First-ever MetLife “TechJam” helps advance veteran care by providing faster, easier access to patient information

More than seventy-five technologists were brought together by MetLife, a leading global life insurance and employee benefits company, to develop innovative solutions to improve the coordination of health care for U.S. military veterans. MetLife tackled the issue, which the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has faced for years, by hosting a first-of-its-kind, 32-hour “TechJam” on November 1 and 2 at the Research Triangle Park Headquarters in North Carolina. The event challenged participants to develop a robust Electronic Health Record solution in support of VA’s mission to serve veterans, service members, and their families. Through facilitation by MetLife, participants made their solutions available publicly through open source code.

From 10 participating teams, a panel of expert judges selected the following winners: 

  • Overall winner: Infusion (Stephen Jakisa, Peter Newhook, Matt Pavelko, Noah Santorello)
  • Individual category winners:
    • Data integration and augmentation: Awesome Nighthawks (Hunter Enoch, Scott Ilkenhons, Noah Morgan, Christian Matson)
    • User experience: DB Global Technology Cary (Venkatavasishta Chemudupati, Sarah Kahn, Nick Mason, James Pujals, Aditya Samant, Vish Sonagara)
    • Predictive analysis: Islington Green (James Dixon, Ian Cillay, David Green, Ian Henshaw)
    • Mobile: vCare (Srinivasa Raaghavan Ramanuja Seshaadri, Sumit Bhattacharjee Bhattacharjee, Indranath Bhattacharya, Sushil Sahoo, Anirban Banerjee, Bhartarshabh Katiyar)

The challenge for the MetLife TechJam originated from the tremendous volume of veteran medical data and records typically spread between different physicians and across VA’s 1,500 facilities. Blue Button, a program that provides veteran health information in a simple text file, allows veterans to download their personal health information from their My HealtheVet account. In an effort to improve upon the current system, MetLife and VA drew inspiration from the MetLife Wall, a MongoDB-based application that brings together customer data from more than 70 systems.

“MetLife is dedicated to innovative approaches to technology solutions, and we believe that the data-driven solutions created at the TechJam will deliver invaluable benefits to veterans and others,” said Gary Hoberman, MetLife CIO and SVP of Regional Application Development. “We are proud to have brought together some of the brightest minds in technology to help facilitate faster and easier sharing of vital health information, enable coordinated care and ultimately better the lives of our nation’s veterans.”

Similar to the challenges facing the broader U.S. health care system, VA has been challenged by the fragmented nature across its health system. Ensuring the streamlined coordination of care has been heralded by many as a promising way to improve health outcomes for patients, especially those with chronic conditions. It is believed that as many as 80 percent of Americans 65 and older – a group that represents an estimated 44 percent of all veterans today – suffer from at least one chronic condition and almost 50 percent have multiple chronic illnesses. Many patients with chronic illnesses see multiple physicians to help manage their condition, which further necessitates care coordination.

“The ideas and technologies that emerged out of the TechJam are a tremendous advancement into our ongoing efforts to improve veteran data management,” said Joe Paiva, Chief Technology Strategist, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “Veterans need a system that can help them be informed, active participants in their medical care. In order to achieve this, veterans need a system that helps break down the silos that can hinder them from receiving the most comprehensive and coordinated care possible. Few companies have been able to offer a solution that takes into account the complexity of the VA system, so we are thrilled at the opportunity to enhance our veterans’ lives with this technology. These solutions will be revolutionary for both medical providers who serve our vets and veterans themselves.”

The panel of TechJam judges included:

  • Joe Paiva, Chief Technology Strategist, Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Harold Kudler, MD, Associate Director – Clinical, Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Marty Lippert, EVP, Head of Global Technology & Operations, MetLife
  • Gary Hoberman, Senior Vice President and CIO of Regional Application Development, MetLife
  • Charles Coleman, Senior Executive, IBM
  • Brian Harry, Technical Fellow, Microsoft
  • Gregory Hopper, Office of the CTO - Strategic Planning Team, NetApp, and Adjunct Professor, Duke University
  • Dennis Kekas, Associate Vice Chancellor, North Carolina State University

MetLife was supported in organizing the event by several partner organizations, including Microsoft, Infusion, and MongoDB. Partner companies provided the software and technology to power the competition and development of solutions. They also served as on-site mentors who assisted and collaborated with competitors throughout the event. Another partner, Veracode, will be providing a second chance prize for most secure solution in the coming weeks. The MetLife TechJam brought together talent from local universities and tech companies, including IBM, DB Global Technology, Cognizant, Tata Consultancy Services, and Duke University.

The MetLife TechJam kicked off as MetLife broke ground on its new global technology hub in Cary, N.C. MetLife’s move to North Carolina is projected to create a combined 2,600 jobs in Cary and Charlotte by the end of 2015.

For more information about MetLife Global Technology & Operations, including job opportunities, visit MetLife GTO is on Twitter. Follow @ML_TechandOps at

About MetLife
MetLife, Inc. is a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit


Ruder Finn
Megan MacDougal
For Media: John Calagna