On June 2020, I was in physical pain and other symptoms of this virus. While I was lying in bed, I started recalling how I got it, and if it was worth.
Months before I ended up like this, when Pandemic took over the world, there were a lot of uncertainties about everything related to the virus, but there was one repetitive statement all over the news: “It doesn’t affect young people”.
Since I was lockdowned, I felt useless and desperate for helping somehow. I started looking for voluntary programs, but there were not many options. At this point, I thought: “I have been doing this visual programming stuff for some time now, maybe somebody will find it useful”.
So, I started calling institutions and one day, an old nurse contacted me back and asked if I could help her with a “dream” project she had. She just wanted nurses to have an app that allows them to count occupied and free beds.
Now, you might be asking yourself: “There’re not solutions for this already?”. Well, it is a complex issue.
Institutions operate on shrinking budgets, and health-related software usually requires costly infrastructure on premises, plus ‘special-branded’ devices to access. It also requires local maintenance, which means is full of bugs, due to lack of specific coders. On top of this, they are never user-friendly, making staff to avoid using these systems.
After some research, I realized that most part of the world do this bed-counting by hand. Literally, they count them as tally marks (
IIII), then transcribed to a paper sheet report, and later during the day report it to a central department where they will be compiled manually on a spreadsheet.
This creates a constant problem; information ends up containing too many human errors and being outdated. Since a bed could be physical moved, also freed or occupied several times per day. This makes information not reliable for taking life or death decisions.
I decided to donate an app to solve this. So, I teamed up with this nurse, which ended up being old school Cobol programmer that worked with mainframes back in the days. She just knew stuff, a bunch of it. From internal politics to daily operations; a great partner for this project, indeed.
They needed this solution urgently, and since there are not many tutorials for ‘agile’ development under Pandemic circumstances, I went to ground zero. I was building this app on hospitals premises by asking and viewing how staff operates.
Naturally, this led to a bigger and complex app. Since I realized that it will only works if I integrate several other aspects of their work, in order to avoid partial repetition -on paper and on a digital device- of routine tasks.
The app ended up taking over different functionalities, such as patient management, medication, lab tests, maintenance, logistics, equipment, inventory and settings for user roles, customization of beds, rooms, areas, medical services for each location.
The app was ready to fully use after three weeks of vicious-extremely-hardcore work. During this process, nurses worked as testers for every single feature launched. Basically, this was the way I got motivated, since seeing nurses faces when things got done fast, was priceless. All this process allowed the app to evolve, adapt and stabilize sooner than expected.
However, even with a magical tool like Bubble you can suffer by your own mistakes, but maybe a bit less. When the app was already being widely used, something awful happened at structural level. At this point, the app was mainly use in hotels converted to handle Covid-19 patients.
One day, a nurse asked me: “How do I include two patients in one bed?”. Before I built this app, there was one rule related to health database structure that I learned: “1 bed = 1 patient”, which it makes total sense. But under this scenario, there could be two or three on a single bed, depending on its size.
This was an awful and desperate point, since all my workflows, database, design was not prepared for this. Also, it was becoming a chaos since cases were rising radically. After creating a bunch of those “you will pay for these long workflows in the future”, I thankfully could manage the overhaul required.
After three months working on this project and visiting almost every Covid-19 medical facility. I thought I was kind of immortal since I was not getting infected with the virus. At some point, I even thought the virus might not be ‘that real’. I was completely wrong, believe me, it is too real.
Today the app is being use at national level, on dozens of Covid-19 medical facilities by hundreds of nurses as users. It has helped them to process tens of thousands of patients. This centralized solution became the most reliable way to monitor and analyze bed management stats and indicators in the entire country.
Some weeks ago, a nurse called me because she had something to give me. