Three Staff Members Win RocHackHealth Competition

University IT staff Hillary Lincourt teamed up with Andy Straw and Anthony Corbett from the Department of Biostatistics & Computational Biology to win one of three challenges in the first annual RocHackHealth. The hackathon, which was held on April 8-10, 2016, is dedicated to solving data problems to improve the safety, efficiency, transparency, equality, and delivery of healthcare.

RocHackHealth winning team
Martin Zand, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Rochester Center for Health Informatics (far left), and Henry Kautz, Ph.D., Director of the Goergen Institute for Data Science (far right), present the first place prize to Andy Straw, Hillary Lincourt, and Anthony Corbett (center, from left to right).

The team’s challenge — “Follow the Narcotics” — was to look for unusual patterns of narcotic prescribing in Medicare data. Using clustering and pattern recognition methods of their choosing, they needed to identify providers who prescribe a lot of narcotics (e.g., morphine, dilaudid, oxycodone) by specific features (e.g., geographic location, specialty), and then visualize their results.

“I am completely intrigued with data,” Lincourt said. “To be given a large dataset with a community-based problem, and knowing the answers are inside waiting to be discovered, is a bit like Christmas morning.”

After completing their statistical analysis, the team uncovered fraud in a number of providers who had already been indicted for questionable narcotic prescription volumes. They then used Tableau, a visualization tool, to display their results.

“It was a privilege to team up with other members of the University and learn their methods for analyzing data,” Lincourt said.

RocHackHealth was co-sponsored by the Goergen Institute for Data Science, Rochester Center of Excellence in Data Science, Rochester Center for Health InformaticsClinical and Translational Science Institute, and Center for Integrated Research Computing.