In recent years, there has been a growing trend in the healthcare industry of preventive care. Such a system operates under the premise that the best type of healthcare system is one in which illness prevention is promoted so that necessity for treatment is minimized. This results in a higher quality of life for patients, drastically reduced costs, and a generally more efficient treatment process. Noting this trend and the necessity to help patients avoid needing to be admitted/re-admitted into hospitals, we sought to tackle the stem of the issue: unhealthy, and hard to brake, habits that lead to patient ailments. From personal experiences and much research into work being done in behavioral economics and its application to the healthcare sector, we realized that it would be much easier for patients to adhere to small, daily, goals rather than larger, seemingly drastic ones, and that these little goals, when created properly, could be the factor that allows patients to overcome their unhealthy habits.
What it does
Mogenio provides an online personal health coach to patients of all ages and backgrounds, wherever and whenever they may need it.
After signing in, patients have the option to choose 1-3 health goals that they want to work on: exercise, nutrition, and/or sleep. Patients will then be redirected to a custom-made survey specific to the goal(s) they are interested in that will ask questions to get a better sense of each user’s current habits and lifestyle.
Each user will then be matched with a personalized list of small health coals to focus on, as pulled from our backend database. These goals will be displayed on our mobile user interface (UI), and on the backend will be given general “easiness” and “effectiveness’ scores.
Patients could self-report their adherence to these goals through clicking and dragging each activity to “done” or “physically can/will not do”. By default, if a goal for a given day is not dragged to the “done” category, it will be considered not completed.
As users complete a given type of activity, that activity’s easiness score gets progressively higher and its effectiveness score gets progressively lower until a particular healthy activity is completed for a period of two consecutive weeks, at which point it becomes considered a habit.
How I built it
To build our hack, we made use of three main different technologies: Parse, Azure, and React. Parse was used on the back-end to create and store our database of different healthy habits. This data was then exported to Azure, which was the server we used, and again exported into and outputted by our UI in a way that was consistent with the survey responses for each user. The smooth interaction between our backend databases and front-end was accomplished through the use of React.
After each step towards creation of a habit is completed, we ask for user feedback on the ease of the task. This data is used along with previous results to determine ease and effectiveness scores for each habit for a given user. In order to recalculate these values, we an added statistical scaling parameter generated by finding the Taylor series of the entire dataset around the point in question, and displacing the ease parameter by a second order term of this data from ease, and the effectiveness by a second order effectiveness term and third order ease term. These parameters are used to rank the steps for each user by addition in quadrature in order to bias against steps that have unusually large values in either parameter.
Challenges I ran into
This hack required the use of many different languages/technologies in such a way that they were able to effectively communicate and transfer data amongst each other. Such an endeavor required that we develop proficiency in these different technologies in an extremely short time and also understand how all this different tech can be designed to interact and build of one another, making this aspect of the project particularly challenging for us.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
In our end product, we were able to build an application that makes use of three extremely powerful technologies in harmony. This task was unbelievable difficult in executing to the level we accepted for our project, and we cannot be prouder of this accomplishment.
Most importantly, however, we are proud that the product we created could be used by patients for years to come in getting rid of their unhealthy habits, developing healthy ones, and improving their standard, and cost effectiveness, of care.
What I learned
Projects always seem to appear simpler than they seem, but once the hacking starts, it seems like there are always unexpected hurtles that must be overcome. While we expected to be able to relatively smoothly and simply development our hack throughout the weekend, we soon realized that we took on a much larger tasks than expected, having to make use of more technologies, and in a more complex manner, than expected. For next time, however, we have learned how to better streamline the development process.
What's next for Mogenio
In the future, Mogenio seeks to expand its model to helping people break poor habits of all types such as procrastination and rapid loss of attention. We want t o become an all inclusive resource for all people to come to for help in leading happy, healthier, lives.