Veterans Affairs just announced a partnership with an AI subsidiary of Google called DeepMind, a UK company, to mine electronic health records of veterans to develop a soon to be profitable app called Streams.

Google subsidiary DeepMind will be allowed to analyze 700,000 depersonalized electronic health records belonging to veterans. There is no mention of whether VA will ensure Google does not specifically access the records in addition to DeepMind.

Google bought the AI company for $660 million in 2014. Tesla founder Elon Musk, an outspoken critic of AI dangers, was an investor in the firm to keep tabs on the progress of AI and what to be aware of regarding its dangers.

The AI firm presently costs Google more than it earns in revenue, but it recently passed a massive milestone. The company created an AI system that learned how to beat human competitors at a board game without human interaction or existing datasets. The system used “reinforcement learning” to achieve the feat to become the best Go game player in the world.

For its next trick, Google plans to use DeepMind to solve health care problems and make a lot of money doing it. But do we want AI using our electronic health records, even if they are scrubbed of all personal protected information?

IBM says its Watson AI (VA uses this AI, too) will help find the best treatments for cancer (notice its look for treatments and not cures). Human Longevity Inc wants to customize treatments based on each person’s DNA.

Google owns medical device software company Verily and lifespan extension company Calico. Its DeepMind is presently involved in health care related to the eye and kidneys, and that will likely expand now that they have access to veterans health records, too.

With all these fantastic sounding initiatives, one very curious omission from the VA press release deal with DeepMind that jumped out at me.

Nowhere did I see VA inform veterans and the public that DeepMind is owned by Google (i.e. its holding company Alphabet, Inc).

Why would Secretary Shulkin omit that tiny detail?

How DeepMind Will Use Our Data, Per VA

The goal, at least according to VA, is to analyze the data for patterns that will help artificial intelligence pinpoint risk factors for patient deterioration.

The company first plans to tackle Acute Kidney Injury (AKI), a condition where a person’s kidneys stop working as well as they should. This is the same research DeepMind has worked on in the UK for the past few years in creation of its app called Streams.

AKI can be fatal if unaddressed. DeepMind plans to use algorithms to detect AKI early and relate that data to clinicians using its app.

The Streams app has massive market potential once the concept if proven, meaning Google will profit handsomely from veteran electronic health record data.

This is likely the same or similar kind of research relationship struck between VA and Flow Health that I exposed in throughout the beginning of 2017. That company’s stated arrangement did not pass the smell test, and VA quickly pulled out of the research relationship citing it was illegal.

RELATED: Russia Linked AI Company Almost Got MVP Genomic Data

As you may recall, the founder of Flow Health, Alex Meshkin, previously made the “Hall Of Shame” for NASCAR owners and was connected to repeat start-up failures prior to founding Flow Health. He founded companies “Nutz” and “Bang!” (I am not kidding) that were later sued by investors.

For whatever reason, VA thought it would hand over access to our health records to that guy until I exposed it for possible legal violations. I asked for its documents and written communications to include a contract but the agency said it lacked such documents.

RELATED: VA Admits Lack Of Due Diligence In Flow Health Deal

Imagine that. VA was minutes away from handing over veteran health data to a Russian linked company without conducting standard due diligence reviews.

Flow Health later hired a lobbying company ran by Corey Lewandowski for $50,000 to get its contract back, but the deal was not successful.

Now, DeepMind looks to do the same thing, at least as far as accessing veterans’ health data, but with deeper funding from Google. The similarities between these AI companies and how they (mis)treat privacy concerns related to private health data is disappointing but not surprising. And, the deal with VA seems similar to the illegal deal the Google company struck in UK prior to being investigated.

After being called out for its illegal deal, DeepMind quickly acknowledged the issue and pressed on with its research announcing it would do the research at a different hospital. While the new deal does not have the same legal questions as the old, it received scrutiny by BBC News for not allowing patients to opt out from data sharing.

Sound familiar and perhaps why VA is fighting against veterans receiving health care from Veterans Choice? By forcing all disabled veterans into one centralized database, it increases the value of the dataset for AI companies like DeepMind.

In the UK, at least, DeepMind had to promise Google (or its parent company Alphabet) would not have access to any medical information.

But how much of your medical data will Google be allowed to review in its deal with VA? How easy might it be to unify veteran datasets from our health records to public individuals using data with private personal information?

Imagine what Google might do with your health data when combined with its products, services, and advertising?

Big Bucks In Your Electronic Health Records

DeepMind recently received pushback over its deal in UK with Royal Free once it became known that its research and serves while gathering valuable data was not entirely free or benevolent.

A DeepMind spokesperson said: “Streams is an entirely new clinical app, and we don’t believe it’s right to charge the NHS anything other than modest service fees until it shows sustained impact and value.” DeepMind and the Royal Free have not established what the service fees would be if the Royal Free were to cross the £15,000 threshold.

“One side of this is the consistently obfuscated point about why DeepMind has needed every single Royal Free patient’s data, and how this has informed the app it is now starting to distribute around the country,” said Dr. Julia Powles, a legal academic. “But the other is about value for data — ensuring that we’re not allowing a private company patroned by Google to build networks of knowledge about health and disease in a way that will end up with long-term costs.”

“Once the sustained benefits of Streams are proven then we’ll aim to charge future partners fees in line with current IT supplier market rates, ideally tying some of these fees to the practical impact we can have on patients, clinicians and the hospitals we serve,” a DeepMind spokesperson said.

Now, the deal with VA may or may not be free, but the UK deal was not free. And, Google stands to profit handsomely from access to our data and the data of patients in the UK.

Why is it these companies can make a mint off our data that was gathered using taxpayer dollars rather than VA charging Google a royalty fee to help fund the agency?

How does that make your Wheaties taste this morning?

Illegal Google – DeepMind Deal In UK, Streams App

Google’s DeepMind has a similar partnership in the UK with the National Health Service where the agency allowed the Google company to secretly access and make use of data.

While a Google spokesperson said the endeavor what public on its own website, it left a stain on its reputation, and the reputation of all AI companies, when it comes to accessing health care records and how that data will be analyzed, repackaged and then sold.

