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As I was thinking of ideas for this hackathon, I was set on picking one of the sponsors to focus on. I picked Novartis because I had always wanted to create an app that would help make an impact on the people around me. Being able to help others with tasks such as remembering to take medicine seems like an easy task, but it required a lot more thinking to make it simple for patients to use in their day to day lives. I was inspired by a video I watched of an expensive automated pill dispenser that had slots for medicine and distribute them at the right time every day. My idea was to turn this unnecessarily complicated dispenser into an intuitive and clean mobile app that was free for everyone to use. MedTrack turned into this but was much more as well.
What it does
MedTrack is an app that intelligently reminds you when it’s time to take critical medications while monitoring cardiovascular health. As a patient, you would first open up the app and be greeted by a welcome screen. These screens demonstrate the basic functions of the app and how to navigate the UI. Once this is complete, you can go to the medicines section and add your medicines by typing or scanning a barcode (specify the name, type, and quantity remaining for each). After you enter the details, you can select each medicine for an overview of what it is/more information by clicking the leaflet that is pulled from the database (setup in settings). Now it is time to set routines, which are times during the day when you would be taking these medicines (ex: breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc.). Finally, in the schedules tab you would mark how often you would like these routines to repeat and the dosage that should be taken. The app will then do the rest of the work by reminding you every day with an alarm on your phone or vibration on your smartwatch. The watch can also interact with the app and you can mark when you have taken or delayed your medication, which can be very useful. Other features of the app include the ability to use your phone's camera and flashlight to capture your heart rate and display it on a real time graph. The app also has the ability to contact your doctor or pharmacist directly to share data or talk to them. Regarding privacy and security, each user can create their own profile that is pin or fingerprint protected.
How I built it
The app was built in Android Studio using both Java and Kotlin. It features many open source libraries and connects to an external medicine database to pull leaflets that have data regarding each specific medication.
Challenges I ran into
I ran into many issues with the database implementation and was unable to get a proper response for many of the strings and files that needed to be pulled from it, but ended up getting it to work after some trial and error. I also had a lot of issues with some of the libraries I was using as they would cause memory leaks and crash the entire application. To remedy this I downloaded an app that monitored each of the app's processes and isolated the code fragments which caused it. The last issue I faced was an IDE bug that would stop me from testing my app every few minutes, making development very troublesome.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I am proud of the fact that I was able to build a fully functioning app in such a short amount of time and that I was able to get feedback from others on its functions to improve it. The database and heart rate functions were also very tough to build so once I finally integrated them I was very surprised by how well they worked with the app.
What I learned
I learned how big of a problem heart disease is and the demand within the medical market for solutions that can help patients to monitor their health and take their medication. It really opened my eyes on how technology can play a monumental role in the medical industry.
What's next for MedTrack
New features that I hope to role out in the next few months:
- Reminders for doctors appointments and medical tests
- Creating a way for all doctors to share medical information from the app
- Automatically texting a trusted family member if the patient forgets to take the medicine
- Adjusting medication times during time zone switches for travelers
- Create a web app so info can be accessed anywhere