Dr. Richard Merkin, President and CEO of Heritage Provider Network, has announced sponsoring the “Go Viral To Improve Health” prize competition with the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering in Washington, DC.

“Go Viral To Improve Health” challenges undergraduate and graduate students to create innovative health-related apps, encouraging students to work in interdisciplinary teams and transform health data into mobile apps, online tools or games, or other innovative products that solve vexing health problems.

The team that designs the best product will receive a $10,000 prize sponsored by Heritage Provider Network and the opportunity to demonstrate their app during the plenary session of Health Datapalooza, the third Health Data Initiative Forum, June 5-6, Washington, D.C.

“I’m delighted to present this challenging opportunity to students,” said Dr. Merkin. “We need their creativity and input to help solve the country’s current healthcare crises. I’m more than happy to encourage their participation and ideas.”

This is the second prize competition Dr. Merkin is sponsoring in HPN’s ongoing efforts to spur innovations that improve quality and reduce inefficiencies in health care. The $3million Heritage Health Prize is the world’s largest predictive modeling contest, challenging entrants to create an algorithm that predicts how many days a patient will spend in the hospital.

The goal is to decrease the number of avoidable hospitalizations, saving the country $32 billion in avoidable hospitalization costs. Currently, the prize has over 10,000 entries from all over the world representing many different sectors, working together to solve the healthcare crises. The prize is larger than the Nobel Prize for Medicine and the Gates Health Prize.

“It is important to me to continue our efforts to motivate those who are interested in these types of competitions,” added Dr. Merkin. “ They are the ones who will develop new ideas that can help transform healthcare data into real, working solutions, improving healthcare and changing the world through healthcare delivery.”