As you may recall from Flow Health, Meshkin boasted of the value the data would be once Flow Health analyzed it and then kept it as its own proprietary datasets for resale to the highest bidder.

That is your data, owned by you, and housed in a system funded by taxpayer dollars. Is it right to allow free access to companies like Google without the company cutting a huge check back to the agency to help fund its own projects?

Google bought the AI firm DeepMind in 2014 and struck a deal with the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust in 2015. That deal would allow Google to access a wide range of health information from the records of 1.6 million patients.

The deal was inked to help DeepMind create an application called Streams. The point of the program was to help monitor patients with kidney disease, and likely other conditions down the road, too. Streams would alert clinicians about patient deterioration.

However, as mentioned above, a report from New Scientist revealed Google company would also get access to other health information such as whether a patient has HIV or specific details of drug overdoes. A probe by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office found the deal “failed to comply with data protection law.”

“Our investigation found a number of shortcomings in the way patient records were shared for this trial. Patients would not have reasonably expected their information to have been used in this way, and the Trust could and should have been far more transparent with patients as to what was happening,” Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in a statement.

“We’ve asked the Trust to commit to making changes that will address those shortcomings, and their co-operation is welcome. The Data Protection Act is not a barrier to innovation, but it does need to be considered wherever people’s data is being used.”

The ICO was primarily concerned that patients were not informed about how their data was to be used.

“The processing of patient records by DeepMind significantly differs from what data subjects might reasonably have expected to happen to their data when presenting at the Royal Free for treatment,” the ICO’s letter to the Trust said.

“For example, a patient presenting at accident and emergency within the last five years to receive treatment or a person who engages with radiology services and who has had little or no prior engagement with the Trust would not reasonably expect their data to be accessible to a third party for the testing of a new mobile application, however positive the aims of that application may be.”

Any ideas what other data Google seeks from our health records and how much money they plan to make from the technology it allows them to create?

Privacy Concerns And Google AI Steams App Deal

In its press release, VA failed to acknowledge the illegal deal in UK.

It also failed to mention DeepMind is not an American company – though it did mention its work in the UK.

It did not mention the Streams app the company is working on for a profit motive using our data for that purpose.

Nor did the press release mention whether Google would have access to the information or where that information might be stored (e.g. not in the United States?).

Heck, it made no mention DeepMind is owned by Google (e.g. Alphabet, Inc.).

If Google owns DeepMind, and DeepMind can make an AI program that wins games without human instruction, then does it seem too far-fetched to think DeepMind can reverse engineer data that is scrubbed of health data and connect the dots between a human profile and data void of identifiable information? Can we trust a Google-owned AI company with our data? Or should we?

RELATED: Artificial Intelligence Data Privacy Issues On The Rise

After all, Google’s own attorneys express concerns and challenges AI poses because it is constantly learning new ways to re-identify data. Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel was cited by Bloomberg confirming AI’s inherent problems in that these machines are finding “ways to re-identify data.”

What may seem innocuous today, such as data with removed identifiers by today’s standards may not be protected using tomorrows standards with advancements in that same AI. The impact may be broad across various industries. “Humans teaching machines to learn” was a “revolution in the making” that may have broad societal consequences that could cut across numerous economic sectors, Fleischer said.

An example Fleischer provided was the ability to analyze the exact data VA is about to hand over to the Google-owned company. In that context, machines that learn would act “like a chef: see the ingredients and comes up with something new,” he said.

In the same article, New Zealand privacy commissioner John Edwards highlighted that preventative steps we take today to limit privacy exposures will likely not be sufficient tomorrow as these same machines come up with new algorithms and systems to synthesize and identify connections between datasets previously not contemplated by the developers of the software.

Machines may make decisions based on an algorithm that is “not known and is in fact unknowable by the designer or user of the application,” would pose particular problems of “responsibility or accountability for automated decision making,” Edwards said.

The “de-personalized health records” VA is about to hand over may not be “de-personalized” tomorrow in the manner necessary to keep those records from being connected to the person to whom they really belong.

Yes, VA mentioned none of that.

VA Press Release

VA instead highlighted the company’s accolades. “DeepMind is the world leader in artificial intelligence research. It has already partnered with leading hospitals in the United Kingdom to apply its innovative machine-learning algorithms to research projects looking at eye disease, head and neck cancer, and mammography.“

“This project has great potential intelligently to detect and prevent deterioration before patients show serious signs of illness,” DeepMind cofounder Mustafa Suleyman said in a statement. “Speed is vital when a patient is deteriorating: The sooner the right information reaches the right clinician, the sooner the patient can be given the right care.”

VA Secretary David Shulkin agreed. “Clinicians need to be able to identify risks to help prevent disease,” he noted, according to a news release. “This collaboration is an opportunity to advance the quality of care for our nation’s veterans by predicting deterioration and applying interventions early.”

Why Give Away Our Date?

It is also an opportunity for Google, and massive marketing company, to get more familiar with the finer details of your prostate exam while also making money on the backs of veterans using taxpayer-funded resources without charge.

And let’s not forget Google makes use of the “Dutch Sandwich” to avoid paying taxes by moving its holdings around the world using elaborate cost savings measures.

Should VA allow companies that avoid paying taxes profit off our data?

I guess we can expect little more since we also know VA paid Google for advertising in competition against private sector companies until I busted them in November 2017.

RELATED: VA Shuts Off Google Adwords After Getting Busted

The shame knows no limits.

Source: https://venturebeat.com/2018/02/22/googles-deepmind-wants-ai-to-spot-kidney-injuries/

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59 COMMENTS

  1. Hey, so I made a few updates to the website over the weekend. The comment section stopped working properly as a result so I reverted to an older platform to allow readers to comment while I figure it out. Let me know if you find anything on the site that does not work or is slow.

    • I don’t see the option to sign up with our email to receive posts following the articles without the need to make a post at the time.

      I need more coffee and walking off cramps. Glad to see this issue here. Been reading quite a bit what these fools and Google are doing.

  2. This can also be a treasonous act, this data can be utilized by our enemies to determine things such as:
    How many men we have to defend this country and their ages.
    Highest concentration and location of military men in country can be targets.
    This data would not be secure and sold to the highest bidder, even our enemies.

