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American Public Health Association Codeathon to Help Implement the Affordable Care Act

The American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Exposition, which is expected to attract more than 13,000 national and international physicians, administrators, nurses, educators, researchers, epidemiologists, and related health specialists,  is already getting started at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center with a Codeathon. This Codeathon is looking to help implement the Affordable Care Act.

The crowd

Taking a nod from the hopping medical and healthcare entrepreneurial ecosystem, the American Public Health Association (APHA) decided to host their first ever hackathon. This will bring together numerous people from very different backgrounds–public health experts, programmers, entrepreneurs, clinicians, researchers, and more–to come up with creative ways to bring the Affordable Care Act to the American public in an easy to digest way.

The Codeathon had a number of keynote speakers. Vanessa Forsberg, a Public Health Policy Analyst with the Center for Public Health Policy, started the informative speeches. Ms. Forsberg talked about the top six reasons the APHA feels the US needs health reform. They are as follows:

  1. Too many people lack health coverage and care
  2. System focuses on treatment instead of prevention
  3. Lack of attention to social determinants of health and health disparities
  4. Inefficient delivery and payment system
  5. US healthcare spending is unsustainable
  6. Low-ranking US health outcomes

Ms. Forsberg told us that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is moving toward a triple aim. It is as follows:

  1. Improving the individual experience of care
  2. Improving the health of populations
  3. Reducing the per capita costs of care for populations

We all know that the Affordable Care Act encompass a lot of information. We asked Ms. Forsberg for a summary. She told us that the ACA is looking for Insurance Reform and Health System Reform.

  1. Insurance Reform
    1. More people covered
    2. More benefits and protections
    3. Lower costs
  2. Health System Reform
    1. Improved quality and efficiency
    2. Stronger workforce and infrastructure
    3. Greater focus on public health and prevention

Smitha Gudapakkam MGH

Smitha Gudapakkam, Business Development Manager with the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Center for Global Health, updated us on the many exciting global health programs that MGH has.

Bechara Choucair Chicago Dept of ublic Health

Bechara Choucair, MD, the Commissioner for the Chicago Department of Public Health, informed us about the easy and exciting things that Chicago is doing. This ranged from a free app that found site for free condom distribution to responding to twitter announcements that localized food poisoning at a quick pace.

Leah Vaughen

Leah Vaughan, MD, MPH, Director at The Health Policy Group in Washington, DC, was the mastermind of the Codeathon. Her she gives postive feedback to the pitches.

Stephen Clarke

Stephen Clarke with Marion County Public Health Department in Indianapolis, Indiana pitches an insightful idea of creating an app or website that will let women know about the new free services that will be covered by the Affordable Care Act.

Andrew Brown

Andrew Brown, physician and social entrepreneur, with a huge presence in the Boston healthcare entrepreneurial scene and winner of the recent Boston Medical Center Future Technologies Create to Innovate for Cancer Cure hackathon, watches on. He is specifically interested in preventing re-admissions.

David Fouse and Kevin Quach

David Fouse, Director of Communications at the American Public Health Association, and Kevin Quach, local coder and social entrepreneur, are looking very serious with their laptops. Everyone’s wired here!

Finally, Vanessa Forsberg tells us why she’s excited for the conference this week.


(Written by Jennifer Joe, MD, www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferjoemd/, @JenniferJoeMD, jen@medstro.com.)

Jennifer M. Joe, MD

Jennifer M. Joe, MD

    My passion is healthcare optimization, whether that is with innovation, making scientific discoveries, or improving delivery. I love bringing people and ideas together and making projects work. With this, medicine exists to improve lives, and I will strive to always help patients and those around me.

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