Wednesday, May 06, 2015

MBA-holding Informatics Fellow's Portfolio: Revolutionizing Healthcare Through Plagiarism

I highlighted the MBA culture at least once before on this site, on April 16, 2010 at "Healthcare IT Corporate Ethics 101: 'A Strategy for Cerner Corporation to Address the HIT Stimulus Plan'",

In that post, I noted MBA candidates/Cerner employees happily conspiring in a paper at Duke's Fuqua School of Business towards combination in restraint of trade through "recommending that Cerner collaborate with other incumbent vendors to establish high regulatory standards, effectively creating a barrier to new firm entry. "

Combination in restraint of trade: An illegal compact between two or more persons to unjustly restrict competition and monopolize commerce in goods or services by controlling their production, distribution, and price or through other unlawful means. Such combinations are prohibited by the provisions of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and other antitrust acts.

The paper was highlighted at  professor David Ridley's page "Duke University Fuqua School of Business: Past Papers" - that is, until a few days after my blog post went up and he was informed of it.   You can see cached copies of the paper and page at the post at link above.

Today, I've had another experience with an MBA holder who has decided to enter the field of Medical Informatics.

I received an unsolicited Cc: of an email, sent by a professional in my field I do not know at a university in Australia.  The email was directed at a postdoctoral fellow at a U.S. medical informatics program in the Midwest, advising the fellow that his 'Portfolio' brag page page was plagiarized directly almost verbatim from a personal essay I'd written ca. 1999 and now archived at my current Drexel site at, and that plagiarism was bad for informatics careers:

Date: Tue, May 5, 2015 10:28 pm
To: [Name of recipient MBA-holding informatics fellow redacted - ed.]

I was disappointed to find the following three paragraphs on the homepage of your site ([URL redacted] - ed.)

"It became apparent to me and many informatics professionals that significant confusion and misconceptions exist in hospitals, industry, and the world at large about what medical informatics is, and what experts in medical informatics do (and are able to do if given the opportunity). Also, there is confusion as to what medical informatics is not.

"The available quantity of information in most subject areas ("domains") has grown rapidly in recent decades. Issues about information and its use have become quite complex, and the issues themselves have undergone scientific study. Informatics is information science. In other words, informatics is a scientific discipline that studies information and its use.

"Both theoretical and practical issues are studied. Examples of theoretical issues include terminology, semantics (term meaning), term relationships, and information mapping (translation). Practical issues include information capture, indexing, retrieval, interpretation, and dissemination. Medical informatics, an informatics subspecialty, is the scholarly study of these information issues in the domain of biomedicine."

This text is an almost perfect copy of the introduction to Scott Silverstein’s page (

Plagiarism has no place in Medical Informatics, and could harm your career. I would appreciate it if you could rewrite or remove this content on your site

Best Regards 

[Professor name redacted - ed.]

There was other copied material after these paragraphs as well; almost the entire page was my words and ideas.  The page shamelessly concluded with this:

Shamelessly copied from

I do not know how the Australian professor detected the plagiarism, if he had involvement with the fellow, or the context of the interaction.

This fellow had an MBA and the title of his "portfolio" page was about his passion for 'revolutionizing healthcare.'

It's clear he thought his stealing my words and ideas would never be noticed. In other words, exploiting my creativity for his own gain and image-enhancement was fine.

Obviously in our connected world, plagiarism is not a good idea. Perhaps not so obvious are the predatory values of the MBA degree and the damaging effects on all our healthcare when such individuals 'revolutionize' it.

I sent a demand for the material's immediate removal along with a polite suggestion of unpleasantness if he does not comply.

I am not naming the postdoc due to having bigger fish to fry.

-- SS

Update 5/6/2015: 

The fellow has removed about 3/4 of my material from the webpage in question, but a passage remains verbatim.

I've sent another request backed by a screenshot and link to my material, and a rather more direct consequence of failure of complete removal.

Between the IT invasion of health IT and the MBA invasion, perhaps patients need to hire fulltime medical advocates for everything more serious then getting a boil lanced.

-- SS

Additional thought 5/7/2015:

I should add the misleading credentials exaggeration of minimal exposure to informatics (a seminar or AMIA short course at best) leading to a claim of a non-existent "American Medical Informatics Certification for Health Information Technology" by an erstwhile NextGen VP who also apparently holds a MBA with a concentration in Health Administration, see

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