Announcing Winners of the Medicare Claims Data Challenge

We are pleased to announce that teams from Zenithech LLC, Avanade Inc. and Big Yellow Star  won the Medicare Claims Data Developer Challenge sponsored by IMPAQ International LLC and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago.  IMPAQ, a social research and consulting services company, and NORC, a not-for-profit, academic research organization, teamed up with Health 2.0 to create a competition to spur development of interactive Internet-based tools to make Medicare claims data more accessible and usable for clinicians, health researchers, consumers, policy-makers, entrepreneurs and others.

The Challenge required contestants to create online tools allowing users to access at least one of the eight public use files (PUFs) covering eight types of 2008 Medicare claims data released last year: inpatient, durable medical equipment, hospice, carrier line, home health, Medicare Part D, outpatient and skilled nursing facility. Applications were judged on the potential to help address two key Medicare claims data issues -  usability, and the potential for integration with existing claims systems and other health technology platforms.

The first place winner was Zenithech, a Fairfax, Virginia-based developer of web and mobile applications. The company won $7,500 and two passes to the Health 2.0 Spring Fling Matchpoint Boston conference for developing MEDZ, a dashboard that displays and lets users conduct in-depth analysis of all eight PUFs for comparative research and in-depth analysis.

Avanade, a business technology solutions and managed services provider, captured second place with a business intelligence reporting tool called DataGnosis that enables researchers to perform canned and ad-hoc reporting on all eight PUFs. Users also can tie those claims with U.S. Census data, positioning them to identify trends and patterns across each state. Avanade was awarded $2,000.

Big Yellow Star, a Philadelphia company (and familiar Health 2.0 Challenge winner) focused on health informatics, public health and health literacy projects, was awarded third place. It received $500 for a dashboard that makes hospice and outpatient PUFs accessible to users.

“The ingenuity, innovation and creativity the participants demonstrated were exceptional,” said Indu Subaiya, Co-Chair and CEO of Health 2.0, “The tools they created will facilitate and foster exciting research that will drive new ideas and approaches to improve quality of care, lower costs and shape health policy. It was a tough competition, and we congratulate the winners.”