WASHINGTON D.C. - Dec. 6, 2010 - Heritage Provider Network (HPN), an award-winning managed care organization with a focus on the physician-patient relationship, today announced a $3 million competition designed to develop a more accurate way to predict the likelihood of an individual's future hospitalization, thus allowing physicians to target care and avoid unnecessary hospitalizations. 

The Health Prize is part of HPN's ongoing efforts to spur innovations that improve quality and reduce inefficiencies in health care. It is open to teams of participants with diverse experience in analytics and predictive modeling. 

"Ultimately, this prize will help solve a critical issue facing our country: health care spending," said HPN President and CEO Richard Merkin, M.D. "It will help make health care more affordable and help to achieve the goals of health care reform. We spend more than $30 billion a year in unnecessary hospital admissions. If private industry can help solve that part of the problem, we can begin to move from a sick care system to a true health care system." 

Dr. Merkin announced the prize at a news conference today in Washington, D.C., joined by former Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt. "We need innovative thinking to solve one of the biggest dilemmas of our time - ever-rising health care costs. The Health Prize is an example of what the private sector is willing to do to encourage that type of thinking," Leavitt said. 

Participants in the Health Prize challenge will be given a data set comprised of the de-identified medical records of 100,000 individuals who are members of HPN.  The teams will then need to predict the hospitalization of a set percentage of those members who went to the hospital during the year following the start date, and do so with a defined accuracy rate.  The winners will receive the $3 million prize.

Dr. Merkin added that the contest is designed to spur involvement by others involved in analytics, such as those involved in data mining and predictive modeling who may not currently be working in health care.  "We believe that doing so will bring innovative thinking to health analytics and may allow us to solve at least part of the health care cost conundrum," he said.  "Incentivized competition - one that includes the involvement of those with passionate minds that don't know what can't be done - is the best way to achieve the radical breakthroughs and innovations necessary to reform our health care system."

"Health care suffers not from a lack of data, but a lack of data applied in a way that helps improve patient care while lowering costs. This challenge will help fill that gap," said health economics and finance expert Glenn Melnick, Senior Economist at the RAND Corp. and Blue Cross of California Chair of Health Care Finance at the University of Southern California. 

For more information, visit www.theheritagehealthprize.com. 


Heritage Provider Network (HPN) is the largest limited Knox-Keene licensed managed care organization in California.  It provides quality, affordable care to its members, and is on the cutting edge in the development of accountable care organizations. Through innovative programs and services designed specifically for the managed care environment, HPN and its affiliated medical groups have successfully provided care for its members for over 30 years. 


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