Inspired by Nicole's many trips to the ER.

What it does

OctoBud is a chat bot for Amazon Alexa that helps decrease wait times in the ER by decreasing the amount of time that nurses have to spend with each patient and by giving alternative options to the current ER. OctoBud gets the information from the patient (currently just through the Alexa but eventually also through a computer to secure sensitive information like health card number) and runs analysis on it to determine the patient's priority and therefore their order in the queue. The patients data is then sent to the ER nurses as a card and they are given the opportunity to validate the decision made by the bot and update it if necessary or add comments. It doesn't eliminate the interaction between the patient and the ER nurses but instead decreases the time of these interactions by getting the patient's information prior to seeing the nurse and storing it in an organized fashion.

How we built it

We utilized the StdLib api to build the Alexa skill as well as access MongoDB. The Alexa skill was written in node.js and the website for the nurse side was written in HTML(EJS)/CSS/JS.

Challenges we ran into

StdLib did not have the functionality built in to do a session in the Alexa skill that is longer than one request and one response so we had to build that functionality ourselves and because we were using the StdLib api and not AWS lamda the solutions on the internet for this problem were not possible (at least not in the period of time that we have in the hackathon). Another problem is that amazon doesn't send the user's exact request (just the variables/slots) so we had no way of getting their answer for each reprompt without destroying the rest of the functionality or adding a trigger word/phrase. We solved this by using a trigger word/phrase that we believe still moves smoothly with the conversation with the bot and allows us to grab the values that we want.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

No one on our team had ever built an Alexa app before last weekend (we were at another hackathon) and before this hackathon none of us had ever built a chat bot so we are proud that we were able to create a successful and useful chat bot despite the many challenges that we faced along the way.

What we learned

We learned a lot about Alexa skills and more about persevering through challenges and building something that we can be proud of. In addition, we gained experience with database communication with MongoDB and between different files.

What's next for OctoBud

We see a lot of potential for OctoBud. Wait times in ERs are a huge problem that we have all been affected by and is a solvable problem. The next steps that we see for OctoBud are to be able to submit information from a smart phone or smart home device at home and have your information either sent to your closest hospital or a different hospital depending on the wait times in near by hospitals and how good they are at treating your illness/injury. We also see this possibly integrating with other companies in this area such as house call doctors so that you can have a doctor come to your hospital instead of going to the hospital and spending hours waiting to see a doctor, or giving you the option and information about alternatives to ERs in hospitals such as urgent care centres. All of these things will help decrease the wait times in our emergency rooms and improve our health care system to make health care more accessible in a reasonable amount of time for everyone.

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