COVID-19 Rapid Action Patient Dispatch Solution
by Akul Mathur
Participating to challenge(s): Evaluation and Validation of Open Source Solutions, Covid19 Prevention, OpenCovid19 - Grant Review Round 5
- Short Name: #XCOV19
- Status: Active/Ongoing
- Project title: COVID-19 Rapid Action Patient Dispatch Solution
- Shortname: XCoV19
- Short description: Project XCOV19 is a collaborative initiative that unites a passionate team of volunteers to address pressing COVID-19 issues together. We're live on www.mycovidconnect.com!
- Project Banner:
- Team composition: @Akul Mathur, @Densearn Seo, @Melissa H., @Neha Singh, @Summer Walls, @Mallory Martinez, @Javier Gorostiaga, @Vasilya Nizamova, @Jason Jin, @Priyanka Indapurkar, @Barbara P, @Kemo Huang, @Amish Chadha, and the charitable contribution of more than 30 open-source developers.
- Keywords associated with the project: #opensource #hospitaldiscoverability #pre-registration
- Our team channel is #proj-xcov19 on the OpenCovid19 slack.
- All of our endeavors are open source on GitHub. If you would like to contribute, start here!
- Connect with us! LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram
- For any other inquiries, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
1.1 Problem and Background
Existing outpatient consultation has gaps between healthcare facility search and wait times in the queue during registration. This bottleneck is a contributing factor to critical capacity issues managing inpatient and outpatient flow.
The difficulty lies in obtaining a clinical assessment or scheduling a medical appointment through existing reservation systems that lack hyperlocal triage. Despite the introduction of the Aadhar Card in India and Social Security Numbers in the western world; mobile applications, QR code technology and more prevalent uses of Hospital Management Solutions remain poorly connected amongst each other to manage the velocity, volume, variability, variety or valence of patient flow. The most recent debacles associated with the Co-Win system behind India's vaccination drive provides further proof of such challenges. In these scenarios, patients cannot simply visit any hospital shown on Google Maps, as they have no visibility on wait times, triage capacity nor on if they can be attended to in a timely manner (in the case of a potential admission).
This is a preventable tragedy.
We offer an app-based solution that significantly reduces wait time at the hospital, and allows patients to filter their search for nearby healthcare facilities by different attributes e.g. Vaccine Distribution, hospital speciality, diagnostic labs.
It queries healthcare sites to offer best hospitals or health sites that have a likelihood of fast patient appointments or scheduling, hassle-free. It can be extended in the future to book appointments on the patient's behalf.
With the roll out of coronavirus vaccines, our beta release aims to integrate with COWIN APIs which will enable patients to:
- Discover the closest vaccine distribution clinic / center
- Make vaccine appointment bookings through the app - enabled through APIs
- Book their Uber ride to and from their vaccine appointment (based on cab availability)
1.3 Solution summary in technical terms
Our solution acts like a Health Aggregator. Much like how you would utilise a food reservation system like DoorDash or Zomato with multiple payment gateways. To ensure a smooth consultation/reservation experience, we rely on historical data, patient ratings, reservation outcomes to ensure which plug and play backends would likely enable the fastest triage at a particular facility for all nearest health care providers to a patient. This enables a Hospital Ranking for the user to select from. We aim to provide the Top 5 options in any given geolocation so that a random selection should still provide patients a faster than "national average" for OPD experience.
This allows for effective distribution of patients across hospitals and reduces pre-admission human intervention and glitches.
Moreover, patients no longer have to lose precious time calling up hospitals to assess availability themselves. Our app offers a more efficient means of navigating access to necessary healthcare or vaccinations.
1.4 State of advancement of the project
Our project's drivers were initially focused on hospital discoverability and enhancing the pre-admission triage wait time associated with patient experience at hospitals across the country. COVID has provided greater urgency to this ambition and allowed us to focus our efforts around discoverability and supporting vaccine distribution logistics to drive customer acquisition - this will be the focus of our initial release prototype.
As part of product development we have already roadmapped a future set of features to enhance the patient experience as part of later release configurations, including:
- Integration with a Vaccine Passport initiative
- Personal health repository for patients - details on medical history to support hospital triage forms, records of lab tests and results
- Portal to online pharmacies
What it took to build the prototype (and what we base our future milestone estimates on):
1.5 Project Timeline
Since then, we've been growing the team, gathering feedback, and developing our Minimum Viable Product (MVP). We are very excited to announce that with the collective efforts from our team, we are now live with an initial web-app prototype in Bangalore, India.
We are currently working on building out the vaccine-booking function in the coming weeks, along with a heavy focus on QA testing and user research.
