Business Briefs

Oct. 11, 2013 @ 09:32 AM

UNC contracts to use IBM analytics

ARMONK, N.Y. – UNC Health Care is contracting New York-based IBM to help the health care provider get information from physician notes and other forms reduce patient readmissions and identify abnormal cancer test results.

The Chapel Hill-based health provider has used IBM’s Content Analytics since 2011, but is now expanding its use of the technology for other uses, according to a news release sent Thursday. The financial terms of the contract were not provided.

The technology’s ability to “see” and interpret both structured and unstructured information is expected to allow the system to identify high-risk patients, understand in context what is causing them to be hospitalized and then take preventative action.

The language processing capabilities are similar to the capabilities of IBM’s “Watson.” The computer, which was a winner on the “Jeopardy!” quiz show, can answer questions asked in “natural language.”
UNC Health Care will use the technology to follow up on abnormal cancer screening results, to make predictions of whether patients are at-risk for being readmitted and to put clinical data into a simpler format for the benefit of patients.

Company to pay $30 million in judgment won by NC, other states

RALEIGH – Attorney General Roy Cooper announced Thursday that a Connecticut-based company that ran discount clubs and membership programs will pay $30 million in refunds and penalties after allegedly using deceptive practices to gain and charge people.

North Carolina and 46 other states and Washington, D.C., won a judgment against Affinion and two subsidiaries that offered services such as credit monitoring, roadside assistance and discounted travel. 

According to a news release from Cooper’s office, consumers complained that Affinion charged them without their authorization or knowledge. Once consumers identified the charges, some had trouble canceling or getting a refund. 

The judgment prohibits Affinion from sending checks in the mail to consumers that, when endorsed and deposited, authorized the company to enroll people unknowingly in membership programs and bill them monthly, among other practices, according to Cooper’s release.

North Carolina consumers that identify charges related to Affinion can file a consumer complaint online through the website or call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.  Consumers can check their credit card and bank account statements to see if they have charges from Affinion, Trilegiant or Webloyalty or any of their membership programs.