A team from Oklahoma State University won the $4,000 first place prize in the 2022 Big Data Health Science Virtual Student Case Competition that focused on solving inappropriate hospitalizations using a data analytics approach.

As part of the University of South Carolina’s 2022 National Big Data Health Science Conference, UofSC Big Data Health Science Center (BDHSC) held the 3rd Annual Big Data Health Science Case Competition virtually on February 4-6, 2022.

The Big Data Health Science Case Competition aims to provide enthusiastic teams of graduate and undergraduate students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge to the analysis of big datasets in healthcare. In its third year, the competition attracted 17 teams from 10 major universities in the U.S. including University of South Carolina, Boston University, College of Charleston, Oklahoma State University, Oregon Institute of Technology, University of Connecticut, University of Minnesota Duluth, Temple University and Yale University.

This year’s challenge focused on solving inappropriate hospitalizations using a data analytics approach. Each participating team analyzed the case and datasets. They have been provided with the international statistical classification of diseases and related health problems (ICD-10) codes for ACSCs. Competitors were also provided data that contains all information about statewide inpatient hospitalizations for calendar years 2016,2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. Moreover, each team was given 24 hours to devise a solution for the case (February 5th [1st round] and 6th, 2022 [finals].  During this period, the teams were asked to identify the true proportion of false hospitalizations occurring overall and during each year in the data and to provide the parameter (s) or decision rules that guide this classification. 

The teams implemented their best algorithm in a hospital setting to help the hospital avoid inappropriate hospitalizations. Each team presentation was judged by a panel of three to seven judges. These judges were composed of 14 representatives from industry and academia. After the preliminary round presentations, 5 teams competed in the final round. The 2022 Big Data Health Science Virtual Student Case Competition was open to undergraduate and graduate students at United States colleges and universities. The teams’ presentations were judged based on the following criteria: 1) Organization and Presentation of Facts, 2) Accuracy, 3) Relevance, 4) Case Objectives Met, 5) Professional Appearance and Timeliness, and 6) Ability to Answer Judges’ Questions. 

Dr. Bankole Olatosi, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the MHA program in the Department of Health Services Policy & Management at the Arnold School of Public Health and a faculty associate of CHQ at the University of South Carolina, announced the winners at his opening and welcome remarks of the UofSC National Big Data Health Science Conference on February 11, 2022. Max Griffin, Srishti Srivastava, and Kalbe Agharia from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, won the top prize of $4,000. The second-place prize of $3,000 was awarded to Hoa Vo, Lynde Lutzow, and Josh Carleton from Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, while Daniel Pak, Yaroslav Markov, and Vimig Socrates from Yale University, New Haven, CT, won the third-place prize of $2,000.

Additionally, the teams of Channing Smith, Ben Gonzalez, and Molly Moloney from the College of Charleston, and Madhusree Chowdhury, Haneesha Balireddy, and Ping-Hsuan Chiang from the University of Connecticut received honorable mentions and a $500 prize for their participation as finalists at the 2022 Big Data Health Science Virtual Student Case Competition. 

The competition provided students with an opportunity to present their analysis, and recommendations to a broad panel of judges consisting of academia, business and the healthcare industry. 

This competition was the most fun I’ve had while losing sleep in quite some time! I really enjoyed working within a multidisciplinary team to better understand how to solve healthcare problems using real-world data. The judges provided earnest, actionable feedback and it was a great learning opportunity,said Lutzow. It was very exciting to see that leaders in diverse fields were able to join the competition to contribute meaningful perspectives and feedback. It is not often that students get to be a part of such an integrative environment,” added Pak 

The Big Data Health Science Case Competition is designed to be a hands-on experience that tests the students’ analytical, teamwork, communication, and presentation skills in order to build a talent pipeline in big data health science.

“I would like to thank University of South Carolina for giving me the opportunity to participate in this competition and work on real-world data. It was a great experience that helped me put my classroom learning into practice. I really enjoyed working with an amazing team and learned how to deliver work within a given timeframe,” added Srivastava. Not only does the competition focus on data analysis using current technology tools, but it is also about the application of the data into the real world,” shared Vo. “This year’s competition was challenging and interesting, focusing on the real-world clinical problem of inappropriate hospitalizations and the real-world technical problem of managing and analyzing very large sets of data. The intersection of the two, of course, is where so much potential lives for all of us to ensure we can derive knowledge and wisdom from our data to better outcomes and processes. This competition provided the opportunity to do just that.,” told Carleton. Overall, this has been an enlightening experience and we thank USC and the team for having us in your competition, said Agharia.  

About BDHSC:

The University of South Carolina Big Data Health Science Center (BDHSC), as one of UofSC’s Excellence Initiatives, serves as a campus-wide interdisciplinary enterprise that conducts cutting-edge research and discovery, offers professional development and academic training, and provides service to the community and industry. The BDHSC consists of five content cores (Bionanomaterials Core, Electronic Health Records Core, Genomics Core, Geospatial Core, and Social Media Core) and two functional hubs (Technology Hub and Business/Entrepreneurship Hub) that promote the utilization of Big Data analytics in health-related research, service, and academic training. The combination of BDHSC Cores and Hubs represents a paradigm shift from traditional academic research to a focus on engagement and collaboration between academia, industry and community.

The leadership structure of the BDHSC follows a team science approach with two MPIs (Xiaoming Li and Bankole Olatosi). The BDHSC is based on a strong leadership team with a strong campus-wide representation of more than 40 faculty/staff from different departments and colleges/units, UofSC’s existing strengths in data science and health sciences, and innovative approaches that ensure optimal functionality and sustainability. The BDHSC is governed by a Steering Committee and supported by Internal and External Advisory Committees.

About the University of South Carolina National Big Data Health Science Conference:

The Big Data Health Science Conference is a signature annual event of the UofSC Big Data Health Science Center (BDHSC). The theme of the 2022 conference is “Unlocking the Power of Big Data in Health: Developing an Interdisciplinary Response for Health Equity.” Highlights of the virtual conference include keynote and panel speakers from diverse areas of the health sciences, government, and academia as well as poster sessions, networking events, and breakout sessions in areas of electronic health records, geospatial, social media, genomics, and bionanomaterials research. The Conference was held virtually on February 11 12, 2022. More information is available at https://www.sc-bdhs-conference.org/

A Special Thanks to Our Judges!

Each team presentation was judged by a panel of three to seven judges. Each judging panel was composed of industry and academic representatives. The BDHSC would like to thank our judges for lending their expertise, this competition would not have been possible without them! 

Industry and Government 

Mr. Jim Box, Principal Data Scientist, SAS Institute 

Dr. Sue Haddock, Retired, former VA Chair, Board of Directors, Dorn Research Institute  

Dr. Susan Burroughs, Chief Operating Officer Kershaw Health Medical Center  

Mr. Jay Hamm, VP Operations LMCDr.

Aunyika Moonan, Executive Director Data & Measurement, South Carolina Hospital Association  

Academia (External) 

Dr. Carla Sampson, Clinical Associate Professor, Director of Healthcare Programs, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University  

Academia (Internal) 

Dr. Neset Hikmet  

Dr. Songhua Xu  

Dr. Forest Agostinelli 

Dr. Homay Valafar  

Dr. Theo Giannouchos 

Dr. Elizabeth Reagan 

Dr. Beverly Wright