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Heritage Health Prize Awards $500K

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, June 4, 2013

"There's a variety of additional claims and medical record data, still anonymized to that extent, so the patients will only be a number, but a broader set of clinical information that I think will make this much more usable," explained Mark Wagar, president of Heritage Medical Systems. "Those factors are important, as long as you can keep the personal aspect anonymous. They're not going to be able to download [such] data. They'll have to go to a HIPAA-secure Web site."

The prize challenges entrants to create an algorithm that predicts how many days a patient will spend in the hospital. Created, developed and sponsored by Merkin, President and CEO of HPN, the goal of the prize is to decrease the number of avoidable hospitalizations, saving the U.S. more than $40 billion in preventable hospitalization costs.


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


POWERDOT is comprised of data miners, researchers, information analysts, and a hedge fund manager in what Heritage describes as a global union of the world's best data scientists. The team members are former rivals and cash progress prize winners who completed independently at first, but then joined forces last October. They are: 

  • David Vogel, chief scientist of Voloridge Investment Management;
  • Randy Axelrod, MD, executive vice president of the 32-hospital Providence Health & Services system;
  • Rie Johnson, a machine learning researcher;
  • Willem Mestrom, business intelligence specialist at Independer, based in the Netherlands; 
  • Edward de Grijs, an engineer and software developer also from the Netherlands;
  • Tong Zhang, a machine learning researcher;
  • Phil Brierley, analytics consultant with Tiberius Data Mining, based in Australia

Vogel, Axelrod, Brierley and de Grijs accepted the $500,000 check on behalf of the group at the announcement.


Scott Mace is senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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