I love Obama, but in this case, he’s simply wrong.

Obama said he’s appropriating $20 Billion dollars to the health care industry to encourage widespread adoption of electronic medical records.

While this sounds like a phenomenal idea, it’s not.

This is about as good an idea as throwing money at advancing the technology found in the Commodore 64.

Like bailing out the Big Three automakers, an infusion of federal dollars into the current crop of programs will only stifle innovation that’s sorely needed to make electronic record systems truly useful.

Here are some screenshots from two popular electronic medical records:

Can you imagine Facebook, Amazon, eBay, Flickr, Tumblr or any other promising new “technology” building such awful interfaces and counterintuitive usability?

We should be investing in companies that build amazing web apps and sites that you don’t even realize you’re using…instead, these companies are going to get a monetary windfall and continue to develop total crap. And doctors are still going to find it more convenient to write on paper with a pen…and therein lies the reason why only 9% of office based primary care docs use computers. Because the only technology out there they can use looks and functions like nothing else they use in their everyday lives – gMail, gCal, Facebook, Flickr, and Amazon.

The hyperlink has revolutionized everything, except health care technology.

And Obama wants to throw money at a sinking ship. Hey Obama…I’ve got a Commodore 64 you can buy for $20 Billion.

Zuck was — remarkably! — unphased by this line of thinking and went ahead and built Facebook, and just to prove how useless everything we teach about efficiency and careful software design in CS161 really is, he implemented it in PHP. And it worked. Oh yeah, and he managed to grow the site to over 175 million users. So clearly I know pretty much zip when it comes to figuring out what a good startup business strategy is going to be, which explains why I should remain safely ensconced in my office at Harvard.

Matt Welsh, one of Mark Zuckerberg’s CS professors (via marco)

Dear New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo – save $97 million

Cuomo wants to create a not-for-profit entity that ensures objective, transparent and reasonable out-of-network insurance pricing for individuals in New York…obviously an amazing thing to do.

However, he wants to spend $100 million to do this.

Spend $100 million on a project that costs $3 million?

The project Cuomo wants to spend $100 million on is already built by change:healthcare, one of the few great healthcare startups out there. Think of change:healthcare like Google Analytics on your website, but for health care prices. They expose the actual costs of health care, something the insurance companies are desperately trying to keep away from you and from one another. Keep people ignorant, control the data, and they control the profits.

It’s dirty and dishonest in this age of transparency.

And change:healthcare is the only relevant company out there exposing health care prices making our world more transparent. Of course, against the wishes of those few people who control the profits of that $2.5 trillion health care industry.

And this $100 million project? Politics and bureacracy will render it useless.

Spread the word, because I like the internet, I like startups that do something for $3 million instead of $100 million, and I’d like to devote that $97 million to 32 other startups that can expose information and disrupt the status quo.

Remember, the waste, the lack of transparency and free market principles, and the inner deals that happen behind the scenes in this $2.5 trillion dollar a year health care industry is damn near equivalent to the entire bailout package – EVERY YEAR.

Dear New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo – save $97 million

A portfolio instead of a diploma « BuzzMachine

While reading Grown up Digital, I quickly understood that the education system in America is in the same sorry state as our health care system. And What Would Google Do? highlights many of the same problems. The language the young people speak, the way their minds work, and how they learn seems like ADD to a greying generation of leaders. However, there are people out there thinking much smarter than the status quo:

After 13 years of work getting a K-12 education, why is it that all a student has to show for it is (if things go well) a diploma?

It seems to me like our goals should be so much different, such as:

In writing: students should have a very rich blog with hundreds of quality posts on it, as well as several major self-published pieces and several other items that were genuinely published by outside sources (editorials in the local paper, columns for a trade magazine, etc.)

In science: students should have at least one patent and/or at least one invention that they’ve actually created a prototype for (or, better, that has had copies of which have actually sold)

In math: students should be able to balance a checkbook, understand how to stay out of debt and avoid credit spending, and understand how to interpret biased statistics and advertisements correctly; they should also be able to solve any real-world math problem they may encounter in life (figuring out the reduced cost of having improved gas mileage, determining the amount of interest that would accrue on various home loans, figuring out which jar of peanut butter costs less per ounce, being able to make two-thirds of a batch of something, etc.).

In social studies: students should be able to read every article in the newspaper and understand (when applicable) the article’s significance and the historical events that have led up to the event being described. When applicable, students should also understand the geography of the location(s) being discussed, as well as the religious and political backgrounds of the people groups involved

Finally: students should be heading to their post-K-12 life with a plan for the future, rather than just heading to college because everyone is doing it. They should have an extensive understanding of a significant number of careers in their preferred field(s) of study as well.

A portfolio instead of a diploma « BuzzMachine