Friday, February 4, 2011

HPN Health Prize: The X-Prize of Health Care

The Heritage Provider Network (HPN) Health Prize is the hot contest for analytics specialists, data miners, and computer programmers.


The $3 million prize is three times the size of the famous Netflix Prize. But with the HPN Health Prize, there’s more than the cash award, there’s knowing the social benefits will touch more than people looking to watch a movie.

The prize seeks to have teams create an algorithm that predicts who will be hospitalized in the near future. If doctors can predict that, it’s more likely they can intervene and prevent the hospitalization from occurring. 

This will 1) increase the quality of care received by the patient and 2) decrease health care costs.

The prize seeks to broaden the scope of those involved in health analytics beyond those currently seeking solutions to health care problems.  The prize hopes to spur involvement by others involved in analytics: data miners and predictive modelers who may not currently be working in the health care field. Fresh perspectives can spur new innovations.

We’re looking for analytics wizards, statistical ninjas, and programming gurus to form teams and go after the $3 million prize.

Each team of participants will be given a data set comprised of the de-identified medical records of 100,000 individuals. This data set will include everything from prior hospitalizations, to specialist visits, to prescriptions taken, etc. Teams will sift through the data and find patterns that can be used to predict what patients will need hospitalization.

Tentatively, the teams will need to predict the hospitalization of 85% of those members who went to the hospital during the year following the start date, with an accuracy rate of 95% (so teams don’t predict that "everyone" went to the hospital).  The $3 million prize will be awarded to the winners.

To learn more, visit the Prize website at  You can also get updates on Facebook and Twitter. The website will be used to communicate with participating teams and track the progress of the competition. So far we have over 475 teams that have signed up.

Dr. Richard Merkin, CEO of Heritage Provider Network and the creator of the HPN Health Prize thinks prizes like this will “change the world.” We want as many talented people as possible to help make that change. Sign up your team today.

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