Two Massachusetts public agencies, the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MeHI) and the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA), have come together to sponsor the inaugural “Massachusetts Healthcare Payment Transparency Challenge.”
Earlier this year, CHIA released to the public a dataset containing an unprecedented amount of data on the cost of medical procedures. The dataset contains the average amount paid to each provider by commercial plans for 295 of the most common outpatient procedures such as x-rays, MRIs, office visits, and blood tests.
Through the Challenge, CHIA and MeHI hope participants can identify innovative ways to use this data to provide healthcare cost transparency to educate consumers and inform Massachusetts policymakers. Entrants are encouraged to use this data to help people understand issues outlined in existing research on the subject of healthcare pricing and leverage other relevant datasets (e.g., CMS Hospital Compare, Leapfrog Hospital Survey, AHRQ Patient Safety Indicators).
The open call for submissions will close on Thursday, February 28, 2019 at 10:59 p.m.
One finalist will be selected from each of four categories: best data visualization, best use of additional data sources, best student entry, and crowd favorite.
The first three categories will be based on judge scoring alone, while the crowd favorite will be determined through voting on Medstro.com. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m., Thursday, March 14, 2019 and is open to colleagues, family, and friends.
The four finalists will then be invited to present at the Live Pitch Off Event to compete for $5,000 in cash prizes.
Eligible participants currently enrolled as undergraduate, masters, or Ph.D. students may enter for consideration in the ‘Best Student Entry’ category. Students may be enrolled part time or full time and can enter as individuals or as a team, which may not include more than 50 percent Ph.D. students. Although doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers are ineligible to participate as students, they can enter any other category.
“Our objective with the competition is to leverage broader expertise to gain new insights and support a more informed public dialogue about healthcare costs,” said Ray Campbell, Executive Director of CHIA.
“As the Commonwealth’s entity supporting healthcare innovation, technology, and competitiveness, MeHI is excited to partner with CHIA on this initiative,” added Laurance Stuntz, Director of MeHI. “This challenge builds on our efforts capture the big data opportunity in healthcare and to make the Commonwealth a global leader in digital health innovation.”
CHIA, established in 2012, is an independent state agency charged with monitoring the performance of the Massachusetts healthcare system. CHIA’s mission is to be the agency of record for Massachusetts healthcare information, to responsibly steward sensitive and confidential data, and to objectively report reliable and meaningful information about the healthcare quality, affordability, utilization, access, and outcomes.
MeHI partners with industry, government, and healthcare organizations to support the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative on behalf of Governor Charlie Baker. MeHI also helps the Commonwealth’s providers harness the benefits of electronic health records and the Mass HIway, the statewide health information exchange. As part of this effort, MeHI works with stakeholders to ensure that patients have access to their data and become active and engaged participants in managing their health.
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