• AMIA Symposium Student Design Challenge

AMIA 2016 Student Design Challenge Call for Participation

Engaging Providers and Patients in Precision Medicine

AMIA is pleased to announce the 4th Annual Student Design Challenge (SDC). In this challenge, we invite teams of graduate students from different scientific disciplines and of various backgrounds to propose creative solutions to a specified problem related to healthcare.

We seek novel solutions that incorporate cutting edge computational and interactive technologies and take advantage of the considerable advances in such research areas as

  • biomedical informatics
  • human-computer interaction
  • computer science
  • information visualization
  • pervasive and ubiquitous computing
  • many others

A panel of distinguished members of the AMIA community will review the proposed solutions and select the best proposals based on a number of criteria, including their originality and transformative potential.

Eight teams selected as finalists will be asked to attend AMIA Annual Symposium and present their solutions during the AMIA poster session. The top four teams as selected by the SDC panel will be invited to participate in a formal presentation at AMIA.

This year the Student Design Challenge is inviting submissions that focus on Precision Medicine (PM) and on novel and original ways to enable delivery of personalized healthcare.

  • PM is focused on delivering care to individuals based on understanding their specific genetic profiles, environment, and lifestyles and developing treatments tailored to these profiles.
  • The Biomedical Informatics community will play a major role in the success of PM through the development of tools that allow providers and patients engage with the data generated using PM techniques.
  • PM generated data has the potential for informing the decision-making of the providers, enhancing the communication between the provider and patient, and creating more engagement between the provider and patient.
  • PM data, particularly related to genetic profile and associated risk factors, can be complex and difficult to understand and interpret not only for patients but also for healthcare providers.
  • To fully realize its potential, the PM generated data has to be integrated into the clinical information systems and with evidence-based guidelines and clinical work practices.
  • This data has to also be presented to patients in engaging, easily understandable, and actionable ways.

We invite student teams to envision new ways for providers and patients to engage with PM generated data that take advantage of both emerging computational capabilities and uniquely human intelligence and reasoning.


  • June 30, 2016 – proposal submission deadline
  • August 15, 2016 – notifications to authors
  • September 1, 2016 – final accepted revision submission deadline


Please read the entire Challenge description. If you have any questions about this process, please send an email to studentdesignchallenge@amia.org

Submissions are due June 30, 11:59 p.m. EDT no exceptions

Problem Introduction
Call For Submissions
SDC Committee

President Obama in his 2015 State of Union speech announced a major initiative in increasing the research in and the impact of Precision Medicine in the US health care system. The goal of the President’s initiative and the actions taken by the NIH are focused on identifying therapies and treatments based on understanding a patient’s specific genetic profiles, environment, and lifestyles. Consequently, data will be generated from genetic testing and from novel sources, for example from individuals’ health monitoring technologies, and through capture of environmental characteristics pertinent to their health, such as quality of air or noise levels.

Although there is great enthusiasm regarding the value of PM in providing both targeted and cost-effective care, there are a number of challenges as we consider how clinical providers and patients will engage with data generated using PM techniques [1]. For patient-facing technologies, researchers are beginning to explore, for instance, how to present risk of different diseases associated with specific genetic profiles to patients in easy to understand and actionable ways [2]. Similarly, for clinical systems, a part of the challenge is in integration of PM generated data such as genetic information into the existing Electronic Health Record systems, and in presentation of complex genetic data to providers in such a way that they will be able to make informed treatment decisions [3]. The success of Precision Medicine will depend not only on the ability to collect the appropriate type of data (i.e., genetic, environmental, community-based) but also on providing tools to effectively engage the ultimate consumers of this data – among them, providers and patients.

In this Student Design Challenge, we call on undergraduate and graduate students and trainees in Biomedical Informatics and related fields to propose original design solutions for facilitating interaction between humans and PM data. In particular, we are interested in solutions that address either of the following questions: how do we integrate PM data with other clinical data in Electronic Health Records and present it clinical providers? How do we present PM data to patients in engaging and understandable ways? In addressing these questions, the focus of the solutions should be on novel ways of engaging users in the analysis of the data that lead to insight and informs their choices.


