Sentences to ponder, CEO panopticon edition

by on July 8, 2014 at 10:38 am in Economics, Medicine | Permalink

As wearable health monitors become more sophisticated, some companies, rather than sending their CEO to a public hospital for a check-up twice a year, may choose to monitor them remotely. What is good enough for high-performance teams of athletes could come to be seen as essential for executives looking for an edge over rivals.

Shared data will then become tradeable insider information, as Mr Benioff pointed out. The answer to Mr Dell’s query was that Mr Benioff had had a cold and decided to skip his workout. But imagine if, instead, the interruption to his regime had signalled to his network of high-powered friends and investors that he had suffered a stroke.

That is from Andrew Hill at the FT, there is more here, interesting (but gated?) throughout.

1 Steve Sailer July 8, 2014 at 11:02 am

Back in 1988, my wife and I were staying with a couple in Seattle. The husband used to work for me, but he’d gotten a great job at Microsoft. My wife asked his wife, “What shall we do tomorrow?” The poor girl broke into tears: “We can’t do anything with you. We have to go skydiving with Bill Gates and we’re going to die!”

It turned out that Gates wanted to try skydiving with his then-girlfriend, but she had refused unless he could find another woman who would jump out of plane with her. So Gates looked through the list of new hires to find an ambitious married man (thus launching my friend’s fabulous career at Microsoft). I got him to promise me that if Gates’ parachute didn’t open, he’d call me as soon as he landed so I could sell Microsoft short.

2 mocker July 8, 2014 at 11:28 am

Wouldn’t there be a golden one as a backup?

3 ummm July 8, 2014 at 12:03 pm

sounds like the plot to a thriller

4 dearieme July 9, 2014 at 4:39 am

I laughed: thank you.

5 dearieme July 9, 2014 at 4:40 am

Oh goodness, it’s you, Mr iSteve. I often do laugh at your jokes, I admit.

6 Bill July 8, 2014 at 11:41 am

You just wait.

Soon faculty will be wearing motion and location sensors to see if they are awake and what they are doing with their time, all in the name of health.

Big Brother, or Big Mother.

7 Spencer July 8, 2014 at 11:44 am

OK, if you work in an emergency room and see a CEO being treated and short the stocks, would it be insider trading?
I don’t think so.

8 Chris S July 8, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Depends on if the information is public or not. If he is wheeled into a public emergency room having chest pains and any number of people see him, including non-hospital staff, probably not.

If he arrives by ambulance and is seen only by hospital staff who are bound by HIPAA to not reveal medical information, then yes, any of those people who trade on that private knowledge are guilty of insider trading.

In my analysis, anyway.

9 Steve July 8, 2014 at 1:30 pm

That’s pretty much it, although the duty of the medical staff not to trade in the second scenario would likely run to their employers, not directly via HIPAA, so it might get interesting if the ambulance was run by a sole proprietorship or something (I know nothing about how ambulance companies are operated, or if they’re just usually owned by hospitals).

10 rayward July 8, 2014 at 11:44 am

On the subject of wireless monitors, I suspect that the allure of 24/7 heath care will make wireless monitors as ubiquitous as cell phones. Of course, 24/7 health care will be an illusion, but that won’t discourage everyman (and woman) from demanding that their insurance cover the cost – maybe monitors will be the next mandate.

11 Bill July 8, 2014 at 11:50 am

The mandate would be by an insurance company if they could charge you for not wearing one. But, since they are obligated to sell you a policy notwithstanding pre-existing conditions it is doubtful you dream would come true. Only if they could pick and choose would your dream come true.

12 Axa July 8, 2014 at 11:58 am

There are rumors around that the next big thing would be a wearable blood sugar meter with direct communication to Android or iOS. It will be a challenge for marketers that try to link smartphones to youngs, energy and technology 🙂

13 rayward July 8, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Wireless monitors are just one part (small part) of what’s known as telemedicine. My involvement is mainly in capnography, the concentration of CO2 in respiratory gases. I say 24/7 health care is an illusion because data overload will overwhelm providers. Indeed, many physicians who would be in the forefront of data monitoring, cardiologists, are strongly opposed to the entire concept. As for telemedicine (the remote diagnosis and treatment of illness), it is expanding greatly but regulatory issues (physicians are regulated, and licensed, by state) have limited the expansion. Nevertheless, I’m convinced that wireless monitors and telemedicine will be the next big thing, maybe not for better health care but as an economic opportunity.

14 steve July 8, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Please make one that doesn’t wake people all the time with false alarms.


15 Dan Weber July 8, 2014 at 1:47 pm


16 Dan Weber July 8, 2014 at 12:39 pm

In a country with sensible health care, 24/7 monitoring would improve health. I’m not sure if any country has sensible health care, but the US sure doesn’t. It will end up being data-mined after-the-fact by lawyers for evidence that the doctors missed that they should have flagged as preconditions to the tumor/heart attack/stroke/ass cancer that ended their client’s life.

17 anon July 8, 2014 at 5:37 pm

rather than sending their CEO to a public hospital for a check-up twice a year

I call BS.

What company sends its CEO to a “public hospital” for a checkup? They go to a doctor or to a place like the Mayo Clinic.

18 Dan Lavatan July 8, 2014 at 7:53 pm

I guess I don’t see how it is tradable information. I would value most stocks higher without their present CEOs, particularly stocks I don’t own. Obviously the current boards might disagree. Is there any clear evidence that there would be a particular move in a particular direction such that one could actually make money through a repeatable process even with perfect data?

19 dearieme July 9, 2014 at 4:43 am

As I understand it, there is no evidence that the American custom of the annual health check-up does any good at all (except to doctor’s financial health, I assume). Why doing it continuously is bound to be better isn’t clear to me.

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