The recent hospital price transparency regulations that took effect this year have made a large amount of valuable data available. This project was inspired to take advantage of that data and create a tool to properly utilize it.

What it does

This web app displays released hospital information in a readable form on a table. It compiles data from csv files on hospital websites and displays the hospital name and location. And for each hospital, it also lists each procedure that can be done as well as its description, price, and if it is insured as well as who it is insured by. Users can sort and filter the hospitals by name, location, procedure, description, price, and insurance in both ascending and descending order. Users can also upload new csv files for hospitals that are not shown on the table.

How we built it

We built a react web app that queries and displays hospital price data from an online database in a user-friendly and easily comparable format. The data is stored in a Google Firebase realtime database which our web app queries. An additional functionality was added which enables users to upload csv files, as per the price transparency regulations, from hospitals not yet in our database to add them to the database.

Challenges we ran into

Our initial plan was to query an SQL database from that already contained a vast amount of scraped hospital price data. This proved to be very difficult as the API for dolthub is still in its alpha phase and doesn't yet support authorization. Once we switched to the approach of hosting our own database, we ran into challenges interpreting various uploaded csv files. No consistent format is specified for these files so we had to build a system that was able to robustly handle different formats.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

One accomplishment that we were proud of during this project was the entire pipeline of uploading a file to storing it on firebase. Uploading the file to the server, running the scripts to robustly interpret the contents, and writing those contents to the online database. We are also very proud that we were able to publish a finished product within the time allotted with most of our members completely inexperienced in web development beforehand.

What we learned

For two of the three hackers, this was their first experience coding with JavaScript and CSS and HTML. This was also their first time developing a web page with react.js. Through this hackathon, these hackers learned how to use these languages and develop a web app using react. And for the last hacker, this was his first ever hackathon and so he gained valuable experience while having fun. Through this hackathon, we all learned more about the medical field by working with procedure data as we had no medical background. We also learned how to use DoltHub and Firebase in JavaScript as this was all of our first times working with those.

What's next for Hospital Price Comparator

Beyond the scope of this hackathon, we hope to expand the Hospital Price Comparator to be able to handle more types of uploadable files as well as implement more safety measures to ensure the validity of those files and protect against malicious uploads. Another future goal would be to eventually integrate with the large DoltHub database. Finally, we would like to improve the overall appearance and UI experience of the web app.

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