On the 11th of March 2020, when the WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION declared Corona Virus - A GLOBAL PANDEMIC, life surprised us with something we were never prepared for. From social distancing to wearing masks and panic hoarding, this pandemic has NOT JUST AFFECTED 20.9 MILLION PEOPLE physically but EVERYONE mentally in reality.

We found out that there is*a major disparity in the number of psychologists needed and the number of psychologists available to meet the world’s need during a pandemic* and decided to tackle these upcoming challenges. We founded HealthMatch with an aim to provide a platform to help people going through these tough times. Throughout this project, we have faced many ups and downs. But the best thing which has kept us together as one is collaborative learning. Working remotely yet together is something we will never forget.

What it does

Our platform, HealthMatch aims to provide support to people experiencing emotional distress by connecting them with trained responders and therapists across the globe and the website supports 4 languages- English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Hindi. Instead of showing a confusing user interface of 180+ languages to scroll through (and risk not having volunteers who speak that language), we tested a simple and easy language selection page focused on key languages. One of the biggest obstacles to BOTH healthcare advice and technology adoption is TRUST. At HealthMatch, we show that we care about your culture.

On the website, you can book an appointment with a responder at a specific time and optional details about themselves. From here we send a notification to all responders and the first to respond connects with the user. Before the chat, the user can input their mood in the days leading up to the session to give better insight to the responder. We also run analysis based on mood and provide users with uplifting gifs and quotes as well. From here, the responder and user start a conversation on our user-friendly platform via Chat or webcam. We’re proud to say that we have over 100 responders signed up now for the platform.

We also plan to make our platform work offline by employing the usage of OpenSource ClusterDuck Protocol-The ClusterDuck Protocol is an open-source firmware for mesh network internet-of-things devices based on LoRa radio and can include WiFi and Bluetooth compatibility. This protocol enables quick and easy set up of wireless communications, sensor, and other network devices. The ClusterDuck Protocol was created by Project OWL to be an easy to use mobile mesh network that can be accessed by people without the need to have specific hardware or pre-downloaded software (such as a mobile app). Since its creation, the vision for the ClusterDuck Protocol has grown beyond only servicing people in need after a hurricane towards additional use cases around earthquakes, wildfires, cellular congestion (large events), sensor networks, and more. Project OWL open-sourced this project so that the ClusterDuck Protocol could reach the communities that need it as fast as possible and continue to explore new directions.

How we built it

This platform has let us showcase our skills and use our knowledge in the best way possible. We learned various technologies like Azure Logic App, Sendgrid, Azure Compute Service, Cluster Duck Protocol, LoRa, IBM Watson Services, Google Sheets, Google App-Script, Javascript, Azure Database for MySQL and by overcoming problems and learn from your mistakes.

How ClusterDuck Protocol Works

The network is made up of multiple nodes called "Ducks". There are 3 core roles in a ClusterDuck network: DuckLink, MamaDuck, and PapaDuck. DuckLinks serve as edge nodes that only transmit data. These function as remote sensors or as additional access points to a Captive Portal. MamaDucks inherit the same functionality of the DuckLinks, but also receive messages. MamaDucks repeat messages from DuckLinks and other MamaDucks until the message reaches a PapaDuck. PapaDucks are the endpoint of the network where all of the data is collected and can be stored or pushed up to the cloud.

Challenges we ran into

For many of us, this was the first hackathon we had participated in, thus there were challenges in every phase of our project. We faced problems with connecting our database to some required extensions and also linking it with required website fields then we tried out many things, referred to the community support, and later were able to do so. From working on the functioning of the scheduler to sending emails, making it a safe, user-friendly website, and ensuring instant responders as much as possible, every task was very daunting yet exhilarating.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are very happy to be able to execute this website and proud to say that we did something to aid people during these tough times.

What we learnt

This hackathon has not just taught us the technical skills needed, but also expanded our learning experience in other fields like marketing, telehealth which we believe could not be learned within the four walls of our classrooms. When we started, we were beginners in doing big projects. Especially working towards the backend part of the project. Throughout the process of building our entire system from the ground to up, we became more apt at finding resources for swift problem-solving.

What's next for HealthMatch

We plan to complete our prototype for ClusterDuck Protocol and implement and incorporate it in our project fully as due to the present situation of lockdown we were not able to get access to the required hardware, so this would be our first step to expand capabilities of our project. This way our project can be employed to public service even during other crucial and emergency situations such as during natural calamities and disasters. Then, we plan to extend the reach by onboarding more Health-Practitioners and Volunteers on our Platform.

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