When we learned that this year's DuckHacks theme was improving upon communication, we knew that we wanted to identify a specific field of work that faces issues with communication and then narrow down on an exact problem that we could create a solution for. After doing research for a few hours and exploring solutions currently on the market, we decided that we wanted to help improve means of communication between medical patients and doctors or hospital staff. The specific problem we narrowed in on is one that most people are all too familiar with. When a patient wants to check them self into the emergency room they need to go through multiple hour long wait periods just to go through a process to collect medical records and general symptom information. After this is done, they need to wait even longer to actually see a doctor and get treated. Not only is this inconvenient for the patient, but it causes overcrowding of hospital ER's, lost track of medical records, poor organization and incorrect priorities.
Our service will streamline communications between the patient and the hospital. When the patient decides that they want to check into the emergency room, they simply open the app and choose or describe their symptoms and then leave for the hospital. When they finish this process, the symptoms they entered will be sent directly to the hospital, as well as all of their essential medical records and documents which they entered upon setting up their account. Now, the hospital knows who they are, has a hold of all of their medical records and knows exactly why they are coming to the ER, all before the patient even walks through the door. With this service, hospitals will easily be able to treat patients based on urgency, keep a neat and well documented database of all their patients and their visits, and the entire registration and initial check up process can be skipped.
To build this service, we first set up a google cloud FireStore database, which holds all of the patients and their information. Then, we created an iOS app using swift, which the users will use to upload photos and enter information, which then gets pushed by the app and uploaded onto the FireStore database. From here, we created a website using BootStrap libraries that receives instant updates from the FireStore database. This acts as the website hospitals will use to instantly receive and view all of the information on the patient.
The main challenge we ran into was learning various new programming languages and technologies that we weren't familiar with. It was our first time using Google FireBase, Swift, BootStrap, and some of us even HTML/CSS. Learning how to use these tools in such a short time frame was very challenging to say the least.
Ultimately we are proud of our idea and the amount of work we were able to accomplish in such a short period of time. Even though it was our first time with a lot of these tools and our final product may be a little rough around the edges, there is no better way to teach yourself how to use these tools that utilizing them in a hackathon.
Since we were on such a tight time constraint in this competition, there were a lot of features that we planned on implementing that we didn't have the time to get around to. Some of these include:
- At the end of filling out your symptoms forms, you would be given a list of the nearest hospitals that can work with your health insurance. When you choose a hospital, the directions to it will open on your GPS.
- A priority based system that would rank more severe symptoms as the most urgent and prioritize the patient upon arrival. This would allow hospital staff to help those who are in greater danger faster.