    I DO NOT FUCKING CONSENT YOU FUCKING TREASONOUS ASSHOLES AT THE VA….

    • Nothing is secure any longer, nothing.
      My Healthy E-vet gaaaarrrrrr onnn teeeed secure messaging was totally scrubbed to protect some scum and corruption.

      I have gone to city meetings in the past, parking lot after, and at times out in the public like shopping to have some stranger pop-up in-store or parking lot and question me about my reasons for having a disabled tag. Or mention in a coy condescending voice that they know what my disabilities are. And at times at meetings have some activist, lawyer’s son, etc., ask me how this condition is doing, or is that “condition still bothering ya buddy,” or some such trash. Then those close by saying they never seen or heard a thing then walk off chuckling with their corrupt party affiliated trash and politicians here. More like them wanting me to lose my cool or give them a reason to call in their cop buddies for some action. That is how it’s played here. Pure activist tactics from the left. Then they want to pass ordinances forbidding recording here. That is one reason why and how I ceased a bunch of such crap fast.

      I have also been made aware that the city admin and others have info from my DD-214 that could only come from the local legions. We were told to turn in copies to join the local herd due to non-vets voting the corrupt into VSO offices or heads of a legion that was ripping people off. While when I contacted the state and national Legion heads was told to “never turn that info over to anyone to join a Legion post. And that any issues we were having locally were local issues and to deal with local corruption on our own, or to vote it out. Which was hard to do when you have city, county, officials, attorneys, activist, cliques, family members, all others, coming in to vote to keep their personality figures as President or high official. Another reason why I quit one legion years back, and then mistakenly joined another that flat out refuses to get involved in some of our issues, or chronic corrupt local issues we may have.

      They also have easy access to our financial records. When you get into a heated conversation with some of those freaks, politicians, or some attorney then they blurt out the amount you may have in the bank at the time and “can not afford our services” or some such crap…. they know. There again denying they ever made such a comment, or making fun of some poor old bastard trying to fight city hall and the state’s billionaires or corrupt networks. I dealt with this specific crap too back in the seventies, and again clear up to 2015, so things don’t change for the good. The corrupt just more sneaky, play super spies, and break any damn law on the books out there they desire.

      So it was made clear to me many years back there in no such thing in Indiana as “privacy” or security. Information is big business and the shit at the top can get all the info they want on their perceived enemies. From companies, unions, VSOs, activist, wealthy cliques, the insiders, doesn’t matter the label. We are the peasants/serfs. They are above the laws, we are not in the slightest. Just like at the local activist hospital here there are activist scum of all kinds working in every joint out there and has access to anything they want, any kind of information they want. And there is not one damn thing we can do about it.

      Just got off the phone with the phone company too. Seems all these phone calls aside from the activist phone calls and threats, are pandemic across the country, and some been busted for phone scams in foreign countries like India, I think is one he mentioned, and Mexico. Medical scams, Med services, Insurance crap, Credit card stuff, etc. They reported ‘do not call list’ doesn’t cover much of them and cannot be stopped. Like “spoofing” can’t be stopped. They can track us like dogs, know what we do and say, but they can’t stop idiots, harassment, threats, telemarketers, scamming peoples info from cell phones especially when people call them back or from daily calls. Then we think anything is going to change the VA or this huge corporation of a government we have that is more concerned with foreign affairs and making war than cleaning up America.

      Before mentioning it one person I talked to broke in and asked me. “You’re dealing with some unions then, correct since you mentioned calls from health care staff and problems with the VA?” I said ‘you got it.’ They said ‘that is also very common nuisance calls, that and politics.’ Then informed the corrupt have ways, equipment/technology, of totally getting away with their antics unless the law is called in and they won’t in low level cases. If at all. You have to be special I suppose. Nothing in this new America is secure, safe, private, sacred. Nothing. Easily proven by some contracts we are supposed to sign for health care to special Life Support if using like CPAP to put us high on a repair list to put service back on as fast as possible. It’s supposed to help us or be for us. Ha. It releases all our info to God knows who and they say to sign the papers or lose it. I lost it. I gave it up and told them why. No attorney would sign such a damn unlimited contract or all revealing thing to whomever.

  3. There are plenty of qualified developers within the US that are not working that can develop such a program. The programming is about being able to take all data about health issue’s and having them entered into a database. Then setting the perimeters to such keyword’s that would identify them so doctors can have alert’s and be informed of possible indications of problems.
    We are in a age and time where health information is being shared by doctors to work together to help identify possible health issue’s early. I am for developing a database that does identify possible health problems early on, but not by developers outside the US or connected to anyone outside the US.
    Think about it for a little bit before just downing the idea of your health information being shared, and the advantages of it. One thing that does come to mind is the claim process would benefit as certain disabilities can be identified before you even file for them. A database only identifies or is able to pickup on certain keywords. A database is the same as what you use to help with your claim when you need other examples that support your claim.
    We all use Google search to find information about particular cases that like ours to support our evidence in a claim. And adding a database identifies possible health issue’s early on so we can be treated before the incompetent personnel of the VA let us die.
    Like I said in the beginning, this type work should not be contracted out to a company that has ties outside of the US.
    Hell we have overly qualified Veterans that are unemployed that have the knowledge to build such a database. Why the Hell should the VA spend taxpayers dollars to have a database developed while Veterans go hungry and don’t have the healthcare we need. All they going do is run out of funding before it is developed and go back to Congress asking for more money.
    Hire a Veteran..

    • Sorry,,,disagree w/u ,”I’m all for data mining about medical issues,” ,,Here in America ,,we use to have something called ,”HIPPA,” LAWS,,, because what this data mining has done sooo far,,,is killed people,,,,The way its killed people is humans who know nothing about medicine,are practicing medicine w/out proper licence,have falsely labeled any medically ill person by the MEDICINES they take.,,”addicts,” or new words like opiate use user,” when the truth,reality is their legs they no longer have from defending this country physically still hurt,,or any injury from defending the very freedoms,,”data mining,” is taking away,,, AS THE 1ST COIN IN America STATED,,,”MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS,,,,medical issues need to remain private,,for the potential for false labels ,abuse of power,, is wayyyy to great and has proven to be fact,,,they will/have abused their authority and power onto us,,”they” being the federal government,,,,,maryw

    • Dude, your missing the whole point, “it’s a trust issue.” If I don’t trust the VA with my healthcare now, do you think that I’m going to trust these ass-wipes with my health and personal information?

