- CMS on Wednesday kicked off an artificial intelligence challenge in partnership with the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to refine the agency's predictive modeling practices and improve health outcomes.
- The initiative, which promises awards up to $1.65 million, will pit cross-sector participants against one another to develop algorithms that can predict health outcomes. CMS Administrator Seema Verma said the challenge is an opportunity for developers to demonstrate how AI tools like deep learning and neural networks can be used to predict unplanned admissions and adverse events.
- TheArtificial Intelligence Health Outcomes Challenge will run for one year. Only 20 participants will be selected for the the first stage of the competition, set to begin on July 19.
The bid comes on the heels of President Donald Trump's executive order last month directing government agencies to prioritize and set aside funds for artificial intelligence programs. The initiative was teased by Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation chief Adam Boehler at HIMSS in February as a way to incentivize private market activity.
Participants in the first stage of the challenge will work with Medicare fee-for-service data, devising new AI methodologies that can improve health outcomes and "explain the artificial intelligence-driven predictions to frontline clinicians and physicians while building trust in the data," according to CMS.
We’re excited to officially announce the A.I. Challenge to help launch innovation into our #healthcare system! Hear how you can join the challenge: https://t.co/5DyHxqa8zu #CMSAIChallenge pic.twitter.com/mmixNhEVYw— Administrator Seema Verma (@SeemaCMS) March 27, 2019
AAFP's chief medical informatics officer Steven Waldren previewed the Academy's AI-related activity for the year in January, saying in a Q&A that the organization's board has authorized the funding of challenge programs over "the next couple of years."
"We'd love to have five or six companies competing to deliver the best self-documenting record to tens of thousands of family physicians," he said.
Verma said the goal of the initiative is to enable providers to spend more face-time with their patients.
"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," Verma said in a statement. "The power of artificial intelligence will truly be unleashed when providers understand and trust the data and predictions."
Of the 20 participants selected for Stage 1, only five will make it to Stage 2 and be awarded as much as $80,000. The grand prize winner in Stage 2 will land up to $1 million, with the runner up taking home $250,000. The submission deadline for the challenge is June 18.