HHS opioid code-a-thon seeks new technologies to help stem epidemic

The agency is calling on programmers and healthcare professionals to join the event on Wednesday, which aims to develop new tools to prevent addiction, track usage and enable treatment of opioid abuse.
By Mike Miliard
03:32 PM
HHS opioid code-a-thon

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is sponsoring a code-at-thon this week, and calling on public health experts, programmers, researchers, data scientists and others to join forces in pursuit of innovative technologies to help attack the opioid crisis from several angles.

The day-and-a-half-long in-person event – scheduled from 1 p.m. Dec. 6 through 6 p.m. Dec. 7 – takes place at HHS headquarters in Washington. Coders are invited to focus on three challenge tracks.

[Also: AHIMA: Here's how hospitals should document opioid abuse in the EHR]

The prevention track offers the opportunity to develop analytics tools that can help federal, state, and local officials track and predict the supply and movement of both prescription opioids and those sold on the black market. This could help HHS better allocate preventative education resources overdose-reversing drugs where they're needed most.

With the treatment track, the agency is most focused on identifying those most at risk and improving their access to treatment and recovery services and is seeking technology that could promote evidence-based approaches to reduce opioid abuse and mortality.

[Also: Meet the health IT vendors working to end the opioid crisis]

For the usage track, HHS is looking for tools to help strengthen its understanding of the epidemic through better public health data and reporting – with the aim of helping federal, state and local stakeholders better identify those populations at risk for opioid misuse and abuse.

Coders will have access to data from various state and federal agencies, as well as some, specially released for the event, from the private sector. There will be three $10,000 prizes awarded, on for each challenge track.

The code-a-thon, organized by HHS's Office of the Chief Technology Officer, will be presented alongside a TED Talk-style symposium meant to explore emerging data and technology applications that have improved health outcomes in communities.

Opioid Crisis: Tech fights epidemic

Learn how tech is being used to battle abuse.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

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