      And, lets say that the database is a success. Do you think the VA is outright going to give Veterans access to such information to file successful claims. This is awkward and strange. What is the VA doing now to make the claims process run smoothly?

      • @ANutterVet do you see anywhere where I stated that i trusted the VA with a Dam thing? Hell i wouldn’t even trust them to feed and water my “Pet Rock”.

      • ANutterVet,

        I agree with you. Do you know the VA is currently noncompliant with HIPAA and Privacy laws now? Yes, in fact they are and several privacy officers informed me of this information which was uncovered when I was dealing with a social worker who called my spouse and informed him of something. When he got off the phone he told me what she said and I immediately knew either she spoke to my psychologist or she accessed my psychotherapy notes. She informed us she accessed my psychotherapy notes and read them. She told us she doesn’t need my written authorization because the social worker director told her she didn’t need it.

        Currently this is how VA is handling our medical record, mental health record and our psychotherapy notes (session notes from patient and mental health provider) which the VA hasn’t told us about or the consequences. VA has taken our medical record, mental health record and psychotherapy notes and integrated them into one electronic medical record and classified it as open to allow all VA employees nationwide, DoD and other entities access. NO oversight what so ever, no protection from unauthorized access, no monitoring, no tracking, no minimum necessary, no separation and protection of psychotherapy notes, etc. My privacy officers refused my request to separate my psychotherapy notes from my medical records and to declassify my integrated electronic medical record to comply with HIPAA and Privacy laws. She was only allowed to mark my integrated electronic medical record as sensitive for tracking purposes only. The VA automatically marks VA employees records as sensitive but Veterans have to ask but they don’t even know how their records are being managed much less to ask for them to be marked sensitive.

        Upon learning of this information, I immediately stopped my weekly counseling sessions, mental health treatment, medicine management and medical treatment. I have other health insurance so I don’t have to go to the VA but due to their actions it has prevented me from seeking it from the public sector as well. The social workers have used information from my psychotherapy notes to put in their rebuttals to my complaints. My only option was to file a complaint with the VA Privacy Officers and with HHS. It’s been 6 months and no resolution but I was finally contacted by HHS on one of the social workers for additional information so I’m waiting on the findings.

        Spread the word because this isn’t right and will cause tremendous amount of emotional and mental health harm causing Veterans like me in not seeking treatment. My VA also has a big problem of cc’ing everyone on my records when I was receiving treatment to providers I’ve never spoken to or ever meet. We have no rights at the VA – none.

        The VA is already sharing our entire integrated electronic medical record which include the psychotherapy notes with DoD and other entities. Why is the DoD needing access to my records as a Veteran? Why is other entities which I haven’t been able to find out who they are but show up on my tracking report have access?

        I’m against electronic health records and sharing our data because it has personally affected me with severe consequences.

        Please spread the word to inform Veterans how the VA is currently managing their records.

      • @Albert – No you didn’t say that you trusted the VA. but your what you wrote CLEARLY implies trust,

        “I am for developing a database that does identify possible health problems early on, but not by developers outside the US or connected to anyone outside the US.
        Think about it for a little bit before just downing the idea of your health information being shared, and the advantages of it. One thing that does come to mind is the claim process would benefit as certain disabilities can be identified before you even file for them. A database only identifies or is able to pickup on certain keywords. A database is the same as what you use to help with your claim when you need other examples that support your claim.”

        No offense Albert, but I was just making sure that you didn’t give the VA what they want, “TRUST,” cause they’d step all over it. Just looking out for another Brother. Stick around, there’s a lot going on.

    • Albert, I understand what your saying, but when has the VA ever done anything good?
      This is not about helping Veterans, it’s about selling our data pure and simple. This asshole Shill-kin has tired to do this before with a Russian Con artists, who planned on turning around and selling the data to the highest bidder.

      If this programming can “learn”, then it wouldn’t take much for a talented programmer like yourself, to have it “learn” our data such as I posted above, and other pertinent information to be used for evil purposes and not for the good of anyone.

      There is far to much data mining going on as it is, this practice needs to end. Like human cloning, there needs to be laws enacted, to put an end to all this. One day, and don’t shrug it off as some conspiracy BS, every move you make, everything you do, anyone you talk to, every step you take will be recorded. Stop this BS in it’s tracks now.

      I would rather die from a preventable disease today, then to willingly give up future generations freedom, “in the name of progress”, do you not see this as the beginning of complete control?

      How free do you want to live, and how much of future generations freedoms are you willing to give away? Some things are worth dieing for, “FREEDOM” is one of these things. We have a duty as a free people, to end anything that can be misused, to chip away at any of our freedoms the instant it rears it’s ugly head.

      Your a talented programmer Albert, develop an app that can sniff this freedom ending BS out, before it ever comes to light, along with who stands to financially benefit from it.

      If your unemployed and can program in C, then MQL4, MQL5,NT7, NT8, and cAlgo, shouldn’t be too hard for you to make a jump, I can send you strategies you can write programs for, and you can sell them on the open market. You can use the proceeds to further the health of Veterans, now that is the kind of data mining I can live with.

      • @cj I understand your point of view. I am not saying that any personal information should be released. The only information is health conditions and age. No where would I ever want my name and personal information included in any data. That is where it crosses the line and becomes unacceptable.

        Semper Fi

      • I total agree with cj. Unfortunately to some degree they have already infringed on our rights and removed our rights for justice by allowing another federal agency to decide if they will prosecute or take corrective action on another federal agency. One of the sad issues is, our mail inside our unsecure mail box is more secure and protected than our medical records and psychotherapy notes.