  1. Weber GM, Mandl KD, Kohane IS. FInding the missing link for big biomedical data. JAMA. 2014 Jun 25;311(24):2479–80.
  2. Ledger D. Inside Wearables - Part 2 [Internet]. Endeavour Partners LLC; 2014 Jul. Available from: http://endeavourpartners.net/assets/Endeavour-Partners-Inside-Wearables-Part-2-July-2014.pdf
  3. Kesselheim AS, Cresswell K, Phansalkar S, Bates DW, Sheikh A. Clinical Decision Support Systems Could Be Modified To Reduce “Alert Fatigue” While Still Minimizing The Risk Of Litigation. Health Aff. 2011 Dec 1;30(12):2310–7.
  4. Bell MZ. Why Expert Systems Fail. The Journal of the Operational Research Society. 1985 Jul 1;36(7):613–9.

To qualify for participation, teams should include only students in degree-pursuing graduate programs (including post-doctoral fellows pursing MA or MS degrees) or Graduate Certificates. Undergraduate students are welcome to participate in design teams, provided that they are supervised by graduate students. Given the nature of the creative process, we suggest that teams include no more than 4 or 5 individuals. No faculty advising is required for participation; in fact, we encourage teams to work independently and without faculty supervision.

Each team will be asked to identify a specific challenge related to the proposed theme. We recommend that teams select a specific context of use and target audience, for example “Low literacy chronically ill populations” or “Emergency Room Clinicians.” These could include informing patients about specific type of risk, or specific clinical problem that can be addressed with this data. In both of these scenarios the focus of the solution should be on new ways individual users can interact with the system to understand the PM data. Some potential areas of focus could include:

  • Identifying new ways to integrate new sources of data into the Electronic Health Record and combine them with clinical data. These new sources could include patient-generated data, environmental data, and community-based data, among others;
  • New ways to present genetic or other types PM-related data to patients and clinicians, including novel visualizations;
  • Novel ways to communicate disease risk and treatment success with uncertainty;
  • New ways of facilitating shared patient-provider shared decision-making in the context of PM
  • New ways to enable monitoring of treatment efficacy overtime using novel data collection methods, information displays and decision-support tools

Competition Process

Each team will submit an extended abstract (5 page maximum) discussing their description of the specific challenge related to Engaging Providers and Patients in Precision Medicine, the proposed solution, and their design process. Supplementary materials (including storyboards and mockups, or source code and sample output) can be submitted as PDF. The supplementary material would not count against the 5 page maximum. The submission process will be done through ScholarOne (more details on the submission process are to follow). The submissions will be evaluated through a peer-review process by the SDC steering committee.

The 8 best proposals will be asked to present their solutions during a poster session at AMIA 2016. At least one member from each of the 8 teams will be expected to attend the conference to present a poster illustrating their solution, discuss their solution, and the design process with conference attendees. AMIA will wave registration fee for one presenter from each of the eight teams, with the expectation that the presenter holds a student membership with either AMIA or ACM.

Four teams will also be notified prior to the symposium that their proposal has been selected as a finalist for the AMIA SDC Award. They will be asked to give a presentation about their solution during the AMIA Student Design Challenge session.

The 4 finalists will give an oral presentation and, where appropriate, demonstration of their design to the panel of SDC Judges and AMIA attendees. The judges will rank the solutions and presentations to identify the winner and subsequent 2nd and 3rd place teams. The winners will be announced during the last day of AMIA Annual Symposium and acknowledged during the AMIA Closing Plenary.

