"As more and more doctors, nurses and first responders get the virus, they are then unable to help fellow people who are sick and need the help. I think we are going to have a shortage of medical professionals really soon even before ventilators" stated a councilman from New York which has unfortunately become the epicentre of this COVID-19 pandemic. The health systems are overwhelmed already and there is a crying need for improving the staff to patient ratios. Besides, it is only a matter of time before any other part of the country faces this issue. Looking ahead, what can be done to avoid this dreadful scenario in other states? Is there a better way to manage the situation?
This inspired me to work on a mobile application which would facilitate swift virtual care visits. There have been several recovery stories where the patients did not have to be admitted to a hospital and yet, they were able to recover through self-isolation and meticulous treatment of their symptoms. However, the experience is far difficult for the elderly or people with underlying conditions. Through COVIDeo, any person or their family member experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms such as low-grade fever, cough, or breathing difficulties, can swiftly get in touch with a medical professional close to their location and seek qualified medical assistance.This would directly reduce the traffic experienced by the hospitals and allow medical care to be provided to the more critical cases discussed above. By constantly monitoring the symptoms and recovery of the patient with quick access to the patient's medical history, the doctors can then make the call to admit the patients in the hospital if the symptoms do not subside by Day 9, which is when most patients have begun to feel better.
What it does
This mobile application facilitates swift virtual medical assistance for people experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms. A patient will be able to connect with nearby medical practitioners and travel their symptomatic period with regular consultations from those medical practitioners registered in this application. With swift access to the medical history of the patient, the doctors too will be able to provide guidance appropriately on a case to case basis. The ultimate benefits which this solution will provide are:
1) Reduced load on healthcare systems and hospitals 2) Improves staff to patient ratio 3) Swift and qualified medical assistance 4) Ensures continued care from the same nearby medical professional 5) Recovering medical practitioners can also help 6) Provides another reason to 'Stay at home'
How I built it
I have used 'Balsamiq' Mockups software to create the wireframes for this application. This is just a Proof of Concept as there was a lack of time to build and deploy such a large scale application.
Challenges I ran into
One of the more difficult challenges before conceptualizing this solution was to assess which approach would have a long-term impact on reducing the load on healthcare systems and hospitals: 1) Direct approach - Focus on COVID-19 patients 2) Indirect approach - Focus on patients scheduled with routine checkups and elective surgeries
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
This solution has the capability to significantly ease the burden on medical professionals by reducing the load on healthcare systems and hospitals. This would enable more focussed medical assistance and possibly a decrease in the mortality rate of infected patients. Also, this solution encourages social distancing to prevent further community spread while continuing to support the health and well-being of people.
What I learned
My research was entirely focused on validating the problem that I was trying to solve by studying the situations inside each of the majorly affected countries. The validations showed that the need for a solution faced by these swamped hospitals was unanimous within all these countries and the solution needs to be globally scalable.
What's next for COVIDeo
The Proof of Concept has to be made into a prototype (stand-alone mobile application or could be integrated with Facebook/Whatsapp) which needs to be deployed and tested on the field. The future updates of this product could expand to supporting:
1) Patients scheduled for routine check-ups and elective surgeries 2) Vaccination Trackers 3) Medical Libraries to educate users 4) Advanced reservations for dialysis beds