COVID-19 is a very loud wake-up call for people to take care of their health, seriously. The crisis that it has caused in well-developed countries reflected the limited capacity of the healthcare system, besides more fundamental inadequacies in preparing for the pandemic. The role of individuals in this pandemic should have also reminded everyone that we need to be responsible and take better control of our own health, to the best of our capability. Thus there is a need to empower everyone to manage their own health conditions, for chronic diseases and infectious diseases. There would need to be easy-to-use tools for the patients and their caregivers to care for each other outside of the clinical setting.
What it does
A user-friendly mobile application that runs on the patients and/or their caregivers' smartphones, allowing them to care for each other, update the health conditions and getting attention when the conditions deteriorate. Only those who are pre-authorized by the user would have access to the user's health information.
How I built it
The concept is originated from a Global BioDesign class project, started with interviews on a few different stakeholders to understand the problem of healthcare in countries with overcrowded hospitals. It has since been evolved to include many more use cases, e.g. prevention health, infectious disease detection. There have been regular interviews with different types of chronic disease patients, elderly care organizations, various medical doctors, public health researchers and hospital information security technologists. The prototype is built in Android as that is more accessible, with many low-cost options available.
Challenges I ran into
Finding team members with experience in Android and/or mobile application development - very limited availability;
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I'm proud of the team in building the prototype, despite the numerous technical challenges and the complexity behind the scene, for a seemingly simple application. There are a number of use cases for this mobile health platform, including the use for managing COVID-19 symptoms. A similar use case which can help to detect the spread of infectious diseases is described in an extended abstract submitted to IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology conference, Oct. 2018, in the following link- https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8601901
What I learned
Healthcare could be very complex, with many different stakeholders involved. It is often affected by the government and politics. Therefore, it is very important that everyone is empowered to take care of their own health, as much as possible, instead of completely relying on the healthcare system to take care of them.
I have learned about the mirroring applications that are very useful for the demo. Surprised to find so many different implementations of my dream idea from 10+ years ago.
What's next for SMount-Care
Continue to find much needed resources and support to get to the product launch, including: 1) More mobile developers/ software engineers to complete the MVP, and further develop the product features based on users' feedback; 2) trial users to provide feedback on the prototypes; 3) healthcare providers and/or other potential customers.
android, android-studio, java