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The Heritage Provider Network (HPN), The Advisory Board Company, and the Bipartisan Policy Center have launched a national contest to help tackle the most daunting data problems facing health care organizations across the United States as they implement new delivery system and payment reforms.

The goal of the Care Transformation Prize Series is to help health care organizations large and small more effectively use "big data" to drive improvements in health and health care.

Faced with continued concerns about rising health care costs and uneven quality, the federal government, states, and private sector are rapidly adopting new models of delivery and payment that promise to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care.

Hospitals, health plans, physician practices, and post-acute care providers are being asked to provide higher quality care while lowering costs. Successfully doing so requires access to and analysis of large data sets to predict, identify interventions for, and assess cost and quality outcomes for patient populations. Most health care organizations, however, have little knowledge or expertise on how to leverage and analyze the clinical data sets now being developed as the result of an increasingly digitized U.S. health care system.

Through the Care Transformation Prize Series, we are issuing a call for the most pressing questions or challenges facing health care organizations today.  A Prize Board, made up of prominent health care leaders will determine which challenges a team of the best and brightest data scientists in the nation will tackle.

With support from Dr. Richard Merkin’s Heritage Health Prize Series and The Advisory Board Company, prizes will be awarded to the teams that develop the best solutions. The winning algorithms will be made publicly available.

The Care Transformation Prize Series is the latest competition sponsored by Dr. Richard Merkin in HPN’s ongoing efforts to spur innovations that improve quality and reduce inefficiencies in health care.

On the day the prize series is announced, there will begin a four-month long submission period during which entities can submit questions they would like solved through advanced data analytics. Toward the end of that period, the judges will gather to choose the first, second and third place questions to be answered. Once the judges have chosen the winning question, the data experts will examine the data set that the entity submitting the winning question proposes be used to formulate the answer to be sure that there is sufficient data to run the competition. If there is not sufficient data we would move to the second place question, and so on.

At the end of the four-month period the question to be solved will be publicly announced, and the data analysis experts will begin working to solve the question. The competition phase will likewise last four months and at the end of the four-month period, the winner of phase one of the challenge will be announced.

Meanwhile, as soon as the first question to be solved is publicly announced, the submission phase for the second question to be solved will begin. In other words, while the competition phase for the first question is ongoing, entities will be submitting questions to be solved in the second phase of the prize series. Just as in the first phase, the submission period for the second question will last four months. After the four-month submission period is up, the four-month competition period for the second question will begin, and so on for the third phase of the competition.

Thus, the entire challenge series will last at least 16 months. Structuring the series so there is always a question being solved, while at the same time additional questions are being submitted, should serve to increase the visibility of the prize series and keep the health care and data mining communities engaged.

Data Use

The intent of the prize series is to provide data scientists with the most robust data set possible, so that they can find the most accurate solution to the question posed. For this reason, if any data set that is to be used to solve a problem includes protected health information, the following steps will be taken to assure that its use is compliant with the HIPAA privacy laws: 1) the data will be stripped of all personal information, such that the data set would be considered a Limited Data Set; 2) the information will not be downloadable by the competing data scientists, but instead will remain in a secure environment on the server of the entity running the prize; 3) the individuals able to participate in that specific segment of the prize competition series will be limited to a subset of those individuals who participated in the Heritage Health Prize competition, primarily those who finished toward the top of the final leaderboard; and 4) those individuals permitted to participate will be required to sign an agreement prohibiting re-identification of the data.

If the segment of the prize series does not involve protected health information, the data will be available to all, and will be able to be downloaded by the competing data scientists to work on their personal computers. Such scientists will also be asked to contractually commit not to re-identify the data.

Calling on Health Care Organizations to Submit Questions: What’s Your Biggest Challenge and Can It be Solved Through the Use of Data?

Faced with continued concerns about rising health care costs and uneven quality, new delivery system and payment models are now emerging, sponsored by the federal government, the private sector, and states.

Health care organizations participating in these new models, including hospitals, health plans, physician practices, and post-acute care providers, must find ways to successfully access and analyze a wide range of electronic data sets coming from multiple sources in order to predict outcomes, identify appropriate interventions, and measure progress.

We are inviting all health care organizations to submit their most challenging questions that rely upon data for a solution.

We intend to publish the submitted questions on this site (without identifying the individual or organization that submitted the question) with the goal of spurring innovative solutions, problem-solving, and sharing of ideas across the field.

The Care Transformation Prize Board, made up of prominent health care leaders will select the set of questions to be solved by a range of data scientists who will compete for a prize. Prizes will go to the teams that develop the algorithms that best solve the questions.

Criteria for Selection

The Care Transformation Prize Board will select the questions to be solved by a range of data scientists, using the following criteria:

  • Impact: How significantly does the question presented impact the health of individuals and/or communities? What is the potential for a solution to lead to higher quality and more cost-effective care for a larger segment of the population, i.e., to what extent does it fulfill the triple aim?
  • Focused Nature of the Solution: Does the question presented realistically lend itself to a data-driven solution? In other words, questions such as “how do we fix health care in the United States?” will not be seriously considered.
  • Availability of Data to Solve the Problem: To what extent is data available to be used by the data scientists to answer the question, whether the data is provided by the entity or individual submitting the question, or through other available data sets?