        VA does things and calls in ‘providing the best possible care’ instead of calling it for what it is ‘privacy infringement’. We have no rights with any decisions over our treatment or privacy when it involves the VA. They are already sharing our information that’s not complaint with HIPAA and Privacy laws which Veterans are completely unaware of this.

        We, as American citizens and as Veterans, should have a right to decide on how our information is shared. Most don’t understand the consequences as they haven’t been touched by it yet. I was in that same boat drinking the same kool aid until it affected me personally which has caused me to not seek treatment at VA or with civilian doctors because of the shame, embarrassment, humiliation, fear, distrust, etc. knowing anyone can access my entire VA medical and mental health information without any oversight or obtaining a written authorization that VA has allowed access to. Your records aren’t tracked unless you provide a written request to your local privacy officer to mark your integrated electronic medical record sensitive for tracking purposes. Wait a month or two then ask your privacy officer to provide you with a SPAR report. This report will show you who has accessed your records and since VA has decided to violate HIPAA and Privacy laws by including your psychotherapy notes which requires a written authorization from the patient according to these laws is in violation. This doesn’t provide the best possible care to Veterans, it destroys us. Individuals will die protecting the parts of their lives they don’t want disclosed which our country should know that protecting our information is the most important thing to us. We should have a right to decide how our information is used and by whom. We should always have to provide our written consent to what is disclosed and to whom it is disclosed.

        Technology and not protecting our information is going to wreck havoc to our society and cause a collapse. It’s already happening but we aren’t paying enough attention to prevent it. Our rights are being stripped away every year and yet we don’t do anything to prevent it. As the old saying goes, “Knowledge is Power!”

    • Ironic that they can’t look at/acknowledge obvious compilations from AO, as an example, so they need to mine our data to create an elaborate algorithm to do so?
      Yup, that should stall even more claims, because it doesn’t fall within the prescribed perameters.
      I DON’T consent, regardless..

    • Albert, I don’t disagree with the idea that having a database would help veterans, but I would be shocked if one were ever developed to help veterans.

      The one huge drawback to this is what you mentioned…keywords. What if the provider enters the wrong keyword? The veterans claim is denied. What if a provider entered the right keyword for the wrong patient? One veteran with a broken arm ends up getting a prostate exam or chemo treatment.

      There are hundreds of ways the VA could spend this money in ways that would directly help veterans. This does not do that.

      This is like putting lace curtains in your outhouse window and calling it a mansion with a pool in the basement.

    • Albert, to add to my comment below…the VA already has a database. Its called our health records.

      What should be a serious wake-up to anyone thinking this AI scheme is a good idea is how the VA has used the databases on every veteran for many years.

      Vietnam veterans have been diagnosed with specific health conditions, as have many veterans since. I don’t recall a single instance where the VA has looked at the records in their possession and said, “you know, we are finding XYZ cancer in vets who reported being exposed to Burn Pits. We will send them letters stating they are service connected for that and offer them care”.

      In fact, the VA has specifically ignored what is in their health records on specific illnesses until that data is leaked, and the VA is forced to act on it.

      The VA did exactly that with ALS after the Gulf War.

      • @91Veteran I do understand what you are saying and maybe I live in my own little world ( according to the VA i am not mentally competent enough to be left alone or take care of myself ).
        I know deep down inside that what I see as a database is honesty and integrity. Of which the USMC instilled in me. Like you said the VA has hidden so many medical conditions of Veterans that would prevent them from getting the proper medical treatment and benefits needed. I don’t rely on the VA anymore for my medical treatment because I am on Medicare and can get the right treatment. And I have told them doctors with the VA they will not be treating me for any conditions. Which has gone way better for me, because the health care i get from private providers has helped me go from 20% to 70% and now 100% disability.
        My idea of database does not include any personal information. Yah the idea of the VA sending anyone a letter telling them we discovered you were qualified to receive benefits and disability pay because you were exposed to XYZ during your service, is crazy. It will never happen, if you don’t claim it, it won’t happen regardless. And the dam sure won’t let you know it even exist.
        Thank you all for your expert advice. i will go back into my own little world and keep believing that one day the VA will be perfect and take care of us all.

      • Albert, no need to go back into any little world. Stay here and enjoy the company.

        I don’t know if you lurk here reading but not making comments. If this is your first time reading and commenting, I apologize for being harsh. After reading Ben’s columns daily for the past couple years, it doesnt take much to get infuriated at the latest VA asshattery.

        Its even worse when various VA or VSO trolls show up here trying to blow smoke up our ass on how great the VA is.

        Fuses get short.

        Stick around a little while.

      • Albert, I agree with 91, hell yes, stick around, don’t hide.
        This is one place you can be yourself. Hope to see more comments from you. Your posts were good. Keep em going.

  4. “The system used “reinforcement learning” to achieve the feat to become the best Go game player in the world.”

    My parents used a system of reinfrocement learning on me as they upgraded me to diaperless accountability and I became great at learning when to play the game of Go. At the time I was led to believe a successful shot into the old potty represented a milestone achievement of my own greatness until they flushed the toilet. My achievement was lost forever but the lesson was learned…

    So we have an upgraded paperless computer now that has learned how to play the game of Go. It is associated with a thing called a google. It is artificial yet is called Deep Mind…. and it is gonna tell doctors what to go do with me when they examine my head?

    I’m in!!! Where do I flush or is this one of those automatic things?

  5. “The sooner the right information reaches the right clinician, the sooner the patient can be given the right care.”
    That’s a crock of shit, The VA ass wipes always enter false data like in my records, denies this denies that, and they never asked me the question, That just leads me to believe that they want us DEAD,
    Garbage in garbage out doesn’t do anything good for any of us.
    And the VA saying they have top notch health care is like trying to convince me shit tastes good….LOL

    • The STREAMS App has yet to be tested(or tasted) with a steady stream of chronic diarrhea but this week is a beta testing of just that flow function.
      The taxpayers will just lap-up the results manufactured in brown matter if shaped like a bunny.

    • I’m with you oldmarine, garbage in garbage out. What kinda company would want faulty medical data from the VA, deepmind must be pretty shallow.

