Ivana is a Asthma sufferer, one day when she was heading home from university she forgot her pump at the university and did not have a spare at home. She had to go to her local GP immediately as she felt her Asthma kicking in. At the GPs office she was denied service due to overbookings and prescriptions would take various hours to get. Ivana panicked and didn't know what to do, she didn't know where she could get an asthma pump and didn't know if it would be her last breathe. Breathing is a basic right, asthma pumps cost 8 pounds but what is costlier is not having one when you really need one. It could cost you your life. In that moment Ivana walked to the closest pharmacy, counting every breathe and begged for an asthma pump. No one should ever have to beg for the right to an asthma pump or basic treatment, this can all be prevented. We are more connected than ever, we share everything, and that should also mean that we are more likely to get a helping hand easier than ever before. 5.4 million people have asthma in the UK. 3 people a day die from Asthma all because of human error, whether its forgetting your pump at home while getting to work, not understanding your asthma and managing it, and receiving the wrong treatment from physicians or not following the recommended treatment.
Ivana's Asthma was sporadic and was often triggered by pollution levels in big cities like London, this problem is going to continue. The strain can be seen in hospitals with someone being hospitalised every 8 minutes because of Asthma attacks. 185 people are admitted to hospital because of asthma attacks every day in the UK (a child is admitted to hospital every 20 minutes because of an asthma attack).
This app is about getting control over your asthma and knowing there is always help available in just one click. Whether its a friend with a spare pump, your local physician, or a pharmacy that could help in that moment it could make a huge difference.
What it does
It is an app connected to Facebook that helps notify your relatives that your asthma is acting up and implement your asthma action plan ( either through facebook messenger in a customer message, as anonymous shout out of geolocation to those near you with asthma, or customised through phone numbers to contact) . An asthma action plan consists of relatives or friends that have an asthma pump available for you in case of an emergency and are near by, or your gp as well as locate near by pharmacies that will give you access. This forms part of a wider database where you and your gp will be able to track your asthma and help you manage it with the app and its education tips. This will help prevent the amount of asthma related deaths due to mismanagement of medication.
Further on, we want the app to have a sensor connected to your asthma pump to remind you to not leave the house without it, sending an automatic notification to your phone and sending you a back up plan preventing any fatal event from happening. There are also asthma communities that we hope to attract in the future that will help make response faster and safer in a time of need as well as raise awareness about asthma and the importance of emergency response.
Did you know that most night clubs have first aid kits and resuscitation machines but don't have asthma pumps incase someone stops breathing and going out to breathe is only further affected by the level of smoke in club smoking areas ( ironically the only place to get 'fresh air'). Where can an asthmatic go in Londons night life, or any club around the country go for a fresh breath of air without feeling that it could possibly be there last breathe, if they don't carry there pump and don't know where to get one in case of an emergency? Integrating the facebook community through a help functions where other asthmatics can also take part helps build a better response and less fatalities.
How we built it
The app has been entirely built by Eugenio Galioto in React Native (app side) and Nodejs/Mongo/Express for backend side. We also have used Facebook Login to provide the authentication. The app communicate with the server through REST. Client side we have the authentication with Facebook, the possibility to set a profile, and send an emergency ping. In client we have the possibility to open Google Maps to get the nearest pharmacy and hospitals and we can have a check about the air condition around us by using external apis. The app send continuously the position to the server that will be able to match the nearest people around you and give you a way to contact them. The server stores all the data related to the user and can be extended to manage doctors as well.
Challenges we ran into
Pivoted various times with the idea, decided to focus on the functionality and logistics before thinking too big about the concept and the various issues it could tackle in emergency care. Always looking at how a community responses could make a huge deference in an emergency than putting a further strain on the NHS.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Just glad it functions and solved a major problem for Asthmatics.
What we learned
Making it work is a life or death matter in this case.
What's next for AsthmaSOS
We are taking it one breathe at a time. But, ultimately, the sky is the limit.