Code-a-Palooza Call for Proposals

CodeAPalooza Challenge Logo v8-01The Health Data Consortium is hosting the Code-a-Palooza challenge of a lifetime using newly-released Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) data to allow developers to create apps that help consumers improve their health care decision-making.  The top three teams will receive $35,000 total in prizes.

Code-a-Palooza Timeline:

  • Wednesday, April 9 – Code-a-Palooza opens for submissions
  • Thursday, April 17, 4:00-5:00 p.m. ET – Code-a-Palooza Webinar
  • Friday, April 25 – Visualization proposals of no more than 750 words due
  • Friday, May 2 – Top five to ten finalists notified
  • Throughout May – Finalists build out visualization tools
  • June 1-3 at Health Datapalooza – Finalists present a live demo to a panel of judges and winners are announced

Why should you participate?

  • Code-a-Palooza applicants will be eligible for a discounted Health Datapalooza registration rate of $195
  • Finalists receive two complimentary registrations for team members to Health Datapalooza 2014
  • Gain recognition for your team and network with leaders in healthcare
  • First place team awarded $20,000, second place $10,000 and third $5,000


The CMS Medicare Fee-for-Service Provider Utilization and Payment Data being made publicly available for the first time has great potential to further the nation’s understanding of health care spending and physician practice patterns. In particular, the data:

  • Shed significant light on how physicians actually work
  • Include information about the medical services and procedures physicians and other healthcare professionals provide in office and in facility settings as specified by HCPCS codes, their frequency, and statistics on payment and charges for these services
  • Can help illuminate the thousands of medical procedures that occur less frequently than the most common ones but make up a significant percentage of the total procedures performed. The codes also include ambulatory services, labs, medications, and prosthetics
  • Provide detailed location information that can enhance analysis of physician payment and disbursement data from the national down to the hyper-local level
  • Matched with other data sources, and quality measure data in particular, this dataset could be used to create tools providing deep insight into geographic variations in procedure costs, regional specializations in procedures, and variation between services performed in the hospital versus the doctor’s office, as well as many other uses yet to be uncovered.

Because this data exists in raw forms that require interpretation and context, it must be presented in ways that the average consumer can understand to make an impact on them. Only then can consumers use the data to help make health choices that are the most appropriate for their specific, individual needs.

Get the New CMS data

The data, in tab delimited and excel formats, and descriptive documentation can be downloaded here. The interactive dataset is also available by clicking on the banner at, featuring tools to work with the data including an open API accessible through the “Export” button.

The Code-a-Palooza Challenge

The Health Data Consortium’s Code-a-Palooza, run in collaboration with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and CMS, seeks the creation of interactive data visualization tools that communicate complex data from multiple sources in ways that support shared clinical decision making for value based health care.  We are most interested in visualizations that maximize the utility of the newly-available Medicare physician data released by CMS as it relates to helping consumer decision-making. The visualizations should be customizable by the user; for example, patients should be able to enter their own health and/or claims information, such as demographic features or clinical attributes, to support their decision-making.

The Code-a-Palooza will be a two-phase process. In Phase I, participants will submit a proposal of no more than 750 words describing use case for their visualization(s) of the CMS Medicare Fee-for-Service Provider Utilization and Payment Data plus any other data, how their approach will address the use case, and the data sources they intend to use. A review panel will select the top five to ten finalists who will advance to Phase II.  Applicants for the Code-a-Palooza will be eligible for a special rate of $195 for Health Datapalooza registration.

In Phase II, the finalists will build out their visualization tools to the most complete extent possible during the month of May. Finally, at Health Datapalooza, each finalist will present a live demo of their creation for a review panel, and the winners will be announced at the end of the conference. Complimentary registration to Health Datapalooza will be provided to 2 team members from each finalist team. Travel stipends will not be provided for finalists.

The top 3 tools will claim the following prizes:

  • First Place: $20,000
  • Second Place: $10,000
  • Third Place: $5,000

To learn more about the Code-a-Palooza and the CMS data, please view this webinar.

To participate in the Code-a-Palooza, please submit the information below by 11:59 p.m. ET, Friday, April 25. Finalists will be notified by Friday, May 2.


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