- Our team channel is #proj-xcov19 on the OpenCovid19 slack.
- This project will come live soon on mycovidconnect.com
- All of our endeavors are open source on GitHub. If you would like to contribute, start here!
- For any other inquiries, please contact us at email@example.com
Project XCOV19 is a collaborative initiative that unites a passionate team of volunteers to address pressing COVID-19 issues together. Due to this pandemic, hospitals in third-world countries are being flooded with patients and experience critical capacity issues. In such a situation, patients cannot simply go to any hospital shown on Google Maps, as they will not be able to know whether a hospital can take them in or not.
This is an important issue because the uninformed patient will likely arrive at a hospital just to then find out that the hospital does not have the capacity to take them in, so they have to wait a long amount of time in queues. Even before COVID-19 hit, queue time was already a known problem in many cities, and it has been shown that increased waiting time affects patient satisfaction, access to care, health outcomes, trust, willingness to return. Due to COVID-19, the wait time in India now averages over 2 hours during peak times in metro cities. In hospitals like Safdarjung & AIIMS in cities like New Delhi, the average wait time for a below middle-class citizen is ~3 hours. For this reason, many patients decide to find other hospitals, and in unfortunate cases, the patients who are not able to find an available hospital on time end up helplessly passing away in the streets or on the car. This tragedy can be prevented, but something has got to change. Thus, the three main issues XCOV19 aims to address are automating referral to hospitals, hospital registration, and repetitive administrative chores.
XCOV19’s mission is to help accelerate the coming of the day when no more patient will get denied the healthcare that they need. Our team at Project XCOV19 are collaborating to build an app that helps patients find hospitals near them that are available.
Our app does that by withdrawing open data from hospitals and then displaying a list of the top hospitals based on bed availability, staff strength, likely outpatient traffic at given hours, available equipment, specializations and top treatments, reviews, and various other factors, so that the patient can find the quickest access to care suited to their needs.
This allows for better distribution of patients across hospitals and reduces the pre-admission anxiety of patients, as the patients know that they have a selection of the best hospitals that they can go to in order to get the quickest access to care. Moreover, patients do not have to do the research on hospital availability themselves, so our app is an easy way for them to instantly find access to healthcare.
Start of the Project and Timeline
It was not an easy journey getting to where we were, especially given the challenges of the constantly evolving situation of the healthcare setting in India. This project has started off unrelated to COVID, but after COVID ravaged mankind, we have pivoted to address this pressing need, have major setbacks, but we didn't give up and have gone through 2 major iterations since. Our idea started off as a hospital management system to address admission, and now as a hospital finder to address pre-admission.
What it took to build the prototype (and what we base our future milestone estimates on):
We are very excited to announce that with the collective efforts from our team, we now have a prototype ready for launch! Both our website and android app will have its first release in the coming week, after the testing and verifications are completed.
- Map of Hospitals: There will be an ongoing integration of data from more and more hospitals so that we can offer our service to more cities in India, and eventually internationally. Additionally, we will add pre-assessment function to assist with Automated Admissions (please see below)
- Uber Service: Offering the patients the option to directly book an Uber from our app to make the pre-admission experience even better.
- Automated Admission: Enabling patients to pre-register and get admitted to hospitals rapidly. This will require HIPAA-compliance and penetration testing.
Our solution can display a map of nearby available hospitals, and thus the patients will not need to do any guesswork concerning which hospital to go to, nor will they have to travel from hospital to hospital without even knowing if they will be successfully admitted or not.
In the broader picture, our long-term hypothesis is by allowing patients to get admitted quickly, then our app will be helping communities not only during COVID, but also after the pandemic.
Time to Impact:
- Map of Hospitals – The goal is to achieve incremental impact as we launch our service in other cities. For the coming month, we are expecting immediate impact in West Bengal, Delhi, Haryana, and Pune.
- Uber Service - The goal is to have this feature ready by end of November. It is currently work in progress.
- Automated Admission - The goal is to have this feature along with the pre-assessment feature ready in February-March. Also, besides the software development, there is another requirement for this solution, because we need to collaborate with a hospital that can provide us with the opportunity for pilot testing. Again, this is a long-term goal, which will allow us to help both patients and hospitals even after the pandemic ends.
