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AHOSKIE, N.C. — The railroad tracks cut through Weyling White’s boyhood backyard like an invisible fence. He would play there on sweltering afternoons, stacking rocks along the rails under the watch of his grandfather, who established a firm rule: Weyling wasn’t to cross the right of way into the white part of town.

The other side had nicer homes and parks, all the medical offices, and the town’s only hospital. As a consequence, White said, his family mostly got by without regular care, relying on home remedies and the healing hands of the Baptist church. “There were no health care resources whatsoever,” said White, 34. “You would see tons of worse health outcomes for people on those streets.”

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  • Thank you for shedding light on the challenges of my beloved town, Ahoskie, NC. I care deeply for the people of NENC.

  • OK, this seems so unfair. If you are poor and therefore likely to try your best to avoid going to the doctor, this means you also get poorer service based upon invisible software that rates you by spending rather than health status. It’s also the most stupid application of software I can imagine. The companies making this stuff should be tracking diseases and conditions, not cost. The cost-saving will follow automatically. What a bunch of morons!

  • Is this Trump’s fault as well? How come when it is not Trump’s fault, it is nobodies fault? Don’t millennials rule in the area of analytics and algorithms? Don’t most millennials vote Progressive? Trump was blamed for the George Floyd protests that caused COVID-19 cases to spike.

  • “cost-prediction software” – what does this mean? On the surface, it looks like a result that’s intended for triage (priority of treatment) is delivered in terms of dollars. (= if it costs more, you need it more?) So it appears that insurance providers use risk analysis, which I believe yields probability of dollars spent, to guide treatment (?)

  • This is a pile of liberal nonsense. Typical liberals trying to justify racism where there is none. Math is math it can’t be racist. Stop trying to find unicorns. There is no systematic racism in the USA. Doesn’t exist no matter how hard you try to create it!!!!

    • I agree that the article is complete nonsense, but it has nothing to do with liberals. Nonsense has no political identification.

    • All algorithms that impact patient care should require ‘open-source’ to enable anyone and everyone to see what assumptions were used to create each algorithm step. No algorithm is infallible, nor are the people who created them.

      When actual harm and/or less than optimal outcomes results from a flawed algorithm, all too many people using them defend their decision on ‘the algorithm,’ despite not knowing the details (the “secret sauce”) of the algorithm.

      When a company says that their algorithm(s) is proprietary, this is nonsense. A non-disclosure agreement signed by all parties can be agreed to whereby each organization can see the details without publicly revealing the details.

  • I am confused. This article says that color-blind software produces “racist” results. But a previous article –
    says just the opposite, that including race in risk assessment leads to sub-optimal decisions for Blacks.

    I think, instead of focusing on correcting the algorithms, there should be more effort put to increase health care accessibility for Black communities. If they use their primary doctor and not the emergency department, the algorithms will have the data for more accurate predictions. And more importantly, the health outcome will be much better.

    • Agreed! Focus on providing better and more consistent health care to those struggling communities. There is no “racism” in the algorithm; the algorithm is factoring dollars in, and the dollar are correlating with one race more than another. There is a difference, and semantics matter.

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