Inspiration: Our inspiration for this project stems initially from recognizing that we are in the midst of a global and historic humanitarian crisis. As technologists with a penchant towards solving problems, but more so as human beings, we asked ourselves what we could do to possibly help. We read and hear the reports everyday, of Healthcare workers ill-equipped, understaffed and exhausted. While we may not be able to produce masks or ventilators, or start treating patients, we should certainly be able to say thank you. Our platform is meant to enable these acts of gratitude in hopes that it will lift up the healthcare professionals that are keeping us safe and healthy.

What it does This platform allows healthcare professionals to be nominated and recognized by friends, family and colleagues. Once nominated, the healthcare professional (the nominee aka “Hero”) is added to our website (we notify the nominee in case they want to opt out), and visitors are able to leave encouraging and heartfelt messages for the Hero. To encourage these messages, our users reach out to their networks via social media, and we provide the ability for anyone to visit our site and search for Heros based on location or name. On a regular basis, we update the Hero that new messages have been left for them, in hopes that it will bring them strength during this difficult time.

How we built it: We divided the team into 3 focuses: product, infrastructure and back-end engineering, and front-end engineering. We used Airtable for a data store which gave our product manager an easy view into our database structure and contents. We used Python with Flask to create a simple REST API. We used Vue.js and Nuxt.js to rapidly develop a user interface. Each component of our infrastructure was built in parallel over Friday and Saturday. Saturday and Sunday were spent integrating those systems.

Challenges we ran into: Working to develop a platform under tough time constraints required our team to laser focus. Inevitably though, we had to prioritize and negotiate feature scope in order to get our project done in time.

Accomplishments that we're proud of:

  • Within days, we ideated, planned and executed on an idea that we feel can have a real impact on the world, especially in a time of crisis.
  • Allocated time for user research and conducted a landing page test to collect leads
  • Effectively cross-collaborated across product, design, and software development to build out the platform rapidly

What we learned

  • We learned how to use technologies we’ve never used before (Airtable, Vuejs)
  • We learned that our value proposition resonates with our target users, and more than ever, people are craving a sense of community (our team included). We received positive feedback from friends who do and do not work in healthcare. Our “coming soon” landing page yielded a healthy conversion rate for email sign ups (~20%).

What's next for Healthcare Heroes:

Timeline

  • The Hackathon deadline is our soft launch - We will reach out to our friends and family to seed nominations and gain feedback on the user experience.
  • Continue refining the product.
  • Begin building a presence on social media.
  • Develop a comprehensive product marketing plan.
  • Official launch (date tbd)

Product & Potential Feature Enhancements

  • Iterate, iterate, iterate
  • Enable a way to provide financial support to local healthcare workers
  • Signature wall to allow visitors to show support to all healthcare workers
  • Distribute the Hero cards and messages as a different medium

Potential Market Expansion

  • Expand to different geographical segments (i.e. other countries)
  • Expand to different user segments that are helping our society during the crisis (e.g. researchers, grocery store clerks, everyday heroes, etc)

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