  6. That is really why that Shulkin was in England, ……to sell out! Even if all of your information was scrubbed, the timeline is what the computers are learning via your location with other geo tags that google already has. That is why you have ads popping up and random pharmacies calling you. It is unconstitutional to breach your 4th Amendment rights by entering your personal property or likeness into a contract without your consent.

  7. Hopefully you get the share comment feature back so that the public actually knows what other veterans are saying and not some paid, VA, pus gut fuckboy.

  8. I see a guy on the side of the street leaning against a pink El Dorado wearing a wide brimmed hat with dingo balls hanging everywhere and a sign on the door that says VA SUCKA!. Guess what that makes us?

  9. BS The leftist get this information; then all of a sudden, as before; the Veteran is considered a Mental Health risk, and the 2nd Amendment, 1st Amendment is suspended by bureocrate. BS. Ohio has a Privacy Act Law. The VA would be in violation of the Ohio Privacy Act. @SenGOP @HouseGOP @POTUS. If this continues, then the Federal Gov., is as well, giving Name Rank and Serial number to our enemies; while makeing the Veteran, the enemy. DO NOT CONSENT My VA medical, and Mental Health Records were admittedly given twice, on ‘forged’ signature’s VA has admitted it. The information almost got me ‘killed’, when a local leftist lawyer took the information given to him by another lawyer in the “justice system”, and had me linked as a crazed out of Control PTSD vet. That’s exactly what the Judge yelled out in the Court Room, when I asked to know what the hell there were nine Police Officers standing around the courtroom, and the Prosecutor, on a ‘Hearing’, not involving ‘violance’, and a mis-demeanor charge. BS No Name, No Rank, No Serial number! I DO NOT CONSENT!

  10. So, “Shithead Shyster Shulkin” went to Europe, spent $122+K taxpayers monies, to “sell out veterans”!
    I do NOT and did NOT consent to this!
    Shulkin is “playing us for fools”! He NEEDS to be FIRED and pay back the $660 million dollars!
    His “agenda” is to let his “little subordinates”, at VHA’s and VBA’s nationwide, to screw vets – PERIOD!
    When will the inmates, VA employees, be arrested and confined?
    _______________________

    From; “military.com”
    Dated: 26 Feb. 2018
    By; Richard Sisk
    Titled;
    “Shulkin Claims Trump Backing to Remain Amid Political Infighting”

    This is a must read! Shulkin was speaking to the DAV!

    • Here’s a “P.S.”
      Google bought it! Well, guess what, brothers and sisters.
      Fact; Google has been caught censoring a lot of conservative voices on the internet!

    • Great Article Elf!

      Linked at: “https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/02/26/shulkin-claims-trumps-backing-remain-amid-political-infighting.html”

      • Thanks Seymore,
        I knew you’d like it.
        That S.O.B. thinks he’s God! I would love to be a fly on the wall once someone in the White House gets the balls to FIRE that ASSHOLE!
        Right now though, everyone’s been neutered!

      • Seymore,
        I can see right now, where there’s gonna be lots of pissed off brothers and sisters in the coming weeks or months. Especially when it’s revealed Shulkin’s behind the selling off of the veterans private information.

      • What an article! “Distractions?” Koch brothers & CVA. Appointees out to get Shulky? I guess he thinks we are his enemies too. More back and forth to more in-fighting to lip service… nothing improves. The CVA is really concerned when they don’t do shit in some states to help people or face off with the VA, the corrupt, or corrupted VSOs? Then I am supposed to be impressed by some name, rank, photo op or appearance, or medal, while they beat on their chests claiming to be doing something magnificent? I guess their magnificence and glory includes ignoring certain areas or complaints. Not even mentioning attacks and barring from our Constitutional rights or the need to spread info without censoring top to bottom and safety from the health care thugs and unions. Trump silent too.

        There is so much crap out there to deal it’s pathetic. Now the governor’s meetings will be over those evil pain meds and school shootings. While we are being censored to hell and back to allowing colleges to run our towns, and tech giants destroy our free speech and etc.

        OT: Are they forcing new injections on vets with chronic pain too? The physical therapist MDs and such locally are claiming they can heal chronic pain through therapy too. That never worked before for me either but are getting their feet in the door promoting cure alls for more money and to funnel more patients through regardless if it helps or not. Medicare will pay for some of it either way.
        “http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/375455-hhs-chief-pitches-new-measures-to-expand-opioid-addiction-treatment”

    • Crazy Elf,

      Shulkin is already screwing us over with our medical records. He’s allowed the VA to integrate our medical record, mental health record and psychotherapy notes into one integrated electronic medical record and classifies it as open making it accessible to all VA employees nationwide, DoD and other entities and noncompliant with HIPAA and Privacy laws. I learned of this when I had an issue with a social worker disclosing information in my psychotherapy notes. The social worker supervisor told me she doesn’t understand why I’m so upset because all VA employees have access to my entire medical and mental health records which was confirmed by 3 VA privacy officers.

      The VA privacy officers told me they cannot separate the records, and cannot declassify it. The only thing they could do for me was mark my records as sensitive for tracking purposes only which the VA automatically marks VA employees records but Veterans have to provide a written request. Once you have your records marked wait about a month or two then provide a written request for a SPAR report from our privacy officer which will show you who has entered our integrated electronic medical record once your records were marked sensitive. My psychologist wasn’t aware of this until I informed her and she was even shocked. Since the VA has integrated our psychotherapy notes into our medical record which is in violation of HIPPA and Privacy, anyone who accesses your records will need your written authorization since this is a requirement of HIPAA and Privacy laws regarding any access to a patient’s psychotherapy notes. In 3 months I have almost 40 individuals from VA, DoD, and other entities who have accessed mine. None of these individuals are my providers, provided me treatment or approval authorities for benefits, etc. I never provided them with my written authorization either.

      Note: psychotherapy notes are the discussing between a patient and their mental health providers (therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc) which have stricter access requirements than your medical and mental health records.

      Encourage you to spread the word to all Veterans and to have them mark their records sensitive to see who is accessing their information. File complaints with HHS for HIPAA and Privacy violations and complaints can be filed with privacy officers. Contact your congressman/woman too.

