Saturday, September 24, 2011

Incentivized Innovation using Crowdsourcing

Heritage Provider Network, a California physicians group announced a competition, the goal of which is to develop a predictive algorithm that can identify patients that will be admitted to a hospital within the next year using historical claims data. The competition started on 4 April 2011 and will run until 3 April 2013, grand prize money is $3 million along with milestone prizes totaling $230,000.

Contest entrants will be provided with deidentified Heritage patient records collected over a period of 3 years. The contestants can participate individually or as a member of a Team.

Heritage believes this can be game changing in our efforts to fixing American health care system. In 2006 more than $30 billion was spent in unnecessary hospitalizations. By predicting how many days the patient spends in the hospital, health care providers will be able to take better preventive measures thereby reducing unnecessary hospitalizations. This will be a win-win for both patients and the providers.

Heritage isn't the first to use such incentivized competition approach, applying Internet enabled crowdsourcing to solve complex scientific problems. In 2006, Netflix the online movie rental company held a contest, the goal was to improve their Cinematch recommendation engine accuracy rate by more than 10%. The dataset comprised of 100 million movie ratings from scrubbed clean Netflix customer data. According to the website, 51051 contestants on 41035 teams from 186 countries participated with the winner walking away with a prize money of $1 million in late 2009.

This is truly remarkable as it allows the scientists and researchers from around the world to apply their expertise in solving large-scale predictive modeling to solve problems in various fields of science, commerce and politics.

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