RWJF Launches Hospital Pricing App Challenge

Scott Mace, June 5, 2013

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has launched a competition to develop applications and tools that will enhance and improve the way data comparing hospital prices is used.

MU proposed rules

How much hospitals charge for the same procedures (source: The New York Times)

The federal government's unprecedented release of hospital pricing data for inpatient and outpatient procedures with the last month comes with one overriding question: How will the information be used?

To find out, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has launched a competition among technology developers to improve consumer understanding and use of data that compare hospital prices. Winners of the RWJF Hospital Price Transparency Challenge will share $120,000 in prize money.

The challenge was announced at the Datapalooza IV, in Washington Monday.

Last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published prices charged by more than 3,000 hospitals for the 100 most common inpatient procedures. The information showed extreme variation in pricing among U.S. hospitals—even those operating in the same communities. Experts say it underscores the urgent need for transparency in the health care system.

The RWJF Hospital Price Transparency Challenge is designed to further disseminate the use of the CMS hospital data. The competition consists of two components—one for creating data visualizations and the other for developing consumer applications and tools.

Scott Mace

Scott Mace is the former senior technology editor for HealthLeaders Media. He is now the senior editor, custom content at H3.Group.

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