CMS launches $1.65M AI challenge

CMS has launched an AI challenge that’s incentivizing innovators to develop solutions for a range of administrative challenges, like predicting unplanned hospital admissions and adverse events, the agency announced March 27.

CMS is partnering with the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation for the contest, which will award a total $1.65 million in prizes.

“The Artificial Intelligence Health Outcomes Challenge is an opportunity for innovators to demonstrate how artificial intelligence tools—such as deep learning and neural networks—can be used to predict unplanned hospital and skilled nursing facility admissions and adverse events,” Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “For artificial intelligence to be successful in healthcare, it must not only enhance the predictive ability of illnesses and diseases, but also enable providers to focus more time with patients.

“The power of artificial intelligence will truly be unleashed when providers understand and trust the data and predictions.”

The AI solutions developed by the challenge’s winners could potentially be used by CMS’ Innovation Center to test payment and service delivery models under the authority of section 1115A of the Social Security Act, according to the release. For that reason, contest officials will prioritize explainable AI techniques that front-line clinicians will be able to understand.

The Health Outcomes Challenge began in March and is expected to last about a year. The first of three stages, the launch stage, is underway right now and involves participants submitting an application and providing information about their proposed solution. Up to 20 entries will be hand-picked to advance to Stage 1 in June, which runs from summer through fall and requires participants to design and test their model using Medicare claims data sets. Up to five finalists will advance to Stage 2, where they’ll refine their solutions for a shot at the $1 million grand prize in April 2020.

There will be $1.65 million up for grabs throughout the competition. While the winner and runner-up will take home $1.25 million of the total, any of the five finalists can receive awards of up to $80,000.

Interested participants can register for the challenge and submit their solutions here.