There are a few Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that we will be measuring:
o Number of users searching for an hospital (number of unique users who engage with our app in a one day, and those who do over a 30-day window)
o Number of users that searched and also checked-into hospitals (location-based tracking and/or quick multiple-choice feedback through app)
o Number of users using the accelerated admission function of our app
o Average amount of time saved per patient registration
o Rate of false positives and false negatives of pre-assessment outcomes determined through Machine Learning
To build our web app and/or android app, one can refer to our open-source repository: https://github.com/Xcov19
To raise awareness for our application, one can perform marketing and/or raise visibility with the help of partnerships or events (e.g. JOGL live).
To enable hospitals to open their data, it requires an unified effort from communities and governments to advocate for change. Another path of lesser resistance would be creating value for hospitals in such a way that would incentivise them to open their data, in our example it would be to automate the admission process and allow them to process patients more efficiently.
We imagine our solution to offer seamless home to healthcare center onboarding experience for patients. This will help patients throughout their pre-admission process. We are planning to begin our impact in India, and eventually expand to help global communities.
Furthermore, our initiative aims to eventually introduce technology into hospitals where manual labor is still prevalent, in order to accelerate the admission process. This will be beneficial for both patients and hospitals and will propel India’s healthcare system forward by eliminating inefficiencies. Finally, by continuously measuring our KPIs with the help of analytics and hospital staff feedback, we can gather enough information to drive better decisions and guide the development of our application.
Safety, quality assurance and regulation
From a security viability standpoint, our software will encompass many important security features for a healthcare software. Namely, our software will be compliant with local security rules, include privacy by design (e.g. zero-knowledge proof and RSA encryption), and have policies and procedures in place to address potential security issues. The security technology used are ones from open source repositories that have proven to be secure for the past 20 years. Besides being audited internally by our team and audited externally by open-source contributors, our software code will also undergo penetration testing and QA/threat analysis. Please note that we will only carry information like name, age, gender, Aadhaar (or Social security number), location, & covid-assessment. Any other personal data that is not absolutely necessary for our application to carry out its intended function will not be taken nor stored in our system
Just to name a few key safeguards we will rely on:
· Data security/HIPAA compliance - Zero knowledge encryption for de-identifying PHI data
· HIPAA Audit logging - to cross check compliance across devices
· Secure cloud platform (Google Cloud Platform), even for SaaS (softwares as a service) that scales
· Expertise in our choice of Tech Stack to run the system – React, GraphQL, Python, Django, GCP
The main regulation applicable for this work is the US HIPAA around the storage and use of personal data. India’s health data security laws are not as stringent, but by using HIPAA as our standard, we can further mitigate the risks associated with handling patient data.
Impact, issues, and risks
We believe our project could:
· Enable patients experience a hassle-free pre-admission
· Alleviate patient anxiety during the pandemic by eliminating the issue of information asymmetry
· Save hospitals and patients time with the help of pre-registration and admission automation
With the help of our 24 team members, as well as a growing community of open-source contributors (20 so far), our project is in good hands. However, if there we had to narrow down to one and only one factor that can contribute to this project’s success, then it would the unified collaboration of a passionate team that is striving together to achieve meaningful impact.
Please list the known issues, potential risks, grey-areas, etc in your project
Please note that some of these risks are not applicable yet to our first release. Also, the PDF proposal will be easier to look at because of the tabular view for Risk and Mitigation Strategy.
1. Personal information (overall MEDIUM risk)
- Name (low impact)
- Email (low impact)
- Phone# (low impact)
- Date of birth (medium impact)
- Registration details (medium impact)
- HIPAA-compliant health information (high impact)
- Aadhaar (high impact)
- Billing information (high impact)
- Security measures taken (please see Technical Viability)
- In case of breach, the general plan is that Google will notify us, or if we were the first to detect it then we will notify Google instead. Then, the Google Cloud Platform cybersecurity team along with our team will do everything that it takes to stop the breach to prevent further leakage of information, and we will notify the patient
- Overall, please note that one must really be at the top of the hacking industry to hack through Google Cloud Platform, and so a breach might occur and in which case will have a high impact, but the probability is low, and so the overall risk is of a medium level
- None of the high impact information will be part of our early validation stages and won’t be until it is fully penetration-tested, QA verified, and approved by cybersecurity subject-matter experts
2. Technical incidents (overall HIGH risk):
- Computer or phone crashes (high impact)
- Programming Bugs (level of impact depends on type of bug)
- Programming bugs can be hard to predict, but we can mitigate the probability of them surfacing by stringently auditing our code, and if needed then invoke our team of experienced programmers to resolve the issue as soon as possible
3. Outdated software (overall LOW risk)
- Regulatory changes
- Need of new features
- Regularly verifying and staying on the lookout for changes in HIPAA and hospital regulations
- Evaluate new features requests and assess with our team the feasibility, risks, and benefits if we were to undertake a project to implement the new requested feature
Our project seems to be unique on JOGL!
