The problem your project solves

Transfer of knowledge and relevant information is paramount in determining the best medical protocol to follow

  • Currently, many hospitals work in clusters - each with their own data management systems and within a given jurisdiction certain protocols are tried.
  • Remote, smaller, hospitals are at a clear disadvantage in terms of data and best practices in case of rapid advancing scenarios. Similarly, research information should be made available as quickly as possible to the scientific community and to practitioners.
  • Moreover, due to fast-paced patient treatment needs, relevant data points are not recorded in centralised storage and analysis systems.
  • Managing a wide variety of data sources and heterogeneous types of data poses significant challenges to having a unified data view when fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Data and information need to move fast and be available to a wide variety of people such as medical personnel, researchers, policy makers and so on. We need to be agile in how we deal with data!

We bring a privacy friendly data sharing technology to the medical world. We believe sharing relevant data, from all facilities involved, should lead to more successful and safer treatments by identifying the shortest path to offering a cure for the patient.

The solution you bring to the table

Our solution puts the network peers at its core.Its architecture is decentralised, without a single-point-of-failure, therefore highly reliable and agile. Each user can control what is shared with the network, respecting privacy, alongside embedded high security features.

Providing a core of standardised characteristics, the solution can be quickly on-boarded, reliable and highly scalable with limited deployment costs.

The project proposes:

  • an efficient data sharing system to all participants (the Gateway) and
  • an easy to use app to collect data from the first line of medical staff (the App).

The gateway enables reliable data transfer to all participants, in a decentralised, non hierarchical network - all participants get all the information shared at the same time. Participants can join or exit the network without affecting its functioning.

Connecting to the network is easy, anyone can join and leave the network at will, at any time. Data sharing is done through a standardised interface (each peer exposes a local API) at any point (node) in the network. This allows a wide variety of applications (mobile apps, portals, data pipelines) to consume and broadcast information from/to the network.

The App allows easy and fast deployment and data collection in the field. We believe that medics should focus on the medical act not on filling in long and boring forms on the web. Our App is designed with the front line doctors in mind and therefore simplicity and speed were the focus of our proposed design.

We estimate it will not take more than 30 seconds to onboard a new patient with the relevant data and no more than 10 seconds to update a patient status and treatment protocol.

The App uses organically developed data dictionaries for the various journey milestones (comorbidities, relevant factors, treatment). Medics can amend these values with their own observations which will propagate through the gateway to all users.

Consider a doctor in a small village, making a breakthrough - the information can be recorded instantly and shared in the network. Other practitioners will have access to analyse and assess its value.

What you have done during the weekend

Developed the gateway (tested with 20 virtual servers successfully) and prepared the mock-up of the mobile app. Equally we created a mock database to replicate an actual use of the mobile app and show how the graph will immediately show the best treatment protocols as well as the least performing.

The gateway code is available here and a preview of the app can be seen here.

How we built it

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The P2P synchronization gateway has three components, a P2P server, an event manager and a HTTP server. To connect to a network of peers, simply run the gateway locally and point to the peers in the network (for example ws://some-peer-node:5001;ws://another-peer-node:5002).

P2P Server

The P2P server connects to other network peers via websockets (for example ws://some-peer-node:5001) and listens to incoming network messages at port 5001 (configurable).

The P2P server is in charge of both incoming and outgoing events (messages):

  • It handles incoming events sent from other network peers by storing them in a local EVENTSTORE queue
  • It broadcasts events to other network peers. An event can be broadcasted from a peer node by calling the local API (POST api/v1/events) with the desired payload to be distributed.

Event Manager

The event manager works together with the P2P server to manage network events:

  • store events locally in the EVENTSTORE queue when an event is either received from from a network peer or a local API call. Events stored in the EVENTSTORE queue can be consumed by local applications (mobile apps, dashboards, data pipelines, etc.)
  • push events to the BROADCAST queue so they can be distributed by the P2P server to network peers.

The event manager uses a message broker to store events. For our solution we used RabbitMQ (open source) but any message broker that implements the AMQP 0.9 protocol should work.

HTTP Server

The HTTP server listens to incoming API requests at port 3001 (POST api/v1/events). The request payload is sent to the event manager which stores the message locally and P2P server to be broadcasted to the network peers.

Event Security

Event security is enabled in two ways:

  • By checking the event message structure to see if it conforms to the expected network event structure.
  • By verifying the event header authorization key (a JWT token)

The solution’s impact to the crisis

By collecting faster, more relevant and reliable data from first line medics scientists and peers can successfully identify the best solutions. New treatment protocols can be quickly pushed to the network for trials. Equally, expertise can rapidly be shared from more equipped hospitals with the wider health community.

Secondly, the mobile app will empower professionals, by putting the focus on their needs and not on technology. Our App was built with the practitioner's time in mind. The focus is and should remain on the medical act and patient.

In a nutshell, knowledge availability is vital when tackling previously unknown and fast evolving threats. Every minute and every piece of information can save a life. Medical staff work day in and day out to save lives. Faced with a new powerful enemy every piece of intelligence is fundamental. Our solution aims to distribute the knowledge to all relevant personnel fast, secure, reliable and with privacy in mind.

The necessities in order to continue the project

Discuss with hospitals how the App can be on-boarded and identify a gateway hosting system to achieve integration.

We will need to talk to doctors working on the front line to better understand their needs and how they can be integrated in an intuitive UI.

The value of your solution(s) after the crisis

The gateway and the mobile app can be deployed in any scenario where the threat appears suddenly and there is no prior knowledge or best practice in place.

The deployment of the gateway and app requires only limited customisations, such as: identification of journey milestones in responding to the threat and creation of new dedicated dictionaries for each milestone. Once the journey milestones are determined, the dictionaries will evolve organically with each new record.

The gateway is not linked to a particular data type or participant. It could connect cybersecurity professionals, law enforcement agencies, firefighters, naval or air authorities - any professionals that are caught in a new situation that requires quick coordination and share of data and information.

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