Doctor Eclectic

Doctor Eclectic
Doctor Eclectic

Monday, July 13, 2015

Robots and Drones

I have read several articles recently that caused me to stop and catch-up from my baseline knowledge of robots and drones, which may have stopped at R2D2 and 3-CPO.  What actually got me started was not an article, but a television spot, where they were asking the rhetorical question, “What should you tip robot who serves you a drink?”  Evidently the question never was adequately answered as last night’s television showed a restaurant in China that is served by a staff of cute looking robots, and they asked the same question.

The first show was triggered by a lounge in Orange County that already has a robot serving drinks and was testing the effect of robot servers on tips for serving staff.  Their conclusion was people actually tipped the robots more and therefore the servers were very happy.

I hooked up with a golf companion on my last trip out who was a bartender in a fancy-dancy restaurant in Newport Beach.  He seemed unaware of the robot threat to his livelihood, but I was remembering when I was briefly a bartender supplementing my spending money while in dental school.  I worked a resort in Door County a couple of summers, a Country Club one summer, and a Japanese restaurant for about two years.  Each had a pecking order for tip disbursement, and the biggest lesson I learned was to personalize the preparation and presentation, if you want to maximize gratuities.  I attribute this learned skill to making me successful in fabricating dentures, partial dentures, and crowns as customer satisfaction is 90% of that game also.

It’s hard for me to believe a robot can achieve that, but I did see a TED video that discussed AI robots, that use their artificial intelligence to bond with humans.  My favorite example was a woman who had a robot seal that she dressed and anthropomorphized and loved.  My hygienist has a Therapy Dog, who provides a similar service to convalescents.  Animals are also use in treating PTSD and rehabilitation prison inmates. There seem to be more similarities than differences.

Of course there are those who believe we are setting up our workforce to extinction, and I was pleased to see a Harvard BusinessReview article arguing that robots need us more than we need them.

Drones could be described as robots on steroids, and I confess I see them as a solution looking for a problem.  But they are huge in the marketplace, and the largest supplier in the world, Parrot SA Sells thousands for about $100.  Four times in the last few weeks California authorities have had to stop air support for firefighting because of drone activity.  Currently a misdemeanor, it is only a matter of time before drone owners may face jail time.

I did see one article where a private citizen was investigating a service to provide food, medicine and other necessities o many areas of our country that are isolated by impassible roads because of weather. Perhaps when people stop using their drone toys for surveillance of water waster and cell phone users, reason may prevail.

 
I was reminded recently of the question, “How do you want to be remembered when you die?” I have some thoughts  on that, which I will share in my next Post.  I hope you will be able to join me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cognitive Chimps

I recently watched an interview in which John Stossel broached a very even-handed interview with Cavan Brunesden, DDS, representing the pro-fluoride water position and Paul Connett, representing the anti-fluoridation movement.  Stossel brought to mind a debate on the O’Reilly Factor between him and Bill O’Reilly on a more humorous vein: political correctness.  Somehow connecting the dots between PC, PETA and universities, I was reminded of an animal rights mission to find a home for laboratory chimpanzees at one of the major universities in Florida.

Their point was that the very reason for the chimp study was to demonstrate they had “cognitive powers” similar to humans, being able to make a preferential choice as to what foods tasted better after cooking.  Therefore they should be granted the dignity and deference given humans in similar studies.

Stossel brought O’Reilly a current list of politically correct terminology that went way beyond doing away with labels for Stewardesses or Chairmen and included one of my favorites: a dog-guardian.  O’Reilly opined that part of the problem inherent in that term was that guardians usually got paid for their service while pet owners are in the opposite camp.

One of my favorite jokes concerns a man, flying to a business meeting who hears a female voice saying, “Well, as we break through the clouds, feel free to push your seat back and relax.”

His reaction: “That’s all we need, a woman pilot in the cockpit!”

To which the flight attendant says, “You are correct sir, our Captain is female, as are the First Officer, the Purser and all three Flight attendants.  Oh, and we no longer call it a cockpit, it is the Flight Operations Center.”

I’m unsure of what that says about me, but JerrySeinfeld would say the pc-appropriate line has moved in too far. He told O’Reilly and Stossel that when his wife mentioned to their 14 year-old daughter that she might want to spend more time in the city, to meet boys, she said, “That is so sexist!”  Seinfeld believes college campuses as well as his daughter have become unable to see the humor in stereotypical behavior.

