March 27-29, 2020

The Pandemic Response Hackathon is a virtual hackathon aimed at better understanding and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and future pandemics. Our goal is to bring public health professionals alongside the technology community’s talent to contribute to the world’s response to the pandemic. An interdisciplinary panel of public health, health IT, and policy experts will serve as the steering committee for project ideas and implementation.

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We're looking for:

  • Builders – technologists such as engineers, back-end and front-end software developers, data scientists; product managers, UX designers who wish to contribute
  • Public health experts, clinicians, and health care workers, who have project ideas that would be useful, who can serve as subject matter experts providing real world context, and who can provide product, process, and policy feedback


Projects will be divided into four tracks. We are seeking submissions for ideas in these four tracks, which will be curated ahead of the event to inspire specific project ideas.
  • Public Health Information Sharing. For example, tools for local governments to share information with citizens, tools for information exchange between healthcare professionals, tools for information sharing with patients, etc.
  • Epidemiology & Science of the Disease. For example, information sharing tools between researchers investigating the disease; novel use of data sets to understand the rate of spread of the disease; tools to facilitate clinical trial recruitment and operations for COVID-19 studies; etc.
  • Keeping our Health Workers Safe. For example, workload coordination tools; information sharing tools with best practices; etc.
  • Second-Order Societal Impacts. For example, projects to address mental well-being at nursing homes in light of restricted visitors; ways to help curate public health information and curb disinformation


Full-day participation will begin on March 27th and project submissions will be due on March 29th. Ahead of time, projects will be posted and teams can begin working as soon as there is a critical mass of participants and ideas.

Steering Committee

David Shulkin

Former Secretary of the VA

Tom Daschle

Former Senate Majority Leader

Don Berwick

Former Administrator of CMS

Andrew von Eschenbach

Former Commissioner of FDA

Mark McClellan

Former Commissioner of FDA

Tom Leppert

Former Mayor of Dallas

Ed Simcox

Chief Strategy Officer, LifeOmic; Former CTO of HHS

Eric Perakslis

Former CIO of FDA

Peter Neupert

Healthcare Technology Leader

Olympia Snowe

Former Senator

Sheila Burke

Current Lecturer, Former Dean of Harvard Kennedy School

Hackathon Project Ideas

We've listed below some of the ideas suggested already by our steering committee, as well as healthcare professionals at health systems and academic medical centers across the country. You can browse a broader list of ideas we've received here. Please keep the suggestions coming! You can email us at or join our hackathon slack channel to share ideas.

Pandemic Response Hackathon FAQ

The pandemic response hackathon is a virtual hackathon focused on the development of tools and applications to better understand and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and future pandemics.
Our goal is to bring public health professionals alongside the technology community’s talent to contribute to the world’s response to this and future pandemics. There are many different ways to respond to COVID-19, but for health technologists, rapidly building great health technology is what we know how to do. COVID-19 has already caused enormous suffering around the globe. While we’re not doctors or government officials, we want to use the skills we do have to ensure that the crisis doesn’t go to waste.
Datavant is convening the hackathon, in collaboration with many advisors and partnering organizations including the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), the American Public Health Association, AWS, Snowflake, Komodo Health, NextGate,, Kinsa, Matter.Health, Immuta, Mapbox, AnalyticsIQ, Medicine X, Moxe, Starschema, LiveRamp, Binc, Advancement League, Redox, Veraset, Medable, CommonHealth, Definite Healthcare and Paraxel.
The mission of the company is to connect the world’s health data. We work with almost every major health data source in the U.S. to enable privacy-preserving record linkage across all health data types, as well as most major health analytics companies that need to connect data across multiple sources. As a result of our work, we are well positioned as a neutral connectivity company to bring together the worlds of public health and technology, sitting right at the nexus of the healthcare community and the technology community.
You can start by searching for teammates in the hackathon slack channel. We also encourage you to recruit friends & colleagues.
Teams can largely self-organize, but we’re thinking of a few key roles for each team:
  • Subject-matter-expert / mentor: If you have experience in health policy, research or medicine and have ideas about how to build useful tools or applications, you can serve as a SME or mentor for the team.
  • Product: Work with the SME to spec out the project & guide the engineering team as they rapidly build.
  • Engineers: Whether front-end, back-end, or full stack, sign up to help actively develop the tool or application.
  • Generally pitching in: When quickly throwing together an MVP of a new product, there is a ton to do, from helping document it, research it, and then gathering and collating additional information -- if you’re not sure exactly where you fit, there’s plenty to do just to pitch in.
We are collecting dozens of ideas from our advisors, partners, and customers, including current and former government officials, health policy leaders, academics and researchers. You'll find ideas showcased on this website (above) and can browse a larger list we've curated here.
Submissions and their associated intellectual property rights will remain under the sole or joint ownership of their inventor(s); neither Datavant nor any co-sponsors of the Pandemic Response Hackathon make any claim to ownership of submissions. Datavant encourages participants to open source their projects to both share their hacks with the greater community and to promote innovation in this space. For full hackathon rules & guidelines, please visit our Devpost page.
All tech stacks are welcome and encouraged, as well as any hardware you believe may be helpful.
While there are not “prizes”, we intend to work with project teams to allow them to quickly finance the costs of getting their technology into production.