We have produced numerous healthcare apps and websites for everyone from the CDC to the American College of Physicians. In light of everything going on, we made the call to establish a team to support healthcare workers and communities during this pandemic (our self-imposed version of the Defence Preparedness Act). With the right tool we can help reduce the burden on frontline healthcare workers. We can help save lives. It's not everyday you can participate in a project with such monumental importance.
What it does
Our solution allows the mapping of COVID-19 testing sites as well as to provide links to localized assessment tools (their guidance varies greatly by geographic location) and public health alerts from trustworthy sources. While we know that COVID-19 test sites are not readily available yet, they will be, and then it will be a monumental task to assess and prioritize everyone for testing.
A presentation is available here
How We built it
We leveraged React.js and several API's that we'd previously built to pull global mapping, assessments and health alerts from trusted sources. This has allowed us to reach beta already, with the goal of launching before the end of March.
Challenges We ran into
In an ideal world we'd have had more time to build this from scratch, but in light of the urgency of the situation we opted to go the fastest route possible. Removing excess data was a challenge as the existing app had tens of thousands of locations and users. We've also run into issues where some of the technology from our original stack was deprecated, and forced us to do refactoring and innovating. Scrambling a team in such a short time frame was disruptive, but everyone rose to the occasion.
Another major area of challenge is trying to do outreach to senior healthcare contacts during the biggest crisis of their careers. As a result, we've been spearheading our effort almost completely independently with several health IT leaders telling us to circle back when the solution is complete as they are literally overrun with other issues right now. It's actually insane how much pressure COVID-19 has put on the healthcare system, and figuring out how to navigate it right now is something else.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Our team took the initiative to start this project before most people or businesses were even practicing social distancing. We believed in what scientists were predicting about the seriousness of COVID-19, and we dove all-in on probably the craziest agency pivot I've witnessed in my 22 years as a founder. Everyone on our team understands that we're in unchartered territory, and anything we can do to make a difference against COVID-19 makes it all worth it.
The fact that we took this from a rough wireframe to beta in such a short time has been impressive. The entire team worked selflessly towards a common goal of helping to beat the coronavirus. I'm incredibly proud of the team, and the quality of the work they've put out in such a short period of time.
I'm most proud of the fact that by helping to institute mass testing, we can help identify and isolate positive cases to keep people safe, and maybe even identify those who have antibodies so they can return to work and help rebuild the economy. I literally can't think of a single more important thing to be doing than getting everyone tested ASAP.
What I learned
The ability to clearly identify our end goal early is what's driven the rapid success of our platform. Getting the little details figured out up-front has saved a ton of iteration time. Our productivity level has been really, really high, and that's largely due to the fact that we nailed 95% of our UX/UI in the first 24 hours.
What's next for Health Alerts COVID-19 Testing & Assessments
We aim to go live with test location data by the end of March.
We've made in-roads through the U.S. State Dept. and our solution is being put forward to the COVID-19 Task Force.
Though my contacts as Founder & CEO of AmericanEHR we're reaching out to our partnering medical societies who represent some of the brightest leaders in healthcare.
Our kids have not been able to return to school yet, so we've recruited about a dozen high school volunteers (so far) to assist our team to find and populate testing location data. We'll continue seeking more firepower to track data across the US, Canada, and globally where we can help some of the most at-risk populations.
In Canada we're reaching out to government at all levels for support (federal, provincial and municipal).
We're establishing some partnerships with colleagues from around the medical space - one in particular has a medical app with 1.5 million clinician users that we're looking at embedding a web view of our solution into - that would be amazing traction and reach.
Our online community, AmericanEHR.com, has 35,000+ clinicians that we plan to do outreach with post launch.
We're also looking for private partnerships at all levels. Help with hosting, bandwidth, marketing, research, media, and PR are all needed to have maximum success.