While this year’s Code-a-Palooza didn’t feature live music and outhouses as far as the eye could see, it did involve plenty of professionals who were placed somewhere along the spectrum between Generation X and the Millennials.

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Code-a-Palooza is an annual event that brings together thousands of professionals from a cross section of fields that include:

  • Medical billing and coding
  • Community advocates
  • Policy makers
  • Technology experts
  • Health care systems
  • Entrepreneurs

Sponsored by the Health Data Consortium (HDC), Code-a-Palooza is a contest that brings professionals from these fields together with the goal of creating innovative and useful apps that help consumers improve their healthcare decisions. For example, the three winners in 2014 – who netted a combined total of $35,000 in grants – were:

  • Lyfechanel – this company won the contest with their Smart Health Hero app. It has also recently developed two separate apps to help patients learn about diabetes as well as pulmonary rehabilitation. Two other recent apps helped people to stop smoking and be knowledgeable about heart-healthy foods.
  • Accordion Health – this company recently developed three apps that improve Medicare Advantages star ratings, help employees find their preferred doctor, and automate physician referral and prior-authorization processes for managed care facilities.
  • Karmadata – this company’s namesake app is a massive trove of world health data that is both searchable and organized. Features include clinical trials information, biotech devices, disease pathologies, and pharmaceutical company details, all of which are searchable by categories such as name, geographic location, and other relevant factors.

Code-a-Palooza is actually just a part of the wider Datapalooza event, also sponsored by the HDC, and can trace its origins to 2010. It was at this time that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHM) hosted a small cross-sectional gathering of professionals from the above-mentioned fields at the National Academy of Sciences with the goal of provoking a community health data initiative.

The next year a similar gathering took place, and this time included data that dealt with more than just community healthcare; it also included healthcare products, recalls, costs, areas of coverage, and more. This prompted the annual meetings to be termed the Health Data Initiative. 50 web and mobile device applications resulted from this meeting, using the data compiled from all participants.

Datapalooza was coined at the next year’s meeting in 2012, and brought together 1,500 professionals from an expanding variety of fields. Code-a-Palooza appeared a year later, and both Palooza events have grown ever since.

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Troves of Data

The apps developed at the most recent Code-a-Palooza were all based on data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). As a result of efforts that have encouraged the adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHRs), such as those made by CMS and other federal agencies, more and more healthcare data is easily accessible.

The full potential of this growing – and relatively new – resource has yet to be tapped, especially in the field of medical billing and coding.

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