CCSE Seminar: US Healthcare as a Complex System, Roger D. Jones

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 2:00 pm

Location: Babbio 319


Healthcare in the U.S. consumes about 18% of the GDP, the highest rate in the world, yet health outcomes, such as longevity and infant survival are poor. Cost and outcomes are driving the system to a new state that may be much different from its current state—a phase transition. We will consider the healthcare system in the U.S. from a high level noting similarities between it and other complex systems in society and nature. We will look at the fractal nature of the system and note how various drivers at various scales, or levels of detail, are affecting the system as a whole. We consider the balance among patients, providers, and risk reducers and note how the balance changes as scale changes. We will also discuss the two visions of healthcare, one in which technology plays a major role and one in which outcomes dominate. Finally, we will look at fluctuations in the system in the form of merger and acquisition activity and compare the fluctuations with other natural systems. This is a measure of the imminence of the phase transition.


Roger D. Jones is an American physicist and entrepreneur.   Jones trained in physics at Dartmouth College and worked as a staff physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1979 to 1995. His primary research interests were in laser fusion and machine learning.  In the early nineties he headed projects that applied his machine learning inventions to technical problems in the private sector. In 1995 in collaboration with Citibank, Jones co-founded the Center for Adaptive Systems Applications (CASA), a company that applied neural network and adaptive technology to consumer banking.  HNC Software acquired CASA in March 2000, at the peak of the dotcom boom.  Fair Isaac Corporation subsequently acquired HNC Software.  Much of the technology developed at CASA became part of the credit scoring offerings of Fair Isaac.  Jones along with other Santa Fe scientists and entrepreneurs such as Doyne Farmer, Norman Packard, Stuart Kauffman, and David Weininger founded several other high-technology startup companies in the emerging Santa Fe technology community, dubbed by Wired Magazine as the "Info Mesa."   Jones introduced the first entirely virtual company.  Much of the effort of these startups focused on finance and the catastrophic reinsurance industry. By 2004 the companies Jones co-founded merged into a single company, Qforma, Inc., that focused on adaptive and predictive technologies for the pharmaceutical industry. In June of 2013 Qforma merged with SkilaMederi.