One of our members, Nivashini Muthuvel, is currently an emt trainee and based on personal experience she was able to help the team identify the inherent flaw in the first response system the way it is today. We recognized that the current protocol is very primitive in the sense that certified first responders hand record the patient's medical background then hand deliver this information to the doctors/nurses once they bring the patient to the hospital. This causes a lot of wasted time and unnecessary traffic in emergency rooms and hospitals causing trouble for both the nurses and the patients. We realized that by automating the medical background process it would not only give hospitals more time to prepare for patients but also help first responders retrieve vital information from individuals that have been rendered unconscious, have dementia, or just are not aware of their medical information.
What it does
The QR Cross is a QR code individuals would carry with them, (whether it be on a card, their license, phone etc), which emergency medical services and certified first responders would be able to use to access the individual's medical history and send that information to the hospital the patient is being transported to. This not only decreases the need for a first responder's need to hand register the patient's medical history but also ensures that the receiving hospital would have ample time and notice to prepare for the arrival of the patient. To top everything off, when the QR code is scanned by a certified first responder, the patient's registered emergency contacts would be notified via text message of the individual's status and destination hospital to reduce confusion and prevent unnecessary traffic.
How we built it
A simple QR Code reader was developed in Android Studio for demo purposes. We used Google Cloud Services (Cloud SQL) to host the web server and the database as it is HIPAA compliant. For when a request for a patient is made, we once again used Google Cloud Services to securely forward the patient's medical history to the destination hospital and created a python script set to use the Twilio API to contact the emergency contacts of the patient.
Challenges we ran into
The biggest challenge to our completion of this project was the constant run ins with issues when using Google Cloud Services. Because we initially began development on the Windows OS, we ran into many unexpected issues such as Microsoft's Cortana hogging ports we were attempting to use and other such miscellaneous problems. After identifying that the Operating System was the root of our problems, we proceeded to shift our development over to virtual machines running Unix and that significantly improved our working conditions.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The one aspect of our time working on this project that we are most proud of is our ability to roll with the punches and debug and power through all the roadblocks we faced. Not once did we allow it to frustrate us but rather turned to each other to figure out what the root of the problem by opening up communication between the team members.
What we learned
A good majority of the members of this team are biomedical engineers with not too much experience in coding. Throughout our time at MedHacks we gained a lot of insight into tools we otherwise would never even have heard of and picked up a plethora of skills and for some even learned a new language.
What's next for QR Cross
The next step for the QR Cross is definitely upgrading security measures and getting it integrated to small pre-existing hospital networks in hopes of further streamlining the process and hopefully one day gradually form a national and global network of medical facilities.