- It is a software solution, compared to the numerous physical solutions.
- This project addresses the challenges of pre-admission and admission to hospitals rather than the challenges after admission.
- This project solves the resource distribution in a sense rather than the many projects on creating resources.
Our project is an innovative and unique initiative that contributes to the increased diversity among JOGL projects and that aims to achieve great impact by addressing the pending logistical challenges brought about by COVID.
· Akul Mathur - Founder and Project Development: Akul is a senior software engineer who has worked right from ideation phase to pre-seed ventures and knows what it takes to ideate, prototype and build a product from scratch to scale. Ex-Googler, lots of startup experience. Worked in Adtech, CRM, Crypto and Blockchain verticals. Clients include Google, Blackrock, Unicef.
· Kemo Huang - Project Manager and Co-Lead: Kemo is a team lead at an insurance agency and has led research projects. He now aspires to leverage his experience and passion for enabling teams to help everyone's collective endeavors bring about the success of this venture.
· Priyanka Indapurkar - Product Owner: Priyanka is an experienced product owner focused on product planning and execution throughout the product life cycle. With a customer-centric approach, she is always focused on delivering products that customers love and help enhance their lives. She has worked on diverse sets of digital products including FinTech and loyalty programs in the past.
· Javier Gorostiaga - Project Analyst, Business Outreach Manager for Bolivia: Electronic Engineer from Mayor de San Andrés University. He has experience in software development and project management for ICT as a professional and volunteer. He strongly believes that ICT can enhance our daily way of life especially in these hard times.
· Amish Chadha - Business Strategist: Product Innovation and Operations Leader who brings momentum and constructive challenge to problem-solving efforts. Amish ensures laser focus towards customer-obsessed outcomes; design, build and test MVPs; and engineer scientific, tailored and pragmatic solutions for sustainable success. Amish has held various senior roles over a progressively international, technical and commercial leadership career spanning 20 years; building teams to deliver digital, operational, risk & commercial growth strategies and product solutions - for startups, JV’s & medium-large organizations across the public and private sector.
Moreover, we are supported by a growing team of volunteers and open-source contributors that are involved with providing their expertise around software engineering, designing, GIS, etc.
Our project's self-funded budget has been used to pay infrastructure costs for hosting the project (Amazon Web Service, Google Cloud Platform and related cloud-services), management software (Jira, Confluence, & Notion), and marketing our project (Instagram ads).
We are seeking our initial round of funding to further develop our software to build out the automated admission function, which requires us to sustain our current spending. Furthermore, as we are launching our app, we need the initial marketing to raise awareness and help patients realize that such a service exists. We have not been able to find an User Researcher from India, and therefore it would not be possible for us to move forward with validation without sufficient analytical data from marketing.
The costs (and estimated costs for marketing) for the next 3 months are:
· Buildout: Amazon Web Service, Google Cloud Platform, related cloud-services, Jira, Confluence, Notion (100 EUR)
· Marketing: Instagram Ads, Google Ads, and Facebook Ads (400 EUR)
Ideally we would have enough funding to hire an User Researcher, but realistically for now we will focus on marketing as we look for user researcher volunteers. We are asking for 500 EUR which will allow us to at least maintain our velocity of development while raising awareness for our application’s launch. With your support, we will be moving towards exponential impact because once we build out the automated admission, we will be able to offer more attractive terms for hospitals and incentivize them to open their data and adopt our solution to benefit both patients and hospitals.