03.08.10

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Microsoft to Use FDA Official to Take Over Patient Records in the United States

Posted in America, Database, Europe, Microsoft at 2:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FDA logo

Summary: Microsoft hires Donna-Bea Tillman from the FDA in order to increase its influence in the United States government and help Microsoft control healthcare systems

MICROSOFT’S connections with the US government continue to be tightened. According to The Seattle Times, Obama’s CIO Vivek Kundra may have just met Steve Ballmer, who also visits the White House on occasions [1, 2].

After his San Francisco tour, Kundra is coming to Seattle for a day Thursday beginning with breakfast at Microsoft with Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and other local executives.

Microsoft will show Kundra advanced research projects before he speaks at the University of Washington in the afternoon. He’ll also meet with executives at Amazon.com before making an appearance at the Washington Technology Industry Association’s awards dinner.

This possible encounter is not the subject of this post though; it merely serves as a precursor and a reminder of Microsoft’s relationship with the government. Politics and commerce are never separate, unless one insists on oversimplification.

The FDA is connected to Microsoft through the pharmaceutical cartel, as well as the Gates Foundation, which works for Monsanto [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and has former Monsanto staff (which in turn has a notorious exchange of staff with the FDA). With high-level Monsanto employees inside the Gates Foundation, the connections to the government become a tad more apparent, but we won’t delve into it any further because that’s not the point.

The main story is the following one. According to this report from the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is going to hire a Fed from the FDA.

The director of the Office of Device Evaluation, one of the highest-ranking positions at the Food and Drug Administration, is leaving this month to join the Washington office of Microsoft Corp., according to an email she sent Monday morning.

Donna-Bea Tillman, who has been with the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health since 1994, said in the email that she will become part of the software giant’s health solutions group as the director of regulations and policy. The FDA and Microsoft confirmed the move.

There is more information in the blog — details that didn’t make it into the main article.

You probably wouldn’t put Microsoft on the list of companies in the market to hire former FDA officials, but the software giant snagged a top medical-device regulator today.

Donna-Bea Tillman, head of the office of device approvals, says her jump to Microsoft isn’t as unusual as it may seem. She told colleagues in a memo she has long had “a love for all things computer.”

Here is another news article which cites the Wall Street Journal.

Donna Bea-Tillman will leave her post at Food and Drug Administration to join the Washington, D.C. lobbying office of Microsoft Corp., according to the Wall Street Journal

Donna Bea-Tillman, the director of the Food and Drug Administration’s office of device evaluation, will apparently resign her post to join the lobbying office of software giant Microsoft Corp., according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

[...]

Tillman told her colleagues in the email that she took the position with Microsoft because of the potential for health information technology to, “reduce the skyrocketing cost of health care,” according to a copy of the email obtained by the paper

So quite clearly, the purpose here it to lobby for control over people’s medical records [1, 2]. There needn’t even be speculation about it being just more Microsoft lobbying, which works against the interests of people and instead benefits a private corporation. If people learned something from the healthcare fiasco and the insurance companies, this ought to be it. To usher this whole campaign for Microsoft as the steward of health/patient records, Microsoft seems to have started a whole tour and media blitz. In the past week alone we’ve found a lot of press releases about Microsoft in health. The number of press releases was very, very unusual. It includes:

Microsoft Case Study Spotlights OrthoCarolina and Mariner Partnership in Medical Practice Efficiency

Cleveland Clinic/Microsoft Pilot Promising; Home Health Services May Benefit Chronic Disease Management

Greenway Medical Technologies Advances Patient-Provider Benefits (about Microsoft)

Patients will be granted the ability to see medical records with Microsoft Technology

Cleveland Clinic, Microsoft project: Home health tracks chronic conditions better

Now, watch what else Microsoft is doing. “Microsoft Health Users Group Innovation Awards” are announced and from these “Innovation Awards” we get another press release:

NextGen Health Information Exchange and Doylestown Hospital Recognized as Winners of Microsoft HUG 2010 Innovation Awards

Microsoft is even sponsoring/arranging a “hospital luncheon” (recall the “Screw Google luncheon”, which we last mentioned here).

Mission Viejo Microsoft Store takes title sponsorship for hospital luncheon

[...]

The Microsoft Store at The Shops at Mission Viejo is slated to be the title sponsor of Mission Hospital’s 14th Annual Valiant Women Luncheon on Friday, March 12, at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.

Then, Microsoft uses Philips to storm the medical system and consume private data (also covered here). This a colossal mistake given Microsoft’s proven disregard for people’s privacy and very poor reliability in general. To seize control of the medical system becomes more of a matter of life and death in this case. Microsoft has abysmal record here, with Windows zombies becoming the menace of many hospitals. See for example:

People should be killing Microsoft’s attempt to invade hospitals before they kill people. Sadly enough, some reporters play along with this media blitz [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], which is backed by new lobbyists and marketing people, with people’s lives at stake (to Microsoft it’s just the smell of money and crucial dependency/lock-in).

“It’s not about embrace but about exploiting rivals’ platforms to help Microsoft, which has almost no market share in phones.”On a related note, Microsoft is trying to control (with patents) bar codes and it’s advertising this through Linux/Android phones [1, 2]. Just like Hyper-V drivers for Linux, it’s self serving. It’s also the same with Microsoft applications for iPhone — ones that merely have users connect to Microsoft services. It’s not about embrace but about exploiting rivals’ platforms to help Microsoft, which has almost no market share in phones. The reporters totally missed that or chose to ignore it. Mary Jo Foley looks at this news and wonders if Microsoft will use this strategy to also advance Silver Lie, much like Microsoft uses the *Spark programmes to achieve this (with free advertising from IDG).

Last but not least, Microsoft wants to manage people’s national identities [1, 2]. In India, Microsoft had NASSCOM facilitate this but in Germany too Microsoft apparently found some guinea pigs.

Microsoft released its new identity management software at the RSA conference on Tuesday and is working on a prototype national ID card system in Germany that is designed to give consumers control over the amount of personal data they share with specific organizations.

ID cards are a terrible idea for many reasons (including surveillance but a lot more than that). We won’t go into it. In any case, Germany ponders implementing an unnecessary system and even putting it in the hands of a private company from abroad, and one that’s highly abusive and irresponsible. What an utter disaster.

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2 Comments

  1. your_friend said,

    March 8, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Gravatar

    If Microsoft is interested in medical radiation, we have to wonder if their spinners had a hand in the recent New York Times articles on medical radiation accidents. Creating a stink would be helpful for their plans by creating the impression of a need for change and Microsoft’s skill at manipulating the press is well documented by Boycott Novell.

    In reality, nothing could be worse for medicine than more Microsoft involvement. Microsoft’s desktop is a giant security and privacy risk and their server efforts are even worse. Device makers who use Microsoft tools do themselves and their customers a great disservice.

    Highly regulated markets are Microsoft’s last hope for survival. The company realizes that the only way to make people chose Microsoft is to “just make it happen” from “the top down”. FDA, DHS and other US federal agencies are juicy targets. Thank you for documenting this ongoing corruption.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’ve worked around scanners and helped a colleague of mine with an experiment that involved a Windows-run Philips scanner, which of course crashed (even when I was being scanned). This suspended operations for about a day and I had to return later. Some patients with real terminal disease didn’t get their scans done that day.

    Cost of life is difficult to measure but downtime is never an option.

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