There is reason to agree with Seinfeld’s opinion.  A recent article in the WSJ traced the history that has resulted in Federal Funding for Title IX, which was designed to equal the opportunity playing field for women in college sports, to be diverted to Universities being, Judge, jury, investigative authority and court in cases of alleged sexual harassment.

A case in point being the University of Virginia, which responded to now-debunked allegations of fraternity house gang rape by closing the fraternity house, expelling at least two students, and defending the school’s policing of on and off-campus allegations of sexual misconduct.  All of this in response to seemingly innocuous “Dear Colleague” letters from federal education officials, which changed to ground rules of Title IX, creating a new standard that concluded women did not know what “sports” they were interested in and needed to be educated that they could compete in activities more classically defined at athletics.

Title IX funding has now been diverted from support for women athletes to defense of the university’s compliance with federal guidance and funds have been siphoned off to, no-so-surprising trial lawyers.  This seems particularly ironic when we see US Woman’s Soccer prominent on a world stage.

 Please plan to join me on my next Post, where I will explore that I see as the present and near future of Robots and Drones and how that future may affect us.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Heroin

For the last fourteen years the American Association of Maxilla-facial Oral Surgeons (AAMOS) has held meetings with interested stakeholders for their services in conjunction with a Dental Consultant’s Meeting I attend (AADC).

Lately, those meetings have been held on odd-years (pun recognized but not intended), this year outside of Albuquerque.  I was invited and indicated interest in recent proposed codes for sedation in conjunction with third-molar extractions.

That topic made the Agenda, but the surprising one to me was “How AAMOS plays a role in Heroin addiction.”

It shouldn’t have been that surprising.  NPR recently spent a week on the increase in Heroin addition, particularly in small towns and in conjunction with returning veterans.  A movie titled, “Heaven Knows What” is stirring interest prior to its release next week. And most of this coverage concluded that Heroin addiction was the consequence of addicts being unable to afford or obtain prescription opioids.

But is that accurate?  And if so, what is the easiest, cheapest, and most productive way to make inroads into the statistic?

Through the week, NPR looked at several different scenarios:  small or mid-sized towns in the Midwest, where unemployment and dead-end job prospects cause many of the young to lose heart and hope; urban and suburban areas where small-time players in Mexican drug distribution are finding a ready market for cheap heroin and an opportunity to pilfer 501 Levi Jeans from the local Walmart to take home to family and friends; some Veteran Hospitals where medicinal opioids are routinely prescribed over time to veterans who would otherwise require intensive care for their PTSD, and the over-prescription of opioids for chronic pain control.

This last was the focus of the Oral Surgeons at the AAMOS Meeting.  Most have a protocol of preventive pain abatement, namely, prescribing pain medication before the local anesthesia used to mask pain wears off.  This is nothing new, as I used the same regime when I was acting Oral Surgeon at the New London Dental Clinic.  I removed more than 1,000 wisdom teeth in about five months and routinely prescribed a three-day dose Vicodin.  How many of my patients actually needed this dose or how many actually used the entire prescription I could not say.

I do know that the potency of the medications has increased, as have the occasions for their prescription.  Mary and I are growing older and have more surgical procedures. In her case she had shoulder surgery and was prescribed oxycodone, partially because of its time-release feature makes compliance more predictable. I had Prostate surgery, and a hip replacement both of which resulted in some heavy medication prescription.  Neither of us are inclined to take medication without cause and consequently had large amounts of medications in our medicine cabinet.

Sometime past, a relative, who happens to be a pharmacist, noted oxycodone in our medicine cabinet and asked us, “Do you know the street value of that?, which we didn’t.  Interestingly when he mentioned that we noticed that about half the prescription had gone missing.  Our best guess is that the cabinet had been raided when our son had an unsupervised party.

And that was the explanation given by the AAMOS President, when asked what happens to those extra drugs?  He said many of them end up in Pharma Parties, although Wikipedia doubts the existence of those parties

Whether or not Pharma Parties exist is less significant to me than how do we get rid of those pills without polluting our waters or seeing them appear on the streets, and I asked the question, “Why do we make recycling as difficult as we do?”

The AAMOS Executive Director said that, while some pharmacies are allowed a fee to collect and render harmless medications, most Police and Fire Departments have a free drop-off, no-questions-asked program.

That may be true in her city near Chicago, but not so in my community.  The Fire Captain reminded me that my options are: pay the pharmacy, render the medications inert or poisonous and label them as such before placing them in as trash, or passing them off to the Hazardous Waste station.

