Coding Contest to be Held During Health Datapalooza

Ready to compete for a share of $25,000 worth of sponsored prizes? Start recruiting some coding all-stars to your team for the upcoming Health Datapalooza Code-a-Palooza -- a code-a-thon where teams will compete to build an app, tool or product that could be used by primary care providers or their staff to improve the quality of care. The contest will take place between June 2 and June 4 during Health Datapalooza IV, which will be held in Washington, D.C.

Brian Sivak, chief technology officer at the Department of Health and Human Services, announced the contest in a blog post late last month – citing that the intent of the contest is to make the Health Datapalooza “bigger and better” and to do something that “would directly contribute to improving health care at the point of clinical care.”

The teams will be competing for $25,000 in sponsored prizes and using Medicare Parts A and B claims data for a 5% sample of Medicare beneficiaries. The data includes inpatient, outpatient, home health, hospice, skilled nursing facility, carrier, and durable medical equipment (DME) claims. The exact topic of the Code-a-Palooza will be announced at the beginning of Health Datapalooza IV.

The winning team will be awarded $15,000 worth of prizes, while the second place team will snare $7,000 and the third place team will take home $3,000.

To succeed, teams should have a good understanding of Medicare claims data and what it’s like working in a clinical care setting, according to Sivak.

Successful teams, Sivak says, also will have:

  • At least one person who has clinical acumen and understands the workings of a primary care practice, including provider workflows and the patient experience.
  • Someone who has killer data analytics skills.
  • Team members who can bring the designer and developer skillsets to the table.
  • Some of their own data.  Teams will be able to use the 5% Medicare data to define a contextual denominator of costs and services and overlay that on their own data to get patient data to resemble a real practice.

To register a team, which can include up to four individuals, go to  Individuals also can register and connect with other free agents to form a team.