Research Partnership Announces Competition Winners

Research Partnership Announces Competition Winners


OMOP Cup Challenged Contestants to Develop Algorithms to Improve Drug Safety

BETHESDA, MD, May 24, 2010 — ­The Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership (OMOP) today announced the winners of its OMOP Cup methods competition, which featured two separate challenges designed to help predict associations between therapeutic drugs and medical outcomes (or adverse events). It encouraged participation from researchers of many fields and entities—both public and private.

Ensuring the safety of prescription drugs is essential but challenging. OMOP is a public-private partnership created to determine whether existing health care data—such as electronic health records or insurance claims—can be employed to identify potential drug risks. The ability to use large health care data sources and efficient and effective statistical tools to analyze them to solve drug safety concerns has been lacking. The OMOP Cup sought to fill that gap.

OMOP is a two-year project funded through, and managed by, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. OMOP draws on the expertise and resources of the pharmaceutical industry, the Food and Drug Administration, other federal agencies, academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations to improve the monitoring of drugs for safety and benefits.

For the competition, OMOP provided a data set of hypothetical records for competitors to use in creating their analysis methods. The first challenge rewarded best overall performance, while the second looked at performance over time, as data accumulated. Entries were scored on how accurately they distinguished between “true” drug-event relationships and “negative” controls.

Although only U.S. competitors were eligible for prizes, individuals and teams from around the world—69 in all—participated in the challenges. Twenty-one beat OMOP’s own internal benchmarks.

The $10,000 prize for Challenge 1 went to David Vogel of Data Mining Solutions. The top-performing method for Challenge 1 was developed by Martijn Schuemie of Erasmus University in the Netherlands.

A University of Iowa health informatics team comprising Lian Duan, Mohammad Khoshneshin, Si-Chi Chin and Nick Street won the $5,000 prize for Challenge 2. The top-performing method for Challenge 2 was developed by Vladimir Nikulin of University of Queensland, Australia.

“The competitors applied an extraordinarily diverse set of technical approaches, and many of their novel ideas may well represent important new directions for methods research in this area,” said David Madigan, Professor of Statistics at Columbia University and an OMOP Investigator.

The competition opened last September and closed March 31st. To maintain momentum for the complex work, OMOP also awarded prizes for early progress. Those whose results were promising will be invited to participate on the OMOP methods development team to implement and test their methods.

Much of the OMOP work product is already in the public domain, and eventually all OMOP results will be made public in accordance with the public health mission of the partnership. These will include comprehensive reports on scientific and technical findings, lessons learned, and peer-reviewed articles on specific experimental findings by sponsored investigators.

For more information:

Press Contact:
Riachard Folkers
Director, Communications
[email protected]


About the Foundation for NIH
The Foundation for NIH was established by the United States Congress to support the mission of the NIH — improving health through scientific discovery. The foundation identifies and develops opportunities for innovative public-private partnerships involving industry, academia, and the philanthropic community. A not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation, the Foundation raises private-sector funds for a broad portfolio of unique programs that complement and enhance NIH priorities and activities. The foundation’s website address is

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