- Generating awareness about our app so that patients can start benefiting from our app
- Getting data on the vaccine distribution criteria and rules from both public and private sector hospitals
- Expand our service to other regions in India
2.0 Project Implementation
Our solution can display a map of nearby available hospitals, eliminating patient guesswork around hospital locations. Nor will they have to travel from hospital to hospital without knowing if the hospital has appointments available for a vaccine, or if there is capacity to admit a patient if the urgency requires it.
By targeting expediency with hospital discoverability enabled through online and app based services, and facilitating a reduction in hospital triage wait times, our solution will be helping patient communities well beyond the pandemic; by addressing a fundamental and basic failure of organizational productivity in the healthcare delivery lifecycle.
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 - This feature is ready.
- Vaccine Appointment Booking - Work in progress
There are a few Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that we will be measuring:
- Number of users searching for a vaccine distribution hospital (number of unique users who engage with our app in a one day, and those who do over a 30-day window)
- Number of users that searched and also made vaccine appointment bookings (location-based tracking and/or quick multiple-choice feedback through app)
- Number of people who booked a cab/taxi service through our app
- 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 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. This will be beneficial for both patients and hospitals and will propel India’s healthcare system forward. Through active focus on measuring and evolving our KPIs with the help of analytics and patient feedback, we can gather enough information to drive better decisions and guide the development of our application.
3.0 Safety, quality assurance and regulation
From a security viability standpoint, our software will encompass many important security features for a healthcare application. Namely, our software will be compliant with local security rules, include privacy by design 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 for now. 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.
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.
4.0 Impact, issues and risks
We believe our project could:
· Enable improved outcomes for patient experience
· Alleviate patient anxiety during the pandemic by eliminating the issue of information asymmetry
· Save hospitals and patients time with the help of pre-registration
Our little team grew from 25 team members to over 70 volunteers in just over 3 months, including a growing community of open-source contributors.
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)
- Mitigation Strategy:
- 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)
- Mitigation Strategy:
- 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
- Mitigation Strategy:
- 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 hospital discoverability and pre-admission rather than patient challenges post-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.
6.0 Team experience
· 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 the user research team's collective endeavors bring about the success of this venture through continuous hypothesis testing and validation of new solution ideas.
· 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 and Co-lead: 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.
7.0 Funding and Costs
Our project has been funded by JOGL for 500 EUR and we used a self-funded budget to support our additional costs. These have been used to pay for:
- Infrastructure costs for hosting the project (Amazon Web Service, Google Cloud Platform and related cloud-services),
- Management software (Jira, Confluence, & Notion), freelance UX designer (for our logo), user research (Vonage), marketing our project (Instagram ads), and attending events (to learn the best practices of quality healthcare delivery e.g. Caho).
We are seeking our second round of funding mainly to:
- Accelerate user research
- Sustain & accelerate our current software development efforts to build out the future functions (discussed above).
- Support initial marketing efforts to raise awareness and help patients realize that such a service exists.
The costs (and estimated costs for marketing and user research) for the next 3 months are:
- Software development: Despite numerous volunteers, many are not active. Thus, this fund will go towards hiring a software development agency (1700 EUR)
- Infrastructure: Amazon Web Service, Google Cloud Platform, related cloud-services, Jira, Confluence, Notion (150 EUR)
- Communication channels: Zoom (150 EUR)
- Marketing: Instagram Ads, Google Ads, MailChimp, and Facebook Ads (1000 EUR)
- User research: Incentives for surveys and interviews, Google Voice, and Qualtrics (1000 EUR)
We are asking for 4000 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 and launch the vaccine appointment booking prototype, we will build momentum on the path of customer acquisitions - which will further enable us to leverage volumes in discussions with hospitals, incentivizing them to open their data and adopt our solution to benefit both patients and hospitals.
8.0 Achievement and Benefits of funding
• Latest results, development and methods: We've finished building the hospital search function for Bangalore, and are setting up the same for other cities in India. Our team has been growing rapidly, with 5 new active teammates for operations, 8 for QA, 3 for user research, and 6 for software development, as well as numerous passive contributors.
• How JOGL and its micro-grant has enabled you to accelerate your project- Our first JOGL grant (500 EUR) has been essential to cover the basic costs of buildout of our prototype: Adobe XD, Amazon Web Service, Google Cloud Platform, related cloud-services, Jira, Vonage, Confluence, and Notion.
• Latest results and development! Clickable prototype available now: https://xd.adobe.com/view/151ada98-18fe-4a08-ac13-0f4c44f0b417-4049/
Thank you JOGL Team and JOGL community for your continuous support!