Economic Impact of Large Scale Software Projects: The Case for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Provider Screening Challenge

Published on November 7, 2018


The Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) has researched the effects of open innovation in government, academia and private industry since 2010. This paper examines the cost- benefit counterfactual of a large-scale software project.

According to federal health care regulation, states must create a rigorous screening process for providers and suppliers enrolling in Medicare and Medicaid in the Affordable Health Care for America Act. However, each state has its own Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS), all of which perform the same function in slightly different ways. Moreover, states do not typically re-use or share services with others. In an effort to standardize the Medicaid IT system, CMS released the Medicaid Information Technology Architecture (“MITA”), which provides a common framework for all Medicaid stakeholders to build common and shared services. LISH, in partnership with the State of Minnesota, CMS, and NASA’s Center of Excellence for Collaboration1 Innovation launched a project consisting of a series of contests on the Topcoder platform in order to create an effective screening model that could work on the MITA framework and meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.


Jin Paik

Jin H. Paik is the Program Director and Senior Researcher at the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH). In his role, he serves as the lab’s general manager. He works to develop the lab’s strategic vision, as well as to direct project and research activities. He oversees the development of open innovation projects through partnerships with NASA, Harvard Medical School, federal government agencies, academic and research institutions, and industry leaders. He advises organizations on innovation strategies with a focus on starting and scaling open innovation practices. He has worked extensively on programs that focus on data science, development and use of artificial intelligence, technology commercialization, and the future of work. Prior to joining the LISH team, he worked at the Harvard Kennedy School and Mathematica Policy Research. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree from Harvard University.

Karim Lakhani

Karim R. Lakhani is a Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and one of the Principal Investigators of the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH). He specializes in the management of technological innovation in firms and communities. His research is on distributed innovation systems and the movement of innovative activity to the edges of organizations and into communities. He has extensively studied the emergence of open source software communities and their unique innovation and product development strategies. He has also investigated how critical knowledge from outside of the organization can be accessed through innovation contests. Currently, Professor Lakhani is investigating incentives and behavior in contests and the mechanisms behind scientific team formation through field experiments on the Topcoder platform and the Harvard Medical School.

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