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Here's how one small feature for a developer could be a giant leap for fighting COVID-19

While today the two words society uses most are "coronavirus" and "pandemic", iTechArt’s team highlighted two completely different ones in their dictionaries — “flatten” and “curve.”

Indeed, we can’t discover new therapies and create a vaccine, but what we can do is help our healthcare clients slow down the infection spread and — who knows? — maybe eventually stop it.

The companies we work with are those at the front lines in the fight against the virus. Those for whom, along with thousands of medical workers at risk, the nightly 7 o'clock cheers sound. And now when the curve has truly started to flatten, it is especially important for us to support them by offering emergency technical assistance.

In this context, iTechArt’s engineers look back at the past month and tell more about our client’s actions to combat COVID-19.

Sergey Arzamasov Senior software engineer

One of our clients is a widely known traditional medical institution operating in the United States — the hardest-hit country in the coronavirus outbreak. And it was clear from the very beginning that the whole situation calls for urgent, not-so-traditional measures that would enable the hospital to help as many patients as possible.

Still, we didn’t go for glamorous, much-hyped technologies because after all, technology alone will not end a pandemic — people will. So, we helped our partner develop a web platform supported by a good old chatbot.

The AI-powered conversational agent dynamically interacts with people and gathers information about their symptoms. If the doctor detects even the slightest signs of coronavirus, he follows up directly with the patient, visually assesses the condition, and decides on either at-home or hospitalized care.

That algorithm already saved lots of people and medical specialists. More importantly, it drastically reduced the number of hospital visits for minor cases and also prevented a common COVID-19 byproduct, i.e., not getting treatment due to fear of seeing a doctor as the virus persists.

We’ve already processed more than 1,000 video visits and continue to evolve the system. As engineering professionals, we are pleased to get a powerful application ready to sustain high traffic loads, and as human beings, we are happy to realize we are making some small contribution.

Anna Sorokina Software engineer

We’re now working with Julota, a patented community interoperability platform that manages sensitive information between software systems for healthcare, behavioral health, social services and many other nonprofit and for-profit companies.

As the solution had been originally built with care at its core, our client made a swift decision to expand the platform with a new module for those with suspected coronavirus. Since mid-March, iTechArt’s engineers have been assisting Julota in this project.

We had extremely tight deadlines. When you need the product yesterday, the only way is to pivot the current strategy. We managed to quickly deploy the functionality modeled on that for other illnesses — mobile flu vaccine clinics, for instance — though little is still known about the virus.

The module evaluates the risk of exposure if there is a large unspecified number of contacts as well as the presence of chronic diseases, as they may put people at an increased risk of a severe case of COVID-19. Additionally, it’s possible to enter the test results into the module, and after processing the data, patients at the highest risk will be provided with the necessary assistance.

Our team was also tasked with customizing the module for specific Julota clients that use the system for their own staff.

  Andrey Gulidov and Kirill Lepchenkov Software engineers

Andrey:

My team is a part of the COVID Presence Map project by Yale School of Medicine. We are responsible for developing interactive maps detailing new confirmed coronavirus cases. I’m sure that it gives users an illustrative picture of the real world situation and inspires them to follow the WHO recommendations more strictly.

Some maps help identify critical trends and the growth rate in a given period of time, and some estimate the number of COVID-19 cases and the risk of infection in each region and territory while evaluating the operational readiness of the healthcare system. In the future, we are planning to embed the machine learning elements for creating outbreak prediction models.

Our main challenge is to roll out solutions as fast as we can, as, in this very case, the data relevance is the only thing that matters. And we’re proud to be a part of this cool initiative where any small feature is a giant leap for fighting COVID-19.

Kirill:

As soon as I learned about this project, I immediately reached out to a team lead to offer my help. Geolocation visualizations are my weak engineering spot, so I consider myself lucky to work on such a large scale task. I write the code for automating the receiving and processing of COVID-related data — everything that had previously been processed and uploaded manually.

Dmitry Zezulkin Group manager

iTechArt is partnering with a company working on a platform that streamlines clinical trial logistics, offering a broad range of associated services. Since the pandemic started, the company has been actively assisting pharmaceutical companies that are trying to find a cure for COVID-19.

The platform addresses a revolutionary paradigm shift in big pharma's operations, providing home delivery of investigational products and digitizing enrollment in the clinical trial process.

Nonetheless, we all must not forget that other diseases — the top deadliest illnesses such as cardiovascular issues, cancer and diabetes — haven’t vanished. The work on their treatment development must continue even during such an uneasy period for all of us. Thus, we’ve designed the system so that it helps easily change and adapt the existing app version to the company’s client-specific needs.

Olga Aneychyk Software engineer

Though Thirty Madison is a telemedicine startup specializing in hair loss, acid reflux and migraines, they simply couldn’t remain indifferent to the rapid escalation of COVID-19. With the help of our team and a unified API, they launched a new Urgent Care web application within just two weeks.

This app offers free online physician consultations in order to keep emergency rooms and urgent care centers focused on helping COVID-19 patients. A doctor conducts an appointment and recommends next steps for treatment, with all the needed prescriptions sent to the nearest pharmacy.

Why is this project special to me? The sense of responsibility and involvement in such tasks is much higher. This brings the team together like nothing else, naturally making us want to go the extra mile. You know, humanity and kindness to each other is an excellent vaccine against fatigue.

In conclusion

Some countries are already taking tiptoe steps in lifting restrictions. But even under the most optimistic scenarios, restoring the world to health is going to be an extended and complicated task.

We must remember that it all starts with personal health, and we all need to do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Our team is happy to work with people that don’t try to predict what the future might hold, but simply map out ways how to best protect ourselves.

iTechArt wishes them success in all present and future endeavors.

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