Since I believe these are all unlikely to be normal for most households, I believe there should be a program to pay for turning in unused medications, much as we have programs that pay for turning in guns. BTW, this is the only approach that is quantifiable and affordable.  I hoped that this national problem gets some national support.

My next Post will be more light-hearted.  I’m calling it “Cognitive Chimps” and I think you will find it entertaining.  I hope to have you join me.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Online Education

“Does anyone here know what MOOC means?”  This question, posed by Dr. Krishna Aravamudham of the American Dental Association as part of her presentation on the Dental Quality Alliance to the American Association of Dental Consultants, prompted me to raise my hand.

“What is it?” she said.  “It has to do with online education.” I answered.

There may have been more in the room who know the acronym for Massive Open Online Courses, but I was in the second row and have been accused of usually being the first to have a question after any presentation I hear.  In this case I was knowledgeable because I wrote a Post on Coursera and Daphne Koller after viewing a TED presentation on YouTube two years ago.  That 20-minute clip made me an evangelist.  In preparation for today’s Post, I watched a longer 55-minute she made at Columbia, where she gave startling figures about the growth of MOOCs and what we have learned about online education. You should have links to both presentations in this Post.

My two years of evangelism have convinced me that the only long-term solution to the terrible student debt crisis that we have in this country will require enhanced online learning, where as Dr. Koller says, we can either provide a similar level of education to greatly increased numbers at a much lower cost, or an advanced level of education to greatly increased numbers at a similar cost.  At every dental meeting I attend, recognition of the effect $250,000 in debt is making on graduating dentists’ career choices overwhelms any other topic.

I have a granddaughter, with great grades from a highly-ranked high school and very good SAT scores who will graduate soon.  She has applied to several colleges. .  She also is talented in the arts and has performed on several highly recognized venues.  She eventually made a decision to live at home and attend a local (also highly ranked) Community College.  She is willing to sacrifice some of the socialization of college life for the financial security of affordability.

I have a grandson, who will be in his high school senior year this fall.  He is uncertain of what he will do when he graduates, but money is bound to be a factor in his decision.  Student debt is current news.  President Obama is calling for a reduction of the interest rate on student debt.  Universities have vowed to hold the line on tuition costs.  Coursera provides more than 300 courses and services at least 3.2 million students for no fee in 231 countries.  Starbucks recently offered free college applicable courses for employees as long as they work at Starbucks with no payback”, and Arizona State University, one of the schools my granddaughter was accepted to, offers more than 70 degree programs online for about $500/credit hour with no room and board or book fees.

Listening to Dr. Koller’s longer presentation today, I was struck by the unexpected advantages to online education, if it is structured correctly:  The socialization issue is provided by the Social Networking aspect of others taking the same course as one who is working on the same lesson at the same time.  The course builds in Peer Evaluation as part of the process, even when questions are subjective. , which enlightens students to see there are multiple approaches to problem solving. Testing is designed to meet levels of Mastery beyond what can be achieved in a classroom environment.  There is expectation that, as the mix between talent and desire begins to direct who and why someone initiates a course, Mastery levels will approach the Individual level of private tutors.

My hope is that by the time my grandson graduates, a room, similarly filled with professional people as the AADC Conference, will have 100% knowing alternatives to the educational model they experienced.

NPR recently ran a series on Heroin addiction in the United States.  Perhaps surprisingly that was the subject of another dental meeting I recently attended.  In my next Post I will explain that connection.  I hope that you will join me.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Hacking Part 2



My mother would have said I got my “comeuppance”.  The ancient Greek might have felt the gods were punishing me with Hubris for predicting the future.  My peers might have smiled and said, “I got my just desserts.”  Whichever, only about five weeks after I wrote a post titled “Hackers” and drew the conclusion that privacy was an acceptable trade-off for data accessibility, I found my primary bank account raided for almost $15,000 in a two day period.

You might find the story interesting and perhaps enlightening.

On April 3rd I was about to deposit a sizeble check into the Navy Federal Credit Union account I have held for more than forty years.  Although NFCU has kept current with security measures, as evidenced that I have a random access account number that bears no relationship to any other personal information I have, financial or otherwise, and that NFCU remains one of the few institutions that does not download into my Quicken account on a real-time basis, I have not kept abreast of their concerns.  My password was not only “weak”, it also was one I used on several other sites and my mother’s maiden name and favorite pet were pieces of information that someone might find in the public domain.

