IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

'TechJam' Hackathon-Style Event Seeks Better Solutions for Veteran Health Records

Technologists came together on the eve of Veterans Day to come up with a better way of coordinating medical records for veterans.

The first ever MetLife “TechJam,” held in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park in early November, brought together more than 75 technologists to apply their talents toward the improvement of veteran health care.

This 32-hour event challenged participants to produce a focused electronic health record solution in support of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and its mission of improving the lives of veterans and their families.

A large percentage of veterans are believed to suffer from one or more chronic conditions. Many of these patients see multiple health-care specialists to manage their conditions, lending even more urgency to the production of a streamlined, coordinated approach to health care.

Organizers hoped the event would help bring about integrated veteran health records, given the fragmented nature of the VA health-care system, where huge volumes of veteran health records are spread between different medical facilities and some 1,500 databases.

“We are proud to have brought together some of the brightest minds in technology to help facilitate faster and easier sharing of vital health information, enable coordinated care and ultimately better the lives of our nation’s veterans,” said Gary Hoberman, MetLife CIO and senior vice president of regional application development, in a statement.

In addition to an overall winner, top prizes were awarded in four divisions: mobile; data integration and augmentation; user experience; and predictive analysis. Participants were asked to make their solutions shareable by using open source code.

“The ideas and technologies that emerged out of the TechJam are a tremendous advancement into our ongoing efforts to improve veteran data management,” said Joe Paiva, chief technology strategist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “These solutions will be revolutionary for both medical providers who serve our vets and veterans themselves.”

Organizer MetLife partnered with a number of organizations for the event, including Microsoft, Infusion and MongoDB. Talent from local universities and tech companies -- including IBM, DB Global Technology, Cognizant, Tata Consultancy Services and Duke University -- also participated.

Noelle Knell has been the editor of Government Technology magazine for e.Republic since 2015. She has more than two decades of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.