DS4A Capstone Project Spotlight: Is Your Hospital Bamboozling You? Helping Patients Shop for Affordable Care in Michigan

In this blog series, we're proud to shine a light on some of the top Capstone projects from the second graduating class of Data Science for All / Empowerment.  Capstone projects are a critical component of the DS4A / Empowerment curriculum in which teams get together to work on projects that solve real-world data challenges faced by today’s leading companies and public sector organizations.

Meet the Team

Brionna Jordan (Eslamiamirabadi)

Brionna Jordan (Eslamiamirabadi)

I come from a non-tech background having a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice/Forensic Science, but most recently working at a tech startup on the Data Management team. I chose to join DS4A, as I wanted to gain valuable skills and hands-on experience with Data Science/Analytics

My next goal is to transition into a Data Engineering position, while completing personal projects, and my long-term goal is to transition to a Machine Learning Engineer position.



Kasole Nyembo 

I am the co-founder of 5minofscience.com. It is a platform that connects university researchers and industry through short videos of researchers explaining their work, with a focus on AI and agriculture. Our objective is to make science more
applicable.I applied to DS4A to give me more
exposure on data analysis and programming.


Nadia Ayub 

Nadia Ayub

I am currently a healthcare focused - analytics
solutions consultant which was a role I sincerely believe I acquired by talking about my experience
with DS4A. I initially chose to join DS4A to
increase my fluency with data, and be able to get
guidance regarding emerging data science trends.
I do believe that my DS4A work has exponentially
increased my capabilities with understanding
statistics and be able to critically interpret larger
trends in healthcare data. I hope to continue this
journey in the data science world by continuing my
self learning.


Junting Huang


I am currently a visiting lecturer at Cornell
University, where I received my PhD in
comparative literature. My academic work focuses
on socially engaged art and media culture, as well
as their intersections with data science. I am also a
digital humanist working on digital preservation
and curation projects. In DS4A, I’ve learned many
critical skills in machine learning and natural
language processing, which will help me develop
data-driven research projects in future.


Amber Johnson 

Amber Johnson-1

I currently work in financial services. Thanks to DS4A I will be transitioning back to healthcare for a company I’ve been longing to join. My tech background isn’t traditional. I have my bachelors in sociology and a masters in public health. I’ve had some exposure to data science via jobs I’ve held in my career. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from DS4A initially but this experience has forced me to grow in ways that I didn’t think I was ready for. While I’ve gained many new things thanks to DS4A, the biggest gift was offering me the chance to be a part of such a dynamic community.


Nancy Njuguna 

Nancy Njuguna Headshot

I’m a pharmacist/MBA working in Health Economics and Outcomes Research, and I applied to DS4A to improve my overall data literacy. The arc of my career is focused on broadening access to healthcare innovation in underserved communities, and this is the challenge to which I intend to apply my newly minted skills! These abilities will allow me to more effectively use data to drive quicker and better decision-making and alignment. DS4A built the perfect technical and people program to set me up for success in this.


Evelyn Wangai 

Evelyn Wangai 

I come from a very technical background; a Bachelors in Computer Technology and Masters in Information Technology. I am currently working as a data assistant / consultant for a social media platform. The main reason I applied to DS4A was to improve on my data skills and acquire more skills. My next career goal is to continue into Data Science with a focus in being a data visualization engineer.



About the Project: Is Your Hospital Bamboozling You? Helping Patients Shop for Affordable Care in Michigan

Project Overview

Healthcare costs are in the top 5 categories of consumer spending in the U.S. Effective 2021, the federal government promulgated a new rule for hospitals requiring them to disclose pricing on a wide range of hospital services. Our project explored how these disclosed prices can help patients make decisions on where to seek care, and examined the relationship between hospital pricing and demographic data.

Our mentor is Mike Wiederspiel, Johnson & Johnson. He played a pivotal role by guiding us on our dashboard design and honing our research focus.


Read the Final Report of this capstone project


Finalist Capstone Project Presentation


What was the most exciting/surprising findings from your project? 

During the second iteration of our exploratory data analysis, we mapped our data onto a map of the state, and clusters of hospitals with similar demographic and pricing trends emerged. This was a surprising discovery since our overall state trends obscured this discovery. We realized that our data could be a case for Simpson's Paradox and future work might benefit from disaggregation.

What were some challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

Our two main challenges were: 1) Data gathering and cleaning: differing formats, completeness and methods of reporting pricing, if it existed; 2) Missing prices: we applied predictive modeling. We made a dashboard that anyone could use by making it intuitive, visually appealing, and straightforward.

What do you view as the impact of your project?

Our project has demonstrated that price transparency can positively impact the ability of patients to shop for care. With additional time and resources, our project could have a greater impact by creating a toolkit that can be applied across other states, and for a broader range of services.


Congratulations to this team, their mentors, and TA, for this accomplishment! 

If you're interested in joining our Data Science for All mission to recruit our DS4A fellows or to become a Mentor, please get in touch.