Code-a-Palooza Challenge Features Newly Released Physician Medical Services and Cost Data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

The Health Data Consortium (HDC), a non-profit advocacy and membership organization dedicated to mobilizing health data to transform the U.S. health care system, today announced the launch of the Code-a-Palooza challenge featuring newly released Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) data. The challenge, a collaboration among HDC, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and CMS, will allow developers to use the newly released CMS data to create apps that help consumers improve their health care decision making. Prizes totaling $35,000 will be awarded at the Health Datapalooza national conference on June 3 in Washington, D.C.

“This year teams will be using CMS Medicare Fee-for-Service Provider Utilization and Payment Data, data that has never seen the light of day publicly,” said Bryan Sivak, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Chief Technology Officer.  “The availability of this de-identified data represents another piece of the puzzle that enables us to see a clearer picture of the health care system; and when combined with other health data used, developers and entrepreneurs create applications and information tools that provide value to consumers in making more informed discussions about their health care choices.”

This CMS dataset contains information for over 880,000 distinct health care providers. According to the Department of Health and Human Services announcement, the dataset includes information to enable the comparison of providers’ services and procedures, in addition to payments received.  Developers are being challenged to analyze and use these data to create tools to inform consumer decision making regarding the quality and cost of health care.

“Code-a-Palooza embodies the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of Health Datapalooza, providing real examples of the power and possibility of open health data,” said Dwayne Spradlin, Health Data Consortium Chief Executive Officer. “As the health care system shifts to focus on issues of quality, cost and value, we are seeing an urgency in the need for transparency and access to data to improve outcomes and, in the case of this challenge, improve patient decision making empowered by data.”

Teams are required to use the CMS data, and encouraged to incorporate other government and non-government data sets in their tools development.

The Code-a-Palooza challenge includes two phases. Phase I written proposals describing the use case, approach and data sources for visualizations must be submitted online at by Friday, April 25. Finalists will advance to Phase II and build out their visualization tools throughout the month of May. At Health Datapalooza on June 2, finalists will demo live their tool for the judging panel. The top three teams and winners of the $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 prizes, respectively, will be announced at Health Datapalooza on June 3.

An informational webinar to share logistics for the Code-a-Palooza challenge will be held on Thursday, April 17 at 4:00 p.m. ET. To register visit: The webinar will be recorded and made available for playback

For more information regarding the CMS data set release view the Fact Sheet available at: For more information regarding Health Datapalooza 2014 visit or join the conversation on Twitter with#hdpalooza.

About the Health Data Consortium

The Health Data Consortium is a collaboration among government, non-profit, and private sector organizations working to foster the availability and innovative use of data to improve health and health care. The Consortium advocates with data sources to promote best practices and information sharing; and works with businesses, entrepreneurs, and academia to help them understand how to use data to develop new products, services, apps, and research insights. Learn more or @hdconsortium on Twitter.

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