The problem your project solves

Facing a crisis is not unprecedented. But the social, political, and economic effects of such a powerful modern-age pandemic were previously unthinkable for most of the population. Dealing with this pandemic has affected people in numerous ways, especially due to the necessary isolation or social distancing measures implemented across the world.

As we strongly believe in the effectiveness of global solidarity, we decided to contribute to the safe-keeping of the population at times when hospitals are overcrowded, remote patient-monitoring and patient-engaging products are rarely used or non-existent in many developing countries.

Remoteness should enhance togetherness.

Authorities, medical personnel and volunteer services meet large-scale difficulties in keeping track of the health status and needs of individuals in isolation/quarantine, as well as of discharged patients. This happens mainly due to the lack of centralization and digitalization of the medical data and other status relevant information of persons.

At the same time, isolation and social distancing being the most commonly used measures to prevent the spread of the virus place people at risk of both physical and mental health issues. Isolated population might experience a lack of communication with key safe-actors in their lives, such as family members, friends, or colleagues, but especially medical personnel or caretakers.

This may lead to unorganized, confusing or chaotic feed of informational essence, both from the population to the stakeholders and vice versa – as several cases of anxious or worried persons overwhelming the medical response teams or misinformed persons endangering themselves and many others have already been witnessed around the globe.

The solution you bring to the table

Our goal is to provide an easily implementable global solution that will help people communicate their health status and need for assistance or supplies from the safety of their homes, aiming to facilitate monitoring, collaboration, and prevention in this worldwide health crisis.

Distant, but TOGETHER.

TOGETHER is both a digital platform accessible from any mobile device and an offline solution facilitating the process of accessing and communicating vital information between people, authorities, medical personnel, and volunteer organizations.

TOGETHER acts as an integrator of the main resources needed, such as effortless access to official news and updates curated by authorities or specialized media organizations or access to official helplines.

The core idea of the solution consists of 3 color-coded indicators, representing an efficient statement that allows the fast dissemination of vital information regarding the health status and personal needs of individuals. These functionalities allow people to constantly monitor their health status and to communicate it whenever necessary and as soon as possible to authorities, medical personnel, and volunteers.

TOGETHER App is the online solution having the color-coded indicator identified as buttons in the center of the feed, each one representing the current health status and need for supplies of the individual. Any person with access to any mobile device could be using the platform and updating the status daily or at any time when a significant change is witnessed. While in many cases this update will simply act as a self-monitoring tool with a positive impact on the mental health of isolated individuals (being able to reach out periodically simply to signal that they are not in need of assistance, and knowing that this information reaches volunteers), it will also act as a trigger, activating a notification to the authorities, medical personnel or volunteers when certain criteria are met (status/symptoms). The system is intended to allow authorities to access, manage and analyze all critical data. All the data provided by each user can turn into useful statistics and could help many other users or stakeholders.

Furthermore, users will frequently receive crucial recommendations about the new virus, while the app aims to provide up to date, verified information regarding the situation at hand. The platform acting as an integrator will bring at a touch of a button all the useful links to the official news, helplines and other relevant public information (i.e. volunteer organizations, donation campaigns, etc.).

Any user is a potential patient at some point in this pandemic, but there are certain sensitive categories that may lack the resources or digital literacy required in order to use the app, such as people over 65, people with activity limitations, people living alone or with difficult financial situations. It is those categories that require a simple, straightforward way to communicate their status, which will allow volunteers and the community to identify and monitor them.

TOGETHER’s offline proposal is based on the same efficient communication system - color-coding - meant to be used physically, using carboards, paper, or other types of coloured material displayed at windows, front doors or any visible place. Dedicated cardboards (containing indications not only in the local language, printed in large, visible letters but also in Braille) would also be provided by the partners (after identifying households in need in partnership with social services, associations, and the community) or handcrafted. Every time a person uses a trigger color to raise awareness of a personal need, the volunteers should register the individual for further checks.

This is a way for sensitive and/or affected categories to efficiently convey their health status and needs to the authorities, volunteer organizations and neighbors or surrounding population, as we believe in the power of the communities, and for the latter to quickly identify people in need while on the field.

This offline solution has been already tested and implemented in several local small communities in order to facilitate identifying the needs (medical and otherwise) of the isolated sensitive and/or affected population, leading the enhanced assistance to those in need and reduced contact with individuals signaling no issues.

What you have done during the weekend

Showcasing our idea to a community of utterly involved and creative people hacking the virus was extremely valuable in the process of building a stronger app. Connecting with mentors and participants alike helped us clarify and solidify the idea, business model, future uses and functionalities while gaining a more in-depth awareness of the added value we can create TOGETHER.

This hackathon provided a positive, yet visionary insight of the possibilities and capabilities out there, uniting people from different communities with different skill sets to a sole mission, and paved the way to promising potential partnerships for development.

The solution’s impact on the crisis

Our solution tackles the crisis by connecting humans. Managing and facilitating the communication process between users and stakeholders is a role which shall be integrated and simplified in a one-tap app or hands-on offline solution.

Color coding and standardizing the status of a person triggering the call to action when and if needed is an effective way to enhance the response and provide assistance in the process of limiting the crisis.

The necessities in order to continue the project

Making our solution as simple as possible requires a lot of involvement in the process of connecting and forming partnerships with the stakeholders. Therefore, any relevant connections with authorities and medical personnel interested in funding, adopting, and implementing such a solution are appreciated. Additionally, as the simplicity of the app lays in the development of an effortless and minimal support app, any kind of development enhancement is applauded (java, MySQL or even Blockchain).

The value of your solution(s) after the crisis

Our solution is valuable at any point in time. The platform could track post-crisis any related indicators or symptoms to users who were suspects or were infected, healed, and discharged. Using our solution, authorities and medical personnel could be rapidly aware of significant changes in case of any return of the symptoms or infection risk to an individual.

But aside from the context of this pandemic (and the next), this platform has huge potential to serve as a tool dedicated to patients suffering from chronic or rare diseases. We are aware of the fact that this crisis has deprived many patients of the care they need, and the need for a centralized, easy-to-use remote-monitoring telemedicine solution is now more visible than ever. To this end, we are planning to run a pilot in partnership with the cardiovascular diseases department of a large local hospital such as the University Hospital of Bucharest or with the Romanian Cardiology Society.

Furthermore, we are planning to propose the offline solution with its simple, accessible concept at a policy level, aiming to instate it as a standard practice in times of crisis (in coordination with the Department for Emergency Situations - DSU Romania) and beyond (in coordination with volunteer organizations which are dedicated to providing care to sensitive affected categories).

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