      The VA’s actions has caused me treatment from them or a civilian doctor as I don’t trust them to protect my records and to prevent unauthorized access.

  11. I’m not surprise at all per the VA selling us out once again. This is the VA’s mannerisms, it’s their nature to not consider our (Veterans) protected rights of keeping our medical records private. And then they want our trust. Ass-holes up to the smelliest anal sphincter. Such treasonous acts, that should be swiftly dealt with by none other than, wait a second, I’m going to write it, it’s coming out, let me grunt some more, oouuu her er comes, it’s President Trumps responsibility to stop this, to override any dealings that Shithead Shyster Shulkin set-up, and violates our protective rights.

    POTUS, when you going to terminate this fool; Sec VA David Shulkin. You’ll NEVER get Veterans to trust the VA by this type of undermining behavior that’s been going on. Next, the trust factor of Vets, will be on you Sir. And, then you’ll have a hell of a lot more mess on your hands to clean up. It’s easy to fix a leak when it is only dripping, not when the waters are overflowing the sides of the river. Can’t you see Mr. President? Veterans have has their suspicions from the beginning when you were campaigning and after being elected. But now, it’s different, they expect you to fulfill your promises. And, not waiting until the next election term, not when Veterans are dying and being improperly medically treated.

    I for one Sir, will tell you this straight up, that if you idle anymore, and don’t take immediate action soon, you’ll not have my vote. This doesn’t mean that I’ll vote for the other choice, I will not vote at all. Why? The system is beyond corrupt. Why? Because all of you Politicians know that the VA is corrupt, and you’ve been too slow in implementing guidelines, rules, policies, etc. that has teeth.

    Today, I give no one a pass in the VA leadership, Gov’t Committee leaders and members, other VA overseers, and this includes you Mr. President.

    When treating Patients, yes you treat the symptoms to rid of them if possible, but the ultimate goal is to heal the Patient as much as possible to normality, and to do no harm. Not to let them linger, to suffer, or to add some new medical directive that makes it impossible to deal with, and such a directive that causes more symptoms upon the Veteran.

    This is beyond wrong, it’s absurd, idiotic, life threatening, and then the VA personnel sit back with their awkward looking facial expression, and to wonder why we Veterans do trust the SOB’s. Man to man Mr. President, the bottom line is, “get fucking real, dude, you’re not only losing face, but the trust of Vets, and their confidence in you.” So I say, lets get this party started, it’s well over time in doing so.

    • Sorry for the grammatical mistakes above. It’s been a long week-end, and if all goes well, I’ve only got this to say to the VA PCP, Director, and whom else gets in the damn way, “hold on, because I’m coming for you.”

      And I don’t give a shit if a VA employee has a dozen children that they need to take care of, they don’t care about mine. I want heads to roll, and bodies going out the door (no more Federal employment for the incompetent and corrupt ones). Keeping it simple, because the VA makes it complex as to bind us all up.

      Boom, EX-LAX.

  12. @CorpsmanUp! – I mistakenly deleted your number off my phone incoming memory. I realized that I did it right after I hit the delete button. Dah . . . Can you give me a call so that I can get your contact information? Thanks, Nutter.

  13. A rogue FedGov agency trying to pimp out veteran genomic data to the highest bidder….seems legit…

    Special Agent Van Neil, DHS, FBI/JTTF. If you’re reading this. Has it become clear to you why I express an opinion that violence should be seen as an acceptable solution? FedGov has time after time after time after time failed the veteran. Congress has consistently failed to hold the VA accountable to the rule of law and the american citizenry. How do we know this? Because the VA is far too corrupt to be saved. We have a rogue FedGov agency that rides roughshod over a significant group of american citizens, thumbs it’s nose at the law on ALL levels and yet ABSOLUTELY NOTHING is done.I mean hell it’s not even about the vets, I mean it is about the vets but it’s also about the american taxpayers who are getting RIPPED OFF every time Shulkin begs congress for billions of dollars a year that then DISAPPEAR with absolutely NO ACCOUNTABILITY.

    To any armed FedGov agent that happens to read this I have one question for you.

    Is this what you signed up for?

  14. What pisses me off is that an American company with a ROCK SOLID reputation in advanced AI problem solving and yet we are goin gover seas for the same thing? Predictive inverse pyramid floatation provides in some cases better accuracy than anything else currently available. It was manufactured by the American company Mattel using the Magic 8 Ball protocol upon which ALL electronic prediction engines are honestly now based.

    My own healthcare research suggests that the M8B protocol reaults in far more positive patient outcomes than even current standard off the shelf VA doctors testing their own skills. Why don’t we approach Mattel BEFORE we go international with this thing and put jobs back into America!

  15. Would it be too much to ask of the VA to produce just one example of how a veteran was helped after the VA dumped billions into all these bullshit sci-fi IT projects?

    So the VA is giving access to our data to detect kidney deterioration rather than predicting what might cause veteran suicide?

    As you point out Ben, DeepShit got started with the NHS by Suleyman. Business Insider has a very good article that provides lots of background on this guy, such as him dropping out of college to work on various left wing causes like climate change and bashing capitalism. Interesting for such an anti-capitalist that he took $600 million from Google for his wet dream.

    The NHS data they had access to was NOT scrubbed of patient identifying data. Why? Imagine the cost of tracking down patients for informed consent waivers, and the cost of separating data from those who consented and those who did not.

    Since DeepShit started in 2015 using NHS data, where are the success stories to prove their Streams app works? Or are they only interested in the money Streams from selling bullshit ideas to government run health systems?

    Suleyman dropped out, and the BI article says he got involved with AI. The article makes clear he is not a scientist but is focused on the business side searching for ways their application can be applied to health care.

    In other words, Suleyman is a bullshit artist like Meshkin and others with a solution looking for a problem to solve with government money.

    Why NHS and VA? Other than they have DeepPockets?

    What I cannot understand though is if all patient identifying data is removed, and this expensive app finds out I am at risk of kidney problems, how will they know I am the one that needs treatment?

    Why is my doctor not looking at my same record and finding the same thing? Incompetence? Garbage in my records making garbage out?

    Do I want my data funneled to some guy who started a Muslim only counseling service after dropping out of college?

