Check out our project at http://gitcured.com/

Inspiration

  • We chose the Treehacks Health challenge about creating a crowdsourced question platform for sparking conversations between patients and physicians in order to increase understanding of medical conditions.
  • We really wanted to build a platform that did much more than just educate users with statistics and discussion boards. We also wanted to explore the idea that not many people understand how different medical conditions work conjunctively.
  • Often, people don't realize that medical conditions don't happen one at a time. They can happen together, thus raising complications with prescribed medication that, when taken at the same time, can be dangerous together and may lead to unpredictable outcomes. These are issues that the medical community is well aware of but your average Joe might be oblivious to.
  • Our platform encourages people to ask questions and discuss the effects of living with two or more common diseases, and take a closer look at the apex that form when these diseases begin to affect the effects of each other on one's body.

What it does

  • In essence, the platform wants patients to submit questions about their health, discuss these topics in a freestyle chat system while exploring statistics, cures and related diseases.
  • By making each disease, symptom, and medication a tag rather than a category, the mixing of all topics is what fuels the full potential of this platform. Patients, and even physicians, who might explore the questions raised regarding the overlap between, for example Diabetes and HIV, contribute to the collective curiosity to find out what exactly happens when a patient is suffering both diseases at the same time, and the possible outcomes from the interactions between the drugs that treat both diseases.
  • Each explored topic is searchable and the patient can delve quite deep into the many combinations of concepts. GitCured really is fueled by the questions that patients think of about their healthcare, and depend on their curiosity to learn and a strong community to discuss ideas in chat-style forums.

How we built it

Languages used: Node.js, Sockets.IO, MongoDB, HTML/CSS, Javascript, ChartJS, Wolfram Alpha, Python, Bootstrap

Challenges we ran into

  • We had problems in implementing a multi-user real-time chat using sockets.io for every question that has been asked on our platform.
  • Health data is incredibly hard to find. There are certain resources, such as data.gov and university research websites that are available, but there is no way to ensure quality data that can be easily parseable and usable for a health hack. Most data that we did find didn't help us much with the development of this app but it provided an insight to us to understand the magnitude of the health related problems.
  • Another issue we faced was to differentiate ourselves from other services that meet part of the criteria of the prompt. Our focus was to critically think how each medical concept affects people, along with providing patients a platform to discuss their healthcare. The goal was to design a space that encourages creative and curious thinking, and ask questions that might never have been previously answered. We wanted to give patients a space to discuss and critically think about how each medical concept affects each other.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We were pretty surprised we got this far into the development of this app. While it isn't complete, as apps never are, we had a great experience of putting ideas together and building a health-focused web platform from scratch.

What we learned

  • There is a very big issue that there is no central and reliable source for health data. People may have clear statistics on finance or technology, but there is so much secrecy and inconsistencies that come with working with data in the medical field. This creates a big, and often invisible, problem where computer scientists find it harder and harder to analyze biomedical data compared to other types of data. If we hadn't committed to developing a patient platform, I think our team would have worked on designing a central bank of health data that can be easily implementable in new and important health software. Without good data, development of bio technology will always be slow when developers find themselves trapped or stuck.
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