Women’s health is an important part of the broader challenge of medical access. Women’s issues are often overlooked, in part because they often less well understood by developers. Openly discussing menopause is still fairly taboo, particularly outside the US. While menopause is an unglamorous topic, the menopause and its symptoms have enormous impact on women. Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause, effecting up to 87% of women in menopause. Sleeping difficulties, which can be exacerbated by hot flashes, effect 61% of women in menopause. These, coupled with other symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and joint pain, can jeopardize women’s quality of life. Many women are unaware of the broad swathe of symptoms and this lack of knowledge and validation causes them further distress.
What it does
We have made and app with two goals in mind: to help users better understand and manage their symptoms. The app collects user data, which is processed using our research-based mathematical models and used to predict the user's top triggers.
Our app allows users to record symptoms associated with menopause: hot flashes, insomnia, dizziness, joint/muscle pain, anxiety, and depression. Tracking more than just hot flashes will help users be more aware of the less well-known symptoms of menopause. We have a glossary and onboarding process designed to make users more familiar with possible symptoms that they might not have previously associated with menopause.
The current version of our app also allows users to track events that may trigger hot flashes. The default triggers are a comprehensive list of documented events that can provoke hot flashes. Different women experience different hot flash triggers so we have allowed the user to input her own custom triggers. We constructed an algorithm from publicly available medical data to calculate the which triggers are more likely to cause a hot flash event based on each user’s individual profile. This can empower the user to make lifestyle choices to mitigate hot flashes.
How we built it
Challenges we ran into
We wanted to construct a scalable database, which required us to use the cloud for data storage, rather than store user’s data locally on their phones. We opted instead for using Firebase. This brought its own challenges. In particular, we had to think about security, but a lot of the capabilities we wanted were already incorporated into the platform.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are excited about the capabilities of our app. We aimed to have a robust interface that allows users to customize their data. Our design is utilitarian and inconspicuous. We wanted to make the app clean and not pink, like many existing women’s health apps.
We are also excited about our algorithm to predict hot flash triggers. Our approach is novel and is based on medical data. The accuracy of the model can be optimized once we have user data and feedback. We are excited about further possibilities.
What we learned
We have all learned about the problem we are trying to help solve. Menopause is more complicated, and in some cases more debilitating than we thought. From the research we’ve done, we now have a better understanding of the biological aspects as well.
Some of our team members did not know about Firebase. We were excited to use its capabilities. We are particularly enthusiastic about the security capabilities, which is especially important because we are handling sensitive data.
Implementation! We are close to a deployable product. We have built the data structures with scalability in mind. While we think that our algorithm is useful now, comparing it with user experience and seeing what could be improved would be insightful and could lead to and even better product. It would also be cool to see the app help people. Over this hackathon we’ve come to appreciate how trying menopause can be and ameliorating some of that suffering would be rewarding!
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