Thursday, January 07, 2010

Socky the Meditech Sockpuppet on Vacation?

[Note: this post is written semi-satirically, but the issues it addresses are dead serious.]

It seems Socky the HIT Sockpuppet, a.k.a. anonymous heckler and physician-ridiculer “IT Guy” here as well as "Programmer" at the HIStalk blog, whose psyops appeared to emanate from Massachusetts HIT company Meditech ("over 2,200 customers worldwide"), has disappeared.

I imagine that my post "More on Perversity in the Healthcare IT World: Is Meditech Employing Sockpuppets?" had something to do with the sudden silence.

I'd conducted a forensic exercise in that post using the publicly accessible Sitemeter access logs for this blog. The analysis pointed straight to that company.

Health IT Expert Socky the Sockpuppet!

That HIT company-based trolls would resort to psyops to support diffusion of tools that are eliciting widespread complaints from physicians — about the tool’s interferences with patient care, in fact — and ridicule those physicians is perverse, whether company-sanctioned or not.

It is not uncommon for company competitive intelligence and corporate communications personnel to monitor blogs. Aggregators actually sell information about what's being said in blogs and other new media back to the companies themselves, for enhancing market awareness among other purposes. It would not at all surprise me if companies were resorting to anonymous online harassment of those whose views they do not like.

In the case of HIT, however, everyone reading this could one day be a victim, or have loved ones who could be a victim, of defective health IT.

Imagine, say, Northwest Airlines conducting online psyops to discourage and discredit those fighting for better security screening of passengers.

Would that be perverse enough to attract attention?

By the way, it was rather unthoughtful for the perpetrator to have carried out these activities considering that I had conducted this research (PPT) a few years ago, a fact they might have been aware of if they had bothered to follow the HIT literature.

Anyone listening in the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives? (The visitation logs of this blog also show "hits" from those IP's.) Perhaps you should perform some health IT vendor forensics of your own.

-- SS

1:00 PM Addendum:

Socky, ya still out there? We'd love to hear from you!

Domain Name (Unknown)
IP Address 12.11.157.# (Medical Information Technology) [Meditech - ed.]
ISP AT&T WorldNet Services
Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : Massachusetts
City : Milford
Lat/Long : 42.1544, -71.521 (Map)
Language English (U.S.)
Operating System Microsoft WinXP
Browser Internet Explorer 6.0
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1; GTB6.3; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.0.04506.30; .NET CLR 3.0.04506.648; MS-RTC LM 8)
Javascript version 1.3
Resolution : 1024 x 768
Color Depth : 16 bits
[Who uses 1024x768 @ 16 bit color depth anymore? Can't this rich HIT company afford better? - ed.]

Time of Visit Jan 7 2010 11:28:16 am
Last Page View Jan 7 2010 11:36:41 am
Visit Length 8 minutes 25 seconds
Page Views 2
Referring URL
Visit Entry Page
Visit Exit Page
Out Click News 1/6/10 | HIStalk
Time Zone UTC-5:00
Visitor's Time Jan 7 2010 11:28:16 am
Visit Number 645,750


-- SS

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