We heard about the growing problems of increasing first response times through newspaper articles and figured that we could use crowdsourcing to tap into the millions of of people who are trained to perform emergency medical procedures but aren’t in the right place at the right time. For example, 12 million Americans are trained every year by the American Heart Association in CPR- which, when administered, can double, even triple, a victim’s chance of survival from a heart attack (American Heart Association).
What It Does
HaloWorld reduces first responder response time by recruiting qualified individuals in the vicinity to perform basic medical procedures before the arrival of the ambulance. Trained individuals, or “Angels”, register with their certified procedures (such as CPR, AED use, etc.), when they first download the app. In the case of an emergency, a bystander at the scene with the app can report the incident, inputting basic information (consciousness, breathing, and bleeding status) into the app to determine the qualifications that an Angel would need to effectively respond at the scene. HaloWorld's server then sends text messages to all Angels within range containing a link to a map marked with the "patient"'s location.
How We Built It
HaloWorld was built primarily with Java, both for the Android app and the remote server application. We also made a promotional site using HTML and CSS, although that was a relatively minor feature compared to the hundreds of lines of Java code. The server for HaloWorld utilized MongoDB and the Twilio API to store data and send out texts to Angels, and the client app was made in Android Studio.
Challenges We ran into
We had a variety of challenges that we had to deal with but the two main issues we had were reliably getting instantaneous location data and communicating back to the apps. Android typically works in terms of background services, with most methods of retrieving GPS coming from ongoing processes, rather than the "single moment" retrieval we wanted. Specifically, obtaining and sending the location data from an incident report presented challenges. The other big problem we had was GCM, Google Cloud Messaging, which was supposed to accurately and efficiently send a message back to the client app, but ultimately we couldn't find enough support with the Java GCM library, and ended up switching to Twilio and using it to send SMS messages instead.
We would add features to verify credentials supplied by the “Angels”, where they would upload a picture of their credentials card. In addition, we could also add a feature to upload more information about the patient, such as a picture of a medical bracelet or what was observed happening to the patient. Lastly, we would've liked to have in-app notifications and more details displayed for responding Angels, as we had to settle for the SMS messaging due to time constraints.
What's next for HaloWorld
The App development does not stop after the hackathon ends, as there are many things that we could to do improve the concept and the overall functionality. First of all, we plan to reward those who attend to the medical scenes. Saving lives is extremely important and we believe that it is important to reward those who step up to the plate. Second of all, we plan on creating an iOS app in order to increase the size of our ecosystem. The most crucial part of the app is to have a large user base composed of individuals willing to help each other in order to save lives.