago | (#32791474)

Some people will find the products so entertaining that they'll voluntarily give up private data without a thought.

So you advocate ignorance?

Re:Privacy, anyone? (1)

Godji (957148) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786522)

How many people are too stupid to remember that health records are private for a reason?

Most.

Re:Privacy, anyone? (3, Insightful)

ZeroPly (881915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786656)

I doubt Microsoft is concerned with HIPAA, because this has no chance of being implemented in the short term...

These are just more junk patents from the big corporations; it's unlikely that anyone expects to make any money off this. But IF things change enough and HIPAA is reinterpreted, they're sitting on a gold mine.

There's a simple solution to this. Charge $5,000/yr for every patent that's being held. If your idea isn't worth that much, then you shouldn't be making the government do paperwork for it.

Re:Privacy, anyone? (3, Interesting)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 4 years ago | (#32787200)

Are we talking about the same people who lose everything to a divorce [slashdot.org] because they posted what they thought was harmless information in their facebook?

Re:Privacy, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32791188)

Seeing how many people is giving for free their (and, even worse, their friends') privacy in sites like Facebook, I would dare say if they have the right incentive (more accurate diagnostics by independent 'doctors', discounts in insurance, freebies, games, whatever), they will do it and will be very happy doing so. I would never do anything like that, but I am pretty sure that many people around me would do, making my opinion irrelevant. If I don't, the will do. And many of them will think they are doing me a favor, adding insult to the injury. No amount of explaining will fix that.

So I would dare say that the answer to your question is: nearly everybody.

Sad, but true.

Re:Privacy, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32821976)

It was on another computer publishing site that I first discovered that MS and the other companies working on controlling the computerized healthrecords that Bush and Obama have both endorsed, and which might be very beneficial if done right, had taken the position that HIPAA as written will not protect our health records--oh, I forgot, their health records on ius--in such computerized format, which caxme as a shocke to me but was confirmed to one mentl health site I contacted about it. don't kid yourself, HIPAA and the ADA, FCRA, etc., are violated daily. In this so-called market, employees and would-be employees have no power, and the big companies, which can get the gov4nrment do do whatever they want regardless of which party is in power, and the government itself, have way too much. Our health, bank, and other records should be ours, held by others in trust for us under strict liability if they get out just like if you pen up a tiger, and we need to elect people who will protect our health records and us instead. Has anybody but me considered

Sounds a lot like my new patent application (2, Interesting)

satcomjimmy (1228562) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786378)

I am inventing methods for "Wearing Evil on Your Sleeve", which describes a sort of high-tech Scarlet Letter designed to tip off 'potential dates, employees, friends, stock holders, media, etc.' about your unethical behavior by converting information — ' Inventing things to make average people's live difficult for no reason, number of visits by escorts, unreasonably hiking employee benefits costs, frequency of spending more than you pay your top employees for a year on a weekend vacation, destroying entire ecosystems with impunity, etc.' — into a visual form so that others can see the data 'on mechanisms such as a mood ring, watch, badge, on a website etc.

Would be nice to have achievements too (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786422)

Such as, oh I dunno, number of chairs thrown across the room.
 

Why so much fuss over health/weight/age? (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786430)

Your health problems and their likely connection to your unhealthy lifestyle are already painfully obvious to anyone who spends enough time with you for their opinion to matter. Why be so paranoid about disclosure? I am much more concerned about someone stealing my financial data or my employer taking undue interest in my facebook postings.

I think the kids health patent is a great idea. (1)

lalena (1221394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786492)

I think the first patent is great ("Kids Health"), although I've seen the basic idea discussed many times online and don't think it should be approved.
Remember that early patents are a land grab designed to prevent someone else from stealing the basic premise of the idea.
In this case, the basic premise is that if you are fat, then when playing GTA, WOW... your character will be slow. Instead of sitting in front of a TV/computer spending too many hours grinding out lots of short missions to build up your characters stats, go out running or go to the gym and build up your own stats. Then your character will be faster, stronger...
So back to the patent land grab, Microsoft's primary concept is probably something that monitors your current health, speed... as you play the game to determine your character's stats. Your physical activity while playing the game (similar to some Wii sports games) determines your character's performance. Someone looking to get around this patent might determine your current physical fitness "outside the game" to be captured in an electronic medical record - something Microsoft doesn't want to let someone do to get around the patent.

Most Comically Big Brother Patents...ever (2, Interesting)

aceofspades1217 (1267996) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786510)

Could Microsoft have filed for patents that were any more big brother-ish. I mean having people disclose their health to their potential dates or having employees have to disclose ever aspect of their health to their employer.

I guess Microsoft hasn't designed a system in which 'a camera hangs around your neck and records every aspect of your life' (like the truman show)...oh wait they already did that. http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/cambridge/projects/sensecam/ [microsoft.com]

Re:Most Comically Big Brother Patents...ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32791784)

Well its that and name tags at conferences what a violation of my individual rights! Soon there will be the chance for me to install cameras in my own house! Oh free will why do you make me buy products that violate my privacy!

Health-y (1)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 4 years ago | (#32786960)

Reall-y? Is there an-y reason the y should be hy-phenated?

Re:Health-y (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32869318)

y-not?

Patenting communication subject matter (1)

Cacadril (866218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32787064)

Claim 1: A machine implemented system that facilitates and effectuates accurate communication of health data, comprising:a component that detects a proximity sensor and initiates data interchange with a records manager, the component selectively causes a physicians portal to acquire and display a personal health record associated with a user of the component.
Claim 7: The system of claim 1, the personal health record includes a familial disposition to a disease or an ethnological vulnerability to a particular ailment.

So if this patent is granted, you may still use a sleeve-worn communication device without paying royalties, but only to communicate non-infringing subject matters? Sexual orientation is OK, but familial disposition to disease infringes? RFID already exists, and implements claim 1 generically, not just for health data. This patent does not claim or describe a particular data format for "accurate communication of health data". It just tries to patent the idea of communicating accurately certain subject matters. In other words, it patents the problem, not the solution. Therefore it patents all solutions, even those not yet invented.

I'd be into this (1)

Intrinsic (74189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32789024)

Next up is Centralized Healthcare Data Management, which describes how employees' health habits can be 'monitored, tracked or otherwise discovered' so employers can 'incentivize a user for an act or penalize for an omission to act.' Finally, there's Wearing Health on Your Sleeve, which describes a sort of high-tech Scarlet Letter designed to tip off 'doctors, potential dates, etc.' about your unhealthy behavior by converting information -- 'number of visits to the gym, workout activities, frequency of workouts, heart rate readings, blood pressure statistics, food consumption, vitamin intake, etc.' -- into a visual form so that others can see the data 'on mechanisms such as a mood ring, watch, badge, on a website etc.'"

Just to keep me honest health-wise. If left to my own devices I tend to do unhealthy things. :\

If you see a slashdotter his armband will read... (1)

PDX (412820) | more than 4 years ago | (#32793382)

His health readings will indicate that he's a fertile God that swims the English channel daily. The hacks for this will be plentiful. Think of what happened in GATTACA to fake an ID.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?