HHS Announces Synthetic Health Data Challenge Winners


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today announced $100,000 in total awards to six winners of the Synthetic Health Data Challenge (Challenge).

Synthetic health data is data that is artificially created to mimic real-world data, and it’s important to researchers, health IT developers, and informaticians, among others, who need data to test new ideas until access to secure and actual clinical data is available.

The Challenge was conducted under ONC’s Synthetic Health Data Generation to Accelerate Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) project, which is supported by HHS’ Office of the Secretary Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund. Challenge winners created and tested innovative and novel solutions that will further augment the capabilities of Synthea™, an open-source synthetic health data generator that models the medical histories of synthetic patients. The availability of reliable and robust synthetic data generation tools safeguard patient privacy because they support appropriate stewardship practices in which real patient data is only accessed and used when necessary.

“The availability of realistic, synthetic data is a vital part of supporting iterative testing models and early stage research and product development,” said Steve Posnack, deputy national coordinator for health information technology. “We received a lot of inspired submissions that took this work to the next level and hope that each winner can serve as a foundation to further enhance tools that create synthetic data.”

The Synthetic Health Data Challenge winning solutions are:

First Place (one winner; the award for first place is $40,000)

Medication Diversification Tool

  • Category I: Enhancements to Synthea™
  • Code Rx: Joseph LeGrand (team leader); Kent Bridgeman, Kristen Tokunaga, Robert Hodges, Dalton Fabian, and Yevgeny (Eugene) Bulochnik

Second Place (two winners; the award for second place is $15,000 each)

Virtual Generalist: Modeling Co-morbidities in SyntheaTM>

  • Category I: Enhancements to Synthea™
  • Generalistas: Robert Horton (team leader); John-Mark Agosta, Benjamin Dummitt; Brandon DeShon; Katherine Gundling; and Jason Dausman
On Improving Realism of Disease Modules in SyntheaTM: Social Determinant- Based Enhancements to Conditional Transition Logic
  • Category I: Enhancements to Synthea™
  • LMI: Brant Horio (team leader), Gregory Pekar, Simon Whittle, Maureen Merkl, and Linna Qiao
Third Place (three winners; the award for third place is $10,000 each)
The Necessity of Realistic Synthetic Health Data Development Environments
  • Category II: Novel Uses of Synthea™ Generated Synthetic Data
  • Particle Health: Parker Bannister
Empirical Inference of Underlying Condition Probabilities Using SyntheaTM Generated Synthetic Health Data
  • Category II: Novel Uses of Synthea™ Generated Synthetic Data
  • TeMa#1: Michael D. Teter, (team leader) and Christopher E. Marks
Spatiotemporal Big Data Analysis of Opioid Epidemic in Illinois
  • Category II: Novel Uses of Synthea™ Generated Synthetic Data
  • UI Health: Arash Jalali (team leader) and Sean Huang

Join us at the Winning Solutions Webinar   on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 12:00 PM ET. Registration required.

For more information about the Synthetic Health Data Generation to Accelerate PCOR project and the Synthetic Health Data Challenge Winning Solutions, go to https://www.healthit.gov/topic/research-evaluation/synthetic-health-data-generation-accelerate-patient-centered-outcomes.

For more information about ONC’s portfolio of PCOR projects go to https://healthit.gov/pcor.