Abstract Preparation

The participants will prepare an extended abstract (five pages maximum) written in the AMIA format that should include:

  • Definition of the selected challenge related to the interaction between clinicians and/or patients and PM systems grounded in deep understanding of an identified health problem
  • Description of the proposed solution
  • Discussion of alternative solutions considered
  • Discussion of the strengths and weakness of the chosen solution as compared to the alternatives
  • Proposed implementation and dissemination plan (what it would take for this solution to be adopted on a large scale)
  • Proposed evaluation plan (the participants will be expected to outline potential directions for evaluation, but not to perform it)

The Supplementary Materials should include:

  • For interactive solutions: a mockup or storyboard illustrating the proposed functionality and the interaction of the proposed solution, a link to a video demo of the system.
  • For computational solutions: source code of the solution as a text file or a link to the team’s github repository as well as sample output file (in a PDF document)

The completed abstract and any supplementary documents should be submitted using ScholarOne by 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 30, 2016. If you do not already have a ScholarOne account, you will need to create one. AMIA member log-in will not provide access to ScholarOne. If you are not sure if you already have an account or if you have one, but do not remember your user name and password, please contact Dasha Cohen at dasha@amia.org

Review Criteria

All proposed solutions will be reviewed by the SDC Steering Committee, consisting of distinguished members from the AMIA and HCI communities. The members of the Steering Committee will review the abstracts and assess their quality, focusing on both the actual proposed solution, and its description and justification in the proposal, based on the following criteria:

  • Understanding of the problem (does the solution address an important PM-related problem in a realistic way and does it demonstrate a deep understanding of the problem)
  • Fit to the problem (how likely is the proposed solution to address the selected problem?)
  • Effective integration of clinical experts or patients (whether the proposed solution relies on clinical expertise and/or deep understanding of patient perspective)
  • Innovation (how novel and original is the solution?)
  • Transformative potential (how likely is it to transform the nature of engagement between users and PM data?)
  • Completeness (is the solution is well thought-out and complete)
  • Clarity of the design process (how well the solution and the design process described in the abstract)
  • Clarity of the strengths and weaknesses discussion (do the teams have a realistic and thoughtful assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of their solutions?)
  • Appropriateness of the evaluation approach (is the evaluation plan appropriate for the solution?)


The SDC awards ceremony will take place during the last day of AMIA Annual Symposium.


  • June 30, 2016 – proposal submission deadline
  • August 15, 2016 – notifications to authors
  • September 1, 2016 – final accepted revision submission deadline

Submissions are due June 30, 11:59 p.m. EDT no exceptions


If you have any questions about this process, please send an email to studentdesignchallenge@amia.org

Lena Mamykina, PhD, Assistant Professor
Department of Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University

Dr. Mamykina’s broad research interests include individual’s sensemaking and problem-solving in context of health management, collective sensemaking within online health support communities, clinical reasoning and decision-making, communication and coordination of work in clinical teams, and ways to support these practices with informatics interventions.

Dr. Mamykina received her B.S. in Computer Science from the Ukrainian State University of Maritime Technology, M.S. in Human Computer Interaction from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and M.A. in Biomedical Informatics from Columbia University. Her dissertation work at Georgia Tech focused on facilitating reflection and learning in context of diabetes management with mobile and ubiquitous computing. Prior to joining DBMI as a faculty member, she completed a National Library of Medicine Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the department.

Madhu Reddy, PhD, Professor
Communication Studies, Health and Biomedical Informatics, Northwestern University

Dr. Reddy’s research focuses on issues of collaboration in healthcare. He is particularly interested in how healthcare providers collaborate during information seeking and decision-making activities and the role that HIT plays in supporting these types of collaboration in clinical settings.

Dr. Reddy received his M.S. in Health Care Administration from the California State University, Long Beach, M.S. in Information and Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine, and Ph.D. in Information and Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine.

Patricia Flatley Brennan, Ph.D, Moehlman Bascom Professor
Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Brennan's research focuses on designing and evaluating home care community computer systems for use by patients. Her work ranges from the development and evaluation of computer networks as a mechanism for delivering nursing care to homebound ill persons and their caregivers to assessing the impact of patient-centered computer technology on the health outcomes of persons following coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Her most current projects include exploring how individuals and families manage health information in their homes, studying the usability of secure email use in clinics, and is developing information tools and resources to support self-care and health self-management.

