Announcing the Medicare Claims Challenge

Health 2.0, IMPAQ International (IMPAQ) and NORC at the University of Chicago (NORC) are proud to announce the launch of the Medicare Claims Data Developer Challenge, which will solicit entries to develop an online dashboard for comparative effectiveness, health services and health policy research. With support from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), IMPAQ and NORC want to encourage the development of a web platform suited for health researchers, data entrepreneurs, students, journalists and others who would like to access Medicare claims data.

The Challenge aims to gain further insight into potential applications of the newly released Medicare Claims data by fostering the development of a system that utilizes data from the Basic Stand Alone (BSA) Medicare Claims Public Use Files (PUFs). This Challenge encourages interdisciplinary teams to create a tool that will present two or more of the new BSA Medicare Claims PUFs in a way that’s informative, interactive and user-friendly. Armed with this information, researchers can make recommendations to improve health and savings among the American population. Teams that register will be contributing to the process of informed health care decision-making.

Submissions are due August 15th, 2011 and judging will be based on the application’s ability to identify meaningful connections between BSA Medicare Claims PUFs. Additional accolades will be given to the teams that incorporate more than two public use files, social media elements and intuitive visualization capabilities. The first place winner will receive $7,500 plus 2 free passes to the Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco on September 25-27, 2011. Second place will be awarded $2,000 and third place will receive $500. Winners will be featured at the Health 2.0 San Francisco 2011 Conference.

As of June 1, 2011, CMS has released eight BSA Medicare Claims PUFs for calendar year 2008; making them freely available without the costs and time delays that previously impeded access to Medicare claims data. CMS accumulates and maintains claims data for all fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries and has contracted with IMPAQ, NORC, and other partners, to pioneer the creation, dissemination, and support of Medicare claims data for public use. While Medicare claims often contain sensitive demographic patient data, IMPAQ and NORC have de-identified these data sets such that they are HIPAA compliant and primed for developer data-play.

You can learn more details about this specific Challenge here, and more details about the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge here.

About IMPAQ: IMPAQ International specializes in providing research and consulting services to domestic and international clients in the areas of impact evaluation studies, applied research, policy analysis, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, and technical assistance. IMPAQ supports multiple federal departments and agencies including Health and Human Services, Labor, Education, and Agriculture as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

About NORC: NORC at the University of Chicago is a 70 year old independent research organization headquartered in downtown Chicago with additional offices in the D.C. Metro area. With clients throughout the world, NORC collaborates with government agencies, foundations, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to provide data and analysis that support informed decision making in key areas including health, education, economics, crime, justice, energy, security, and the environment.

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