    Can they reverse engineer the identity of a patient by reviewing their medical record? Sure. Lets say they are looking for a Gulf War vet who also served in Afghanistan who had care at Denver, Atlanta and Long Beach. How difficult would it be to narrow down the list quickly?

    It is interesting to see they term this as research. So if it is research, does it follow the same protocols as human research? Or is it only termed as research, yet funded as an IT project to avoid all those questions?

    If it is funded by research money, how much research funding from Agent Orange, Gulf War Illness, TBI Burn Pits and other diseases is removed to pay for this nonsense?

  16. Has anybody given thought to how this data could be weaponized against the people it’s supposed to be “helping”?

    How hard would it be to decompile these data sets to arrive at a statistical probability of what percentage each ethnicity represents in each of the armed services at any given time? Is it possible that this data could help boost bio warfare research against the US? Why bother shooting at soldiers if all you have to do is infect them with a 100% lethality virus targeted specifically at certain ethnic genomes? Maybe it’s paranoia. who knows.

    • WyldeChylde, it absolutely can be weaponized, in exactly the manner you stated. Also as I stated in my 4th post above.

      Funny how the VA has no trouble whatsoever, wasting billions on their own BS, yet fights tooth and nail, to prevent Veterans from winning a claim, or providing the proper care in a timely manner.

      Hey VA, develope an app that seeks out, and reports your corruption, and criminal behavior, to the public, by scrolling it across billboards Nationwide.

      Gives a whole new meaning to “Nationwide is on your side”

      #fireshitheadshhulkinandlilcoxnow!

  17. I don’t get along with some of the VA staff. I don’t trust any of the VA personnel. Why are we always hearing about our sweat and blood being sold, and never hear this subject until it’s being sold.? The Dr. is sneaky.

  18. I really don’t know how these pieces of shit sleep. I know for a fact they would be happier if I was dead. I hate everything they do and then on top of it they want a fucking gold star on their head because they have devoted to helping veterans. They fail to say that they don’t do any work, are rude, get paid more than worth, so much paid time off have a hard time using, benefits and a big fat pension. Worthless people, there are some very good ones, but hiding in a closet because threatened by the losers for working too hard.

    • They sleep very soundly because they know they have the power of the union and the dictatorship on their side. And if any congressional critter tries to get uppity they just simply duck and weave and obfuscate. Every once in awhile they’ll offer up some convenient sacrifice. One that must be made but since they get to choose who gets to retire their way out of an investigation. The impact is normally minimal and always cushioned by a soft landing.

      Until the union’s power is broken and the dictatorship sufficiently rattled. They will continue to sleep very soundly.

  19. All:

    I cannot put into words the appreciation I have for what Ben is doing for us. Thank you Ben.

    I want to let you know of a secret the VA is hoping won’t come out because yes, another issue where they are breaking multiple laws. We, my spouse and I, learned of this when we were dealing with our personal issues involving my medical record, mental health record and psychotherapy notes. For those not familiar with what psychotherapy notes are, the notes are the discussion notes from your sessions with your mental health provider i.e. counselor, therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc.

    The VA has taken our medical record, mental health record and psychotherapy notes and integrated them into one integrated electronic medical record and classified it as open which allows access to all VA employees nationwide, DoD and other entities VA has allowed authorized to have access. The integrated electronic medial record is noncompliant with HIPAA and Privacy laws and even VA Privacy Policy.

    What does this mean? Our records are not protected, not monitored, not tracked, doesn’t meet minimum necessary, doesn’t separate psychotherapy notes from medical record and protected like fort knox as required by laws, etc. VA automatically marks VA employees integrated electronic medical record ‘sensitive’ for tracking purpose only but Veterans have to submit a written request to their local Privacy Officer. Once your record is marked ‘sensitive’ then you can start submitting a written request to your Privacy Officer for a SPAR report which will show you who has accessed your integrated electronic medical record from the date your records were marked.

    Since the VA has decided to break the laws to integrate your psychotherapy notes into your integrated electronic medical record, anyone who needs access except the author of those psychotherapy notes must obtain the patient’s written authorization to access.

    Please spread the word. I don’t know the other entities who have access but you’ll see the abbreviations of these entities instead of individual names. Please go and submit a written request to mark your records sensitive so you can see who is accessing. The Privacy Officer can also tell you which part or what was done in your record.

    Another issues that happened, the social worker who was an unauthorized individual who accessed my psychotherapy notes used information to disapprove us for a reassessment but the info wasn’t a disqualifier nor was she the individual to make this decision as it was up to my doctors. So, not only did she read my psychotherapy notes, she discussed this info with 7 other social workers and used it in her rebuttals to our complaints. None of these social workers are a provider to me, provide me treatment, etc so none of them were authorized to this information. The social worker supervisor told us she didn’t understand my issues with them accessing my records and notes since every VA employee has access to my records.

  20. Standard operating procedures. Corporate data nerds want to validate an AI model and inject variables such as natural malady (cigareets and wiskee and wild wild wimin – not to mention pork, taters and gravy) and battle ailments, e.g. dangly bits, missing bits, and let’s not forget the poisonous bits. Hiding in the treasure trove of data are possible solutions from which Pig Pharma will pay Pig Data Pig Bucks for the right to patent a new drug or device for the VA to shove down the taxpayers throats and ultimately up the veterans assholes.

    Naturally, the pitch and sell is “anything for our brave guinea sheeple – er loyal flag-waving warriors”. Pig VA management sees a future on somebody’s Board of Director’s Advisory Committee after the requisite “out of Gubmint” cleansing period. Pig Pharma might get in on some gravy with new drugs, or, more likely, a heads up on meds that are poisoning people more than helping people – which is extremely valuable for Risk Management at Pig Pharma who, in advance, can lobby for a liability exemption.

    So, indeed folks, having a massive data base – captive – permissions not necessary – is fucking good bidnez no matter the end result. A smorgasbord, and cornholecopia of information that will surely include your favorite flavor. And why won’t Pig Data have to pay for it? Because this is how Amerika rolls – over the tax payer. As Carlin said, “It’s a club, and you ain’t in it”.

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