IBM, Mayo Clinic, Geisinger among 25 finalists for $1.6M CMS artificial intelligence challenge

Out of more than 300 artificial intelligence proposals, the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) picked 25 organizations for the next stage of its AI challenge including IBM, Booz Allen Hamilton and Mayo Clinic.

The organizations are competing for a $1 million prize to develop the best tool for predicting patient health outcomes. 

CMS says the AI challenge, which launched in March, will accelerate the development of AI solutions that aid clinicians in predicting health outcomes and keeping patients healthy. The central goal is to develop AI-driven predictions healthcare providers and clinicians participating in CMS Innovation Center models can use, CMS officials said.

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The challenge was created in partnership with the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

The AI challenge, open to innovators from all sectors, drew submissions from health systems, technology vendors such as KenSci and global aerospace and defense technology company Northrop Grumman Corporation.

“Artificial intelligence is a vehicle that can help drive our system to value—proven to reduce out-of-pocket costs and improve quality. It holds the potential to revolutionize healthcare: Imagine a doctor being able to predict health outcomes—such as a hospital admission—and to intervene before an illness strikes,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “The participants in our AI Challenge demonstrate that such possibilities will soon be within reach."

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Last year, Google, in collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco, released a study that found its AI-based software was more effective at predicting patient outcomes than other methods currently available.

For the challenge, a group of technical evaluators comprised of data science experts, healthcare data specialists and clinical care providers evaluated the applications, and a CMS selection panel chose 25 participants to advance to stage one of the challenge. 

From these 25 participants, up to seven will move on as finalists to the second stage, be awarded $60,000 each and receive an opportunity to further refine their algorithms and solutions using additional CMS data sets, agency officials said.

CMS will announce the stage two finalists next year. At the conclusion of the challenge, a grand prize winner will receive $1 million, and the runner-up will receive $230,000.