At any war, communication is crucial. In the current world we live in, facing the COVID-19 pandemic and all the challenges that come with it, the need to quickly/safely share information between the first line of combat is paramount, and the best way to be victorious is to enable/facilitate information sharing at any time. To add to the cause, official estimates indicate that the EU has approximately 10 million healthcare workers, and using the current digital channels for this purpose can be chaotic and unpractical.

To solve this challenge, we present Hygeia, the most relevant and the most recent information platform available to fight the virus. We provide a tool to address, communicate in real time and in multiple languages from anywhere around the world, information of existing/emerging and new heal challenges among the medical staff momentarily focused on fighting COVID-19.

The greatest strength that will grant victory is the power of effective response based on real-time shared information.

What it does

The Hygeia solution offers a very intuitive and easy-to-use mobile web application, compatible with any nowadays smartphone (iOS/Android). With a simple registration step (submitted to official validation by healthcare entities), medical professionals will be able to visualize a smart feed of submissions, as well as to have the capability to make submissions and requests for help, generic information and opinions.

Main features:

  • Healthcare workers can provide real-time vital informantion with as short a two simple step process
  • A.I. entity will collect mentions, ideas, requests and feedback from the frontline healthcare workers
  • Multi-language compatibility, can be used from anywhere in the world
  • Understand and identify intentions and areas or themes shared by any healthcare worker in the platform, and transform such info into easy-to find knowledge to share the ideas and needs with the crowd of healthcare workers
  • Automatic tags and emotion identification to be then included in the post information
  • The solution will prepare the knowledge to present at the best and searchable way of the information/content provided by users
  • Command examples (by speech or text):

    - Give me the latest posts for my city
    - Give me all the posts with tag "treatments" in the last week
    - Show me all the posts with trending tags
    - Show me all nearby posts asking for urgent help
    - I want to see submissions related to "COVID-19"

Immediate impact:

  • Healthcare workers can finally communicate with other colleagues nearby and all over the planet, which is extremely important nowadays - only together we are strong. For emotional support, for actual support with advice or resources, for the exchange of experiences to deliver the best care to patients
  • Currently, healthcare workers are using Facebook,WhatsApp and Twitter for information exchange, but a lot of background noise information is also present. Another negative aspect about this current reality, is that it is not easy to find other co-workers or colleagues/hospitals in one safe platform, it is rather fragmented in several ones lacking reliability and safety of the shared information. On top of that, the exchange of the information is not fast, and it is not easy to get the right people on board. The Hygeia app would give healthcare workers one safe place where they can exchange the information rapidly and stay close during this physical distancing and heavy workload time
  • Regarding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and self-assessment, the Hygeia solution scored as high-level for GOAL 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages:

    - 1. Achieve universal health coverage, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all
    - 2. Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce
    - 3. Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks 

Guidelines when using the prototype:

In the login page, use the following user emails (password can be any text):

Note: Prototype is meant to be used in a smartphone web-browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox)

How we built it

Approaching the functional side of Hygeia, the end-goal was to build the solution using a CFM (Crowd feedback model). Discussing the technical-side of the Hygeia solution, it was built using the best patterns and practices in the world of software development. In terms of tools and frameworks, the solution can be divided into four solution domains:

  • Frontend domain: The mobile web app was built using Angular 8 with HTML, JavaScript and CSS3
  • Backend domain: Built by using .NET framework, T-SQL for database
  • A.I domain: NLU/NLP, Cognitive services APIs: Speech-to-Text, Text, Translation
  • Infrastructure hosting domain: Microsoft Azure using Platform-as-a-Service cloud computing model

Weekend activities

  • Management tasks: Presenting and discussing the concept with mentors; preparing the product backlog (epics, user-stories);preparing the two-day sprint backlog (tasks), setting up sync meetings throughout the day with both the development team (and mentors); interview with MD skilled mentor about the novelty, impact, feasibility and perspectives for the future, related to the concept applied to both the COVID-19 crisis, as well as for the future when the crisis is solved; Analysing data provided by MD, related to the healthcare industry, with numbers and figures to evaluate the actual impact the concept could have; Feasability study and analysis
  • Implemention tasks: Git repository setup; Setting up Azure cloud components provisioning; UX/UI mock-ups implementation; Implementing Frontend solution; implementing Backend solution; Implementing AI solution

Other resources:

Challenges we ran into

Understanding real-life case scenarios for actual post submissions and questions/queries to be made by healhcare workers in the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such content can be very specific and technical. We also ran into some technical challenges regarding the identification and extraction of entities and intents from the text captured by the app, when users record themselves to either make a query or submit a post.

Accomplishments that we are proud of

  • Bringing a team of professionals together on-time for this amazing initiave, with different profiles, from UX/UI designers, to developers, data-scientists, software architects and managers
  • Building a concept that has a lot of potential to help during this world crisis, and above all, assist and offer support to the true heroes: Every healthcare worker in the frontlines
  • Building a concept from scratch that offer the following capabitilies: scalability, resilience, prepared for the future

What we learned

This was a very fruitful experience, and our team members main goal was to learn as much as possible throughtout the weekend, absorving all the available knowledge shared by mentors, team-coordinators and skilled people part of this outstanding initiave. EUvsVirus is not the first hackaton for some of the team members, but it is defintevely the first remote-working hackaton for everyone; It was very interesting and challenging to do everything from a distance, but it was proven that it is completely feasible. We've learned that even when working far away from each other, as long as there's a noble challenge to accomplish in order to make our world a better place, we felt more united and close to each other as ever.

What's next for Hygeia

The Hygeia concept is prepared for a Post-COVID-19 world, as a solution that can continue to assist and help healthcare workers with the same purpose, but also aimed to other features and functionalities like:

  • Sharing medical courses, conferences, recommendations, online webinars, medical whitepapers, latest guidelines and calculators/tools
  • Find colleagues with expertise in a specific field
  • Patient transfer or referral in a resource-lacking places where there is not such a system on place, or for field hospitals (some hospitals don’t have such specializations, and healthcare workers might want to redirect those patients to other location).
  • Collaboration between professionals for research projects
  • Infectious diseases, f.e.multidrug resistant bacteria, are emerging all over the globe - Hygeia will be a reliable assistant in the battle field for future outbreaks and pandemics
  • Health professionals can invite other healthcare workers to join (widespread)
  • Creation of channels per different areas (Specific Research, Specific Diseases, etc.)
  • Another future feature to add that we believe has a lot potential: With all the gathered information about medical professionals, related to specific topics and trends, a “early warning” system can be implemented (by using predictive analysis algorithms). This warning system can be used for a COVID-19 second wave, as well as any other new epidemic

As business-model and go-to-market strategy, it is our goal to achieve the following:

  • Include national health ministries, regional health ministries, and even local authorities as stakeholders / investors
  • Anonymized data analysis in terms of trends, to provide WHO, ECDC, governmental institutions and healthcare facilities with up-to-date information about emerging issues, and to inform their professionals on a timely basis
  • Monthly report generation to be provided (special report with insights – Power BI) for hospitals and health organizations
  • Private clinics etc. want to be on board to share information, also conference organizers, course providers etc.

Other notes

  • A Gantt chart was prepared separatedly and ready to present, containing the project duration, actitivities and key-deliverables with dependencies for the Hygeia MVP, as well as for the Phase 2 of the project which will include the what's next features described above
  • A TCO/Invesment analysis was also prepared separatedly and ready to present, containing the total costs for both MVP and Phase 2 of the Hygeia project
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