George Hripcsak, MD, MS, Chair, Department of Biomedical Informatics
Vivian Beaumont Allen Professor of Biomedical Informatics Director, Medical Informatics Services, NYP/Columbia

George Hripcsak, MD, MS, is Vivian Beaumont Allen Professor and Chair of Columbia University’s Department of Biomedical Informatics, Director of Medical Informatics Services forNewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and Senior Informatics Advisor at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Dr. Hripcsak is a board-certified internist with degrees in chemistry, medicine, and biostatistics. He led the effort to create the Arden Syntax, a language for representing health knowledge that has become a national standard. Dr. Hripcsak’scurrent research focus is on the clinical information stored in electronic health records. Using data mining techniques such as machine learning and natural language processing, he is developing the methods necessary to support clinical research and patient safety initiatives.

Jonathan Nebeker, MD, MS
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine,
University of Utah, School of Medicine

Dr. Nebeker is currently interested in translating theoretical frameworks from social and cognitive psychology to medicine for designing and evaluating user interfaces for EHRs (with Charlene Weir and Frank Drews.) He led a project to translate the Contextual Control Model from a branch of Cognitive Systems Engineering. Guided by this translated model, his team developed a new paradigm for graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for EHRs. Instead of focusing on data, which is typical of current EHRs, the GUI focuses on thought- and workflow. The GUIs incorporate ideas from mindset, dual process, and communication theories. They featured information displays that are designed to reduce cognitive effort to understand what is going on with the patient. In a randomized controlled trial versus a widely used traditional interface, the new interfaces were significantly faster—despite minimal training in the unfamiliar interfaces.

Dr. Nebeker also has national leadership roles in VA. He is Director of VA Informatics and Computing Infrastructure (VINCI.) VINCI is a secure, powerful, virtualized computing environment with national clinical data back to 2000. In addition to directing the center, Dr. Nebeker leads GUI development for several applications. Dr. Nebeker is the Clinical Lead for the DoD-VA Integrated EHR Graphical User Interface. In this capacity he coordinates with national VA clinical leads and directs the vision for the new paradigm for the iEHR interfaces.

Wanda Pratt, Ph.D
Professor, Information School, Division of Biomedical & Health Informatics, University of Washington

Wanda Pratt is a Professor in both the Information School and the Division of Biomedical & Health Informatics in the Medical School at the University of Washington. She received her Ph.D. in Medical Informatics from Stanford University, her M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Texas, and her B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Kansas. Her published papers span a wide range of topics whose central theme is to understand the problem of information overload in a variety of health contexts and to develop new types technology to address those problems. She received an NSF CAREER Award for her work on literature-based discovery systems.

Samuel Trent Rosenbloom, MD, MPH, FACMI
Dr. Rosenbloom is the Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs, the Director of Patient Engagement Technologies and an Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics with secondary appointments in Medicine, Pediatrics and the School of Nursing at Vanderbilt University. He is a board certified Internist and Pediatrician who earned his M.D., completed a residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, a fellowship in Biomedical Informatics, and earned an MPH all at Vanderbilt. Since joining the faculty in 2002, Dr. Rosenbloom has become a nationally recognized investigator in the field of health information technology evaluation. His research has focused on studying how healthcare providers interact with health information technologies when engaging patients, documenting patient care and making clinical decisions. Dr. Rosenbloom has successfully competed for extramural funding from the National Library of Medicine and from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in the role of principal investigator. Dr. Rosenbloom’s work has resulted in lead and collaborating authorship on over 60 peer reviewed manuscripts, which have been published in Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Pediatrics, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Academic Medicine, among others. In addition, Dr. Rosenbloom has authored and coauthored 5 book chapters and numerous posters, white papers and invited papers. He has been a committed member of the principal professional organization in his field, the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA). He has served AMIA in leadership roles, including participating in: a Scientific Program Committee, the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) Editorial Board, a national Health Policy Meeting Committee, the JAMIA Editor in Chief search committee, and a Working Group on Unintended Consequences. As a result of his research success and service to AMIA, Dr. Rosenbloom was the annual recipient of the competitive AMIA New Investigator Award in 2009, and was elected to the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) in 2011. In addition, Dr. Rosenbloom has participated in study sections for the National Library of Medicine and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Healthcare. He has also participated as a member of the HL7 Pediatric Data Special Interest Group and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Clinical Information Technology. In addition, Dr. Rosenbloom is an active reviewer several journals covering general medicine, pediatrics and biomedical informatics.