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Big Data Contest Looks to Solve Healthcare Puzzles

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, April 18, 2013

Healthcare innovators looking to fuel their big data analytics dreams have a new source of inspiration – and money.

The Care Transformation Prize Series will provide at least three quarterly prizes of $100,000 to the teams that develop the best solutions to challenges to be selected by the public and vetted by a panel of judges.

If it sounds a little like the Heritage Health Prize, the winner of which will be announced this June, that's probably because like that other competition, the leader of the Care Transformation Prize Series is Richard Merkin, MD, president and CEO of Heritage Provider Network.

The new national contest is co-sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center, which announced the initiative this week with introductory remarks by BPC health project co-chair and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. The Advisory Board Company is also a co-sponsor.


See Also: $3 Million Health Puzzler Draws to a Close


In a phone interview, Merkin said the new competition leverages the community of big-thinking scientists who were attracted to the original Heritage Health Prize.

"There are so many other issues in healthcare, so we decided to bring it to Washington to open up the questions that people want to know the answers to," Merkin says. "We are asking the country to ask questions that they may be interested in, such as what is the difference between prenatal care and low birth weight babies in Virginia versus Arkansas. Why is it that Connecticut might have a much lower knee replacement than Boston, or why do they do more hip replacements at Yale than they do at Harvard?"

"We're asking what questions America wants answered," he said.

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