Summer hackathon experience a positive one for ORIE senior

By: Olivia M. Hall

ORIE major Ceren Konak ’22 is part of the winning team of the Anthem AI Substance Use Disorder and Whole Health of the Person Hackathon that took place over the course of four weeks in May and June of this year. Based at Penn State, where Konak was taking a summer course, the multidisciplinary group of four students tackled a provided patient data set to identify risk factors related to substance use and conditions indicative of underlying substance abuse. “My particular role was identifying and optimizing the rule set used in our solution,” said Konak, who also held the final presentation.

Drawing on machine learning algorithms and statistical techniques and with support from Anthem data scientists and experts, the team created two risk indices, the Opioid Misuse Index (OMI) and Substance Abuse Index (SAI), which they implemented into an app. Based on a patient’s medical history or responses to a simple questionnaire, the app presents medical professionals with the likelihood that an individual may develop a substance abuse disorder. “This can be useful to know before prescribing medications to patients,” Konak explained. The solution was recognized with a $10,000 prize, to be split among the team members.

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