I was to discover that my attitude was at best sophomoric and at worst, and there was a worst, dangerous.
When I went online to see which of the five linked accounts I wanted to deposit my check (really there are only two legitimate accounts, exclusion Mary’s, my checking or my savings, with the choice being how soon I would need to write a check against the balance.  At the time, I had several large checks either outstanding or imminent, and so I expected to deposit my check into checking.

My checking balance was not the $6000 I expected, but was less than $100.

There was history of about five transfers in my account: two from one account to another and three from my account to another NFCU member, whom I did not know.  $4,900 had been moved out of my account on April 1, and another $10,000, in two increments, was transferred on April 2nd.  Mary’s account was virtually depleted as were both my checking and savings.

How did that happen?

When the Fraud investigation at NFCO traced the NFCU transfer they discovered a common scam.  That NFCO member had probably been contacted by a Nigerian “businessman”, who told of the frustration his company has because of US money-laundering legislation.  He was probably offered $200 if he would exchange funds placed in his NFCU account for a money order, which he could buy at Walmart and send it to Nigeria.

Indeed, when NFCU looked into the account my funds were transferred to, they found the owner had sent the majority of the money as requested and still had $155 left, which NFCU seized.

Thankfully, since Credit Unions are now included under Federal Reserve FDIC protection, I received the entire $14,900 back into my account and was able to redistribute it so Mary retrieved all of her funds.
Of more interest is why was I targeted and how did the Nigerians get access to my account?

You may have read or heard recently that Anthem Health compromised some 80 million pieces of Personal Health Information.  While they do not believe that any financial information was compromised, it is hard to ignore that when I worked for WellPoint (purchased by Anthem) my checks were Direct Deposited into that very same account.  Both NFCU and I believe that was how access was obtained.  The company hired by Anthem to assist hacked members has been less than responsive but I am hopeful that I will recover incidental expenses incurred as the result of the event, such as $300+ for new checks, and interest on a few accounts where checks on the closed account were returned.

Which brings to mind the other issues from the incident:

·         I have Direct Deposit of both my military retired pay and Social Security for Mary and me.  Thankfully, because the event occurred at the first of the month I was able to get all three changed to the new account without delay.

·         Most of the checks that were returned forgave any penalties with a copy of the letter NFCU Fraud Unit provided.  This included four personal recipients and several credit cards.

·         I was able to write checks to both the IRS and the California Franchise Tax Board for estimated 2015 taxes before the April 154th deadline.  While we haven’t completed forgiveness of my returned checks, I have some optimism that I was be exonerated.

·         The Fraud Unit helped me improve the security on my new account, letting me choose a unique, strong password and teaching me to lie about my personal hints so outsiders will not be able to answer them. As an example, “What was your first school?  Answer: “Strawberry”.
 
I have not subscribed to a password vault yet, nor have I really changed m y thought that the Millennials treasure data convenience enough so they will risk an occasional hack, as long as they are protected from catastrophic loss.  I wonder how long it will be before I pull a ten dollar bill from my pocket and some youngster will ask, “What is that?”  My local supermarket says about 15% or customers now use Apple Money, and more are doing so every day.

In my next Post I intend to revisit a topic I wrote about two years ago or so:  online college.  I have grandchildren now who are affected, and I hope you will join me.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Epic and axiUm

One of the lesser known aspects of the Affordable Care Act, yet one that is absolutely necessary to meet the “Affordable” aspect of the Act, is the Electronic Health Record or EHR.  After a Congressional delay of more than a year, it is slated to become mandatory for all claims transactions in mid-October.

Will it happen?  I have my doubts, and they stem from more than fifteen years history with the issue.

The key to the EHR and to any electronic data interchange (EDI) is the general acceptance of standards.  In the healthcare industry the standard format is set as ASNA ASC X12 by a committee that includes all interested stakeholders in the process.  Reporting of data uses standard sets for health procedures (CPT for medical and CDT for dental), diagnostic grouping for why procedures might be performed (soon to be ICD-10 for medical and dental and SNODENT for dental).  Although there are now accepted standards for reporting authorization, claims, and payment electronically, there is no standard software at the operational level.

A huge number of the dental schools, including the University of Tennessee, which I recently toured, use a system called axiUm, a Practice Management software that has capability to measure the quality of outcomes and assist in defining the effectiveness of treatment choices.  However, most of the schools do not use this capability and graduating students have no compatible Practice Management software to use at the dental practice level.

Similarly, there are ongoing measures to standardize medical data interchange.  My daughter-in-law is in training to be a certified Epic trainer, a choice she rightly feels will allow her to capitalize on opportunities as the HER rolls out.  Epic has the advantage of having developed a system for use by patients as well as physicians and claims staff. 

When I was the National Dental Director for WellPoint, the Blue Cross of California branch attempted to reduce medical accidents by offering any physician in California, BCC contracted of not, a free computer tied to a server that would allow review of any and all prescriptions a patient might be on.  We had only about a 35% acceptance rate.

Current literature indicates similar lack of embracement of the HER by physicians today, some of whom feel it is intrusion in to their practice and others, that it is just one more time-consuming step that detracts from patient care.  From a patient standpoint, my first-hand experience in attempting to retrieve my blood studies electronically has run into compatibility problems from my email service and privacy issues from the intermediary between my physician and myself.

I was taken aback at a recent medical presentation in Sacramento where I was told that Epic and axiUm were unable to communicate between themselves; this, in spite of the fact that the X12 claim record will include both medical and dental codes.  I was told that the federal government intentionally chose not to endorse a standard as it would be considered federal endorsement of a private company.

I find this hard to support when I see how the Centers of Medicare and Medic aid Services contract across the public sector; contracting with physicians, hospitals and medical device companies, setting goals and incentives for efficiencies, and demanding common use of codes, diagnoses and results.

I am hopeful that eventually reason will prevail and there will be better interchange of information and standardization.  If so, the ultimate winner will be the patient and healthcare costs will be based on improvement rather than on fee-for-service.

For many of us, time catches up with us, forcing us to retract, support, or at the least rethink a position we have put into print.  In my next post I will share my recent experience in such a case: in my case, my position on data security.  I think you will find it interesting and perhaps enlightening.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Co-related Exclusions

If you are like me, you have probably never read the entire policy on any of your various insurances, excepting language on limits, minimum deductibles, co-payments for health visits and perhaps the premium.  As a matter of fact, inspired by this Post, I just cleared out my insurance folder and got rid of policies older than 2013 (and there were several).


Perhaps that is why I was intrigued by a recent feature that discussed a little known exclusion on most policies called: Co-related Exclusions.

Essentially it describes why an event that would normally be a covered casualty is excluded if it happens to more people at once than the actuaries expected in their calculations for risk.  An example would be a policy that has coverage for water damage, but excludes flood damage if your residence is one of several that were flooded during a hurricane.  Or if your house was one of several damaged in a forest fire.  Or if your residence in Syria, Gaza or even Israel was included in damage resulting from a conflict.

Not that you could not buy coverage for these occurrences, it’s just that that coverage would result in an additional premium.  In California I have to opt in or out of earthquake coverage every year, but am included with all insured drivers in the state for a premium to cover damage caused by uninsured motorists, a requirement by the state.  The risk from this latter coverage is spread across so many policyholders

Modern insurance can trace its origins to the Great Fire of London in 1666, which destroyed 15,000 homes.  It became apparent that such a societal catastrophic loss was more than any individual could bear, and ass the city rebuilt, there arose a commercial solution for individual loss.  Through time there are seven basic tenets for insurability, one of which is: limited risk of catastrophically large losses.  In London, that meant that any future reoccurrence of such a fire would be excluded from individual coverage and would be borne by the government.

In the United States that has been the case where flooding is the result of a natural disaster or wind damage from hurricanes.  Since 1978 the Federal Emergency Management Agency has coordinated relief in instances where the resources required exceed the state government’s capacity.  Although sometimes criticized, it is hard to see how a better solution could be made.

One of the major criticisms of federal support for natural catastrophes is that some states seem to have them more frequently than others.  Although California has few earthquakes of relevance, Montana has even fewer, and both states are prone to devastating fires.

There is some correlation between FEMA and dental insurance.

Dental insurance is not really insurance as much as it is a discount service.  Although actuaries do base premium on frequency and cost of service, the population needs are less a factor in establishing premiums that are Exclusions and Limitations of the policy.  Dental insurance did not exist prior to the labor shortage following WWII.  In an effort to control inflation, the federal government allowed employers to offer benefits, such as health (including dental) as incentives to work for their company.  Gradually, the benefit packages have morphed until dental is now greatly funded by the individual, and limitations have expanded to keep the premiums affordable.

For instance, it is estimated that more than ¾ of the adult population has active periodontal disease, but limitations limit this risk by more than half, either by frequency (no more than two cleanings a year) or by cost of the patient’s share.  There is no medical counterpart to these limitations and exclusions.  If you have coverage for a broken bone, you have coverage for a broken bone.

We are beginning to see complications from the Affordable Care Act, where on the Essential Health Benefit of Children’s Dental Health we have an annual maximum allowable cost to the patient and no allowable exclusions.  The actuaries are finding it difficult to transition from traditional coverage to the new format and keep premiums affordable.  There are huge differences from state to state on what are the covered benefits.  The differences can be explained as each state dealing with what should be allowed as Co-related coverage exclusions.  If the patient wants m ore coverage, they should pay more premium.

This is unlikely to happen.

My next Post will continue with health.  I’ll explain why you should be familiar with the words EPIC and Axiom, and what effect they may have on you in the near future.  I hope to see you then.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Hackers

My usual pattern for writing a Post on my Blog is to find something that catches my interest; an article or a news story, and spend a few days researching the topic before setting it down in print.  I then will decide what to next write about, and will mention that to keep me on track for Post frequency of almost every week.

My topic for this Post went awry, with several ongoing stories causing my research to jump track.  My interest started with the Sony hacking, and research began with how the term Hacker had morphed from one of respect to one of derision.  But before I could develop that, the first jump from the tracks was concern about the Target leak, quickly followed by my old company Anthem, which faces possible penalties for compromising 78 million of its members.  Then, almost before I could adjust the article, President Obama called a summit with a proposed agenda to get some international agreement of data control.
I was getting distracted.  So I changed tack.

What was the conclusion I thought, to all this concern?  Was there some system, such as a vault for your passwords, that would make your data secure?  Were there sites that were verboten from visiting if you wanted to keep your data from being compromised?  Would camouflage suffice?  Hillary might have thought so, avoiding the “secure” Government server for her personal email server.

I began to look at what data I had that might be compromised to my financial or personal disadvantage.

Very little of a medical nature, with the single exception that I have a Living Trust that has a DNR clause, which I carefully hide on my medical record before I have any surgery that will be done without me being conscious.  Although I have some medical conditions, one for which I am being currently treated, I am not private about the conditions nor the possible outcomes of treatment.

I have more financial ones that I can enumerate, including checking and savings at several banks and credit unions.  My investments are, for the most part, in the hands of activities like Ameritrade or e-trade.  Similarly, are the stocks and bonds of my portfolio.  Rightly or wrongly, I rely on the security these entities provide, and probably am not as concerned about changing my passwords as I should be.
 
I have friends who have suffered the emotional and financial loss from identity theft, but I have been spared that tragedy.

The truth is, I am hardly suspicious about giving my credit card to an unshaved restaurant server, or ordering from Amazon.  I carry few credit cards, but those I carry are in my wallet, which on occasion I have left somewhere.  I have received half a dozen calls from card companies alerting me to suspicious purchases, almost all of which were legitimate.  I have replaced cards which were lost.  Mary had a card stolen from a restaurant and before we could stop it, there were $2,000 in charges, almost all of which were gift cards.  These charges were all forgiven.  I left a phone in a hotel and before I could stop activity there were several hundred dollars in calls, mostly to Columbia. Again, all were removed from my bill.

But none of those occurrences were financially catastrophic, and almost all of the major loss was absorbed by someone else.

Not to say there isn’t a cost.  The companies that pay for those thefts pass the cost on to us consumers as charges, premiums, or additions to their profit margins on goods and services.

But isn’t that what we have come to accept for shoplifting?  Few if any of us pause to breakout what portions of the sales price include goods that were stolen, damaged in shipment or returned in an unsalable state.

I think this will be the mindset of the Millennials regarding data.  Access to data has already reached a point where mobile phones now price service by data accessibility rather than minutes.  The Cloud has made storage and retrieval of data ubiquitous.  Movies on my iPad are longer stored on my iPad.  And, if someone figures out how to watch the movie I paid for, it is less my problem than iTunes.

So, my conclusion is that data security will be less a problem than it was.  Public demand will move even government security more to the field of public access, as we saw with GPS satellites, most of which were owned by the government at that time.

The Libertarian streaks in my personality think that is not all bad.

My next Post, which I hope will come in about a week, will explain an insurance term that is seldom of concern: Co-related Exclusions and how that fits into Dental Insurance.  I hope you will join me.