Medication shortage due to Covid19?
80 percent of the drugs and active ingredients used in primary care come from China. In Switzerland, almost 1000 drugs were already in short supply at the beginning of the year. The coronavirus threatens to cause an even greater shortage. Various promising medicines are currently being tested at full speed. If a working substance is found against Covid19, and we hope it will, a bottleneck may occur. This bottleneck must be successfully overcome.
Doctors, pharmacies and even hospitals are only informed about their own stock of medicines and little or no information is exchanged between them. Often medicine is not sold out - it just can't be found. Why not? Sometimes doctors, hospitals or other medical institutions have exactly the medication you need, on stock. But nobody knows. Faced with a potential shortage of life-saving medicines due to the Covid19 pandemic, it is essential that these healthcare actors are able to communicate the shortage or surplus of certain medicines within their stock and to link up with each other in order to distribute them to the right place.
So how can someone know that medicine is available elsewhere?
Official health care actors with their own stock of medicine:
OpenMedStock - find the medicines you are looking for.
Our OpenMedStock platform offers the following advantages for hospitals, pharmacies and doctors' practices:
- It shows medical institutions HOW MUCH of a required drug/active substance is available (national)
- It shows the medical institutions WHO has the required drug/active substance at their disposal
- It offers the possibility of contacting a supplier (hospitals, pharmacies, doctors' surgeries, etc.)
- The platform enables communication between institutions that need medicines and those that have them available
- Thus, an exchange of vital drugs/active substances is created
What it does
In order to make this exchange possible, an interface is needed that is accessible to all players on the market.
Our goal is to develop a tool that:
- provides an overview of the entire stock of life-saving medicines that are:
a) potentially suitable for combating Corona virus b) currently in short supply or in danger of becoming so
- offers an easy registration of the own stock of these medicines
The positive consequences of the OpenMedStock platform:
- We enable the distribution of essential medicines
- We promote communication between medical institutions
- We enable medicines to be made available to people who urgently need them
- We enable lives to be saved!
- The governor can get an overview of the drug supply.
Patients can obtain essential medicines from hospitals, pharmacies, doctors and other medical institutions.
How we built it
We chose to develop the front- and backend separately so we could split ourselves up and work on the front- and backend somewhat autonomously
- We setup the frontend with Vue.js and after trying out tailwind, decided to use Vuetify to quickly scaffold the UI
- With json-server, we quickly setup a mock backend to develop against during the early stage of development
- The frontend is hosted on zeit.co. We are using their automatic deployment, which deploys the latest version to production after a github commit.
- GitHub Repo: https://github.com/CodeVsCovid19-OpenMedStock/open-medstock-frontend
- Code is written in Python and we used Flask to provide a REST API
- Data is exchanged as JSON
- Learned new skills in Python programming by using Python and Flask
- As IDE we used PyCharm/VS Code to develop the backend
- With a Postman Collection we ware able to test the backend independently from the development of the frontend
- We are hosting the backend on DigitalOcean, using nginx and gunicorn and protect it against DDOS with Cloudflare
- GitHub Repo: https://github.com/CodeVsCovid19-OpenMedStock/open-medstock-backend
Challenges we ran into
- It is not possible to run Flask in development mode on a server. In this case Flask is only accessible from localhost only. We solved it using gunicorn and nginix.
- One of the biggest challenges was probably finding out what we wanted to include in the MVP. We ended up choosing a database design that favors flexibility over the perfect solution.
- division of work was clear after a few hours, at the very beginning there were a few redundancies which quickly dissolved
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- Even in a virtual setup it was possible to create an application together quickly
- We have received expertise from the medical sector as a solid basis for the development of ideas
- Brainstorming on ideas - efficient concretization
- A fast working team - with people we did not know
- Technical knowledge expanded
- We got off the ground pretty quickly. Saturday noon we already had a deployed prototype that we could keep iterating on.
- Everyone could show their strengths and expertise in one area
- Diversity of different expertise
- Enjoyable workflow - due to the efficient team
What we learned
- Python skills with Flask
- For those experiencing a hackathon for the first time, the way a hackathon works
- That you don't need to be a programming genius to participate in an hackathon
What's next for OpenMedStock
- Collaboration with suppliers of warehouse/article software to create interfaces for automatic connection
- Offers a simple search function for medicines and active substances and their stocks
- Building an interoperability between systems on an above country level
- Collaboration with research institutes and automated information retrieval to ensure a continuous update of the currently researched and thus potential antidotes for COVID19.
- Using AI, historical data and third party data to predict or estimate when surges will come so that demand can be predicted and supply can be maintained
- Simplification of the article entry and query through the integration of the database of all medicines from swissmedic.ch.
- In conjunction with this, the search for individual active substances is made possible.
- Integration of an automatic prioritization in case of insufficient number of available medications as well as a declaration of urgency.
- Introduction of a compulsory registration for all doctors, dentists, hospitals and pharmacies as well as an automatic information service.
- Integration of a tool for online orders with payment system and offering a delivery service add a filter by countries and regions for the search function.
- Multilingual platform with German, French and other languages
We have the solution - one that can save lives - yours too. Check it out!
Many thanks to our mentors
Try It out
flask, python, vue.js