Disclaimer: This set of answers is intended to provide general guidance. Please see the “Official Challenge Rules” for details governing the Challenge. In the event of a conflict between this document and the Official Challenge Rules, the Rules shall govern.

1. Who is hosting the challenge

The Massachusetts Healthcare Payment Transparency Challenge is being hosted by the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) and the Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI) at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

CHIA, established in 2012, is an independent state agency charged with monitoring the performance of the Massachusetts health care system. CHIA's mission is to be the agency of record for Massachusetts health care information, to responsibly steward sensitive and confidential data, and to objectively report reliable and meaningful information about the health care quality, affordability, utilization, access, and outcomes. Our vision is a transparent health care system where reliable information provides common ground for improvement and empowers people and organizations to make informed decisions.

MeHI is the Commonwealth’s entity for health care innovation, technology, and competitiveness, and 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. Launched in 2016 by Governor Baker and the Commonwealth’s business and healthcare leaders, one of the Digital Health Initiative’s focus areas is to “partner with state agencies to better capture the ‘big data’ opportunity in healthcare,” which the new data challenge addresses.

2. What the challenge is designed to do

Massachusetts has consistently been a national leader on improving access to health care and addressing the growing cost of care. In an effort to understand the opportunities to further that mission, multiple reports—from the Office of the Attorney General, the Massachusetts Legislature, the Health Policy Commission, the Center for Health Information and Analysis, and the Division of Insurance—have explored the factors contributing to rising health care costs. These reports have found that provider price variation remains a driver of cost growth.

This Challenge is an open call to use a newly available procedure price dataset, derived from health care claims, to offer new insights into the issue of provider price variation in an effort to support a more informed public dialogue about health care costs.

3. More details around the types of submissions you are looking for

We are seeking proposals that demonstrate Entrants’ skills in analytics and data visualization. Entrants are encouraged to submit proposals that speak to issues outlined in existing research on the subject of health care pricing (see links in previous question for a sample) and leverage other relevant datasets (e.g., CMS Hospital Compare, Leapfrog Hospital Survey, AHRQ Patient Safety Indicators).

4. Who is eligible to participate

The Challenge is open to all interested individuals—with limited exceptions outlined below—who are 18 years of age or older as of the date of entry.

Eligible participants currently enrolled as undergraduate, masters or PhD students may enter for consideration in the Best Student Entry category. PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers are ineligible to participate as students; although they are welcome to enter in the other categories. Students may be enrolled part-time or full-time. They can enter as individuals or a team; however, a team may not have more than 50% PhD students.

5. Who is NOT eligible to participate

Employees, officers, directors and contractors of CHIA and MassTech or its subsidiaries or affiliates, and/or any member of their immediate family (i.e., a spouse, parent, grandparent, child or grandchild) or household of any of the foregoing individuals are prohibited from entering the Challenge.

Furthermore, residents of countries, states or other jurisdictions where such challenges are prohibited or restricted may not enter.

6. How to make a submission

To enter, complete all fields on the Official Entry Form on the website. Each Entry should include any supporting material, including diagrams, videos, drawings, etc. Entry is only available online. Submissions in person, by mail or other means will not be accepted. Each Entry must be received during the Challenge Entry Period and must include the following:

  • Title (required)
  • Description of proposal (required)
  • Supplemental presentation materials – e.g., PPT, PDF (optional)
  • Images, diagrams, videos (optional)
  • Relevant external links (optional)
  • Add team members (titles optional)

The individual who submits the Entry will be considered the Team’s leader.

7. If winners can enter another contest

Winners can enter other contests.

8. If there are fees associated with entering the contest

There are no entry fees. Finalists will be asked to travel to the Boston area to make a live presentation. Finalists will be expected to arrange their own transportation and housing.

9. What prizes are available

Prizes will be awarded for each of the following categories:

  • Best Data Visualization: $1,000
  • Best Use of Additional Data Source(s): $1,000
  • Best Student Entry: $1,000
  • Crowd Favorite: $500
  • Overall Winner: $1,500

10. Timeline of the challenge

  • Launch: November 2018
  • Challenge Entry Period ends Thurs. Feb. 28, 2019 at 10:59 p.m.
  • Challenge Judging Period ends TBA
  • Finalists for Overall Winner announced TBA
  • The Challenge Live Presentation TBA (announcement of Overall Winner)

11. How voting works

CHIA and MeHI will be responsible for selecting a panel of Judges.

Awardees for Best Data Visualization, Best Use of Additional Data Source(s), and Best Student Entry will be determined based on Judge scoring alone.

The crowd favorite will be determined through your voting on this platform. Please share and invite your colleagues, friends, and family to help you win! An individual can vote once in crowd favorite voting. Multiple votes by the same person, votes using fraudulent or false social media profiles, votes by bots or other automated means or any other fraudulent activity can be grounds for disqualification.

The four winners will be invited to present at the Live Pitch Off Event to compete for the overall prize.

12. If commenting on submissions is available

The public will be invited to vote and comment on each Entry. Unless a comment is deemed by the Challenge administrator to be offensive or in poor taste, public comments will be posted.

13. Where the live event will be

The details of the Live Pitch Off Event will be forthcoming. An event will be held in the Boston area.

14. Intellectual rights

By submitting an Entry, you warrant and represent that you either own the intellectual property rights to the Entry or have appropriate licensing rights that allow you to submit an Entry.

Because all Qualified Entries will be published on the Challenge website, all Entrants should secure the IP rights to their Entry before entering the Challenge.

Entrants will continue to own the IP rights to their entries. CHIA and MeHI only ask that Entrants give the AMA a worldwide, perpetual, non-revocable license to post the Qualified Entry on the Challenge website.

At the Challenge administrator’s discretion, an Entry whose ownership is claimed by a third party may be (a) disqualified; (b) allowed to compete or (c) held in suspension while the Challenge administrator considers the matter.

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