Expert-to-expert innovation through data collaboration wins Heritage prize 

Randy Axelrod, MD, Executive Vice President of Clinical Services for Providence Health & Services, has won top honors from the Heritage Provider Network (HPN) competition to decrease patient hospital stays. Dr. Axelrod and his team members received the award at the Health Datapalooza Forum in Washington, DC on June 3, 2013. Dr. Axelrod is one of seven members of team POWERDOT who competed against more than 39,000 entries from 40 different countries.

 The prize challenges entrants to create an algorithm that predicts how many days a patient will spend in the hospital. Created, developed and sponsored by Dr. Richard Merkin, President and CEO of HPN, the goal of the prize is to decrease the number of avoidable hospitalizations, saving the country more than $40 billion in preventable hospitalization costs.

 “What the contest and results prove are two main themes,” said Dr. Axelrod,  “expert-to-expert collaboration is the only way to solve some of the complex problems in health care today. The other is our need as health care professionals to engage other professionals in helping solve the problems. I plan to engage members of the POWERDOT team to assist us with the challenges within Providence including readmissions and risk prediction in many critical areas.”

 POWERDOT is comprised of data miners, researchers, information analysts, and a hedge fund manager in what Heritage describes as a global union of the world's best data scientists. POWERDOT team members include David Vogel , Chief Scientist of Voloridge Investment Management, Rie Johnson, a machine learning researcher, Willem Mestrom, Business Intelligence specialist at Independer, from the Netherlands, Edward de Grijs , an engineer and software developer also from the Netherlands, Tong Zhang, a machine learning researcher, and Phil Brierley , Analytics Consultant, Tiberius Data Mining from Australia. 

POWERDOT received a cash prize of $500,000 for their efforts. Dr. Axelrod donated his portion of the prize money to the team to support continued research.

Read the complete press release.