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$3 Million Prize Offered to Solve Hospital Admissions Puzzle

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 30, 2010

"By bringing people into industries or having them develop industries that did not exist through incentives like this, I thought that maybe I too could modestly change the world."

There will be an entry fee of up to $400, which a Heritage spokeswoman says is necessary to assemble the database and make sure contestants are serious about the project.
 
Merkin says the database qualifying entrants will receive includes claims information, lab and pharmacy data, hospitalizations, and diagnostic history for 100,000 real but de-identified patients seen in 2009.

They will then develop an algorithm to predict which patients were hospitalized.

The contestants will not receive information on the patient's race, ethnicity, weight, age, socioeconomic level or geographic area of residence, which makes the job even tougher.
 
After the contestants have shown the contest judges that they have developed a viable algorithm, they will then be provided information on a second set of patients. This second set, however, will not include information on whether the patients were hospitalized.  Then, the judges will see if the contestants' algorithm applied to this second set can accurately predict hospitalization.

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9 comments on "$3 Million Prize Offered to Solve Hospital Admissions Puzzle"


Rebecca Mitchell (2/6/2011 at 12:53 PM)
@Roy: I couldn't agree more, as a doctor I don't know how I could possibly make admission decisions without a patient's age and weight, they lead to entirely different differentials for what could be happening. (ie, skinny child likely has gastric reflux, whereas obese sixty year old is having a heart attack). Also this problem is already being addressed but not funded elsewhere, as discussed by Atul Gawande recently: http://bit.ly/g3B4Wr Also 3 mill is a paltry sum compared to what this is worth-how about instead providing start up capitol to a few of the best and the brightest to tackle the question? (ie Y Combinator)

Heidi Kirsch (2/5/2011 at 2:26 PM)
One of the most important variables that COULD be utilized to account for the dynamic "human component" is missing from consideration. It's so simplistically obvious, I'm surprised it has been overlooked in any of the efforts I can reseach for reference. I plan to pursue exploration of this through other channels.

Quinn (2/2/2011 at 1:21 PM)
The real question is whether "human doctors" are more accurate? Apparently, they are terribly inaccurate. So if doctors are only 50% correct in evaluating a patient for admission, wouldn't 80% be better? Overworked physicians are no good at accuracy.