Hackathon Coders Use California Health-Care Portal to Develop Apps

Sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation, the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge drew participants from across the state thanks in part to an unusually large pool of cash prizes.

by Matt Williams / June 10, 2015
The UC Davis School of Medicine hosted dozens of civic technologists June 6-7 for a health data app challenge. Photo courtesy of Ash Roughani

A civic hackathon at UC Davis over the weekend that challenged participants to use health-care data from the California state government drew a big crowd of coders and produced apps that might have staying power.

Sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation, the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge brought in participants from Sacramento, the Bay Area and across the state thanks in part to an unusually large pool of cash prizes. Approximately 60 coders turned in a total of 15 apps by the Sunday afternoon deadline.

The participants were encouraged to use data sets from the California Health and Human Services Agency’s open data portal. Here are the top three finishers:

  • Apptology, a Sacramento-based development company, took home the $10,000 first-place prize for an app intended for use by Sacramento County Women, Infants and Children (WIC) offices
  • A team called Poli-See came in second place ($5,000) with a Web app to track, discuss and share progress within the Let’s Get Healthy California initiative across 39 key indicators.
  • Team “Shiny” finished in third place ($2,500) with CommunityBeat, a community wellness dashboard melding seven data sources and 40 indicators.

The California HealthCare Foundation is following up with the winners and other projects that were turned in, and has expressed interest in supporting those apps to develop them further, said Ash Roughani, a founder of Code for Sacramento (Code4Sac).

“I think each team is going to have to think about their distribution model and how they’re actually going to reach folks who can partner, in terms of users who will actually use these apps. That’s both a challenge and an opportunity,” Roughani said.

Last weekend’s hackathon was his first realization that the concept of “government as a platform” could become a reality, Roughani added. There were several people from the California Health and Human Services Agency there at the event who were actively helping the the civic technologists interpret the data, he said.

“So that was really exciting to see,” Roughani said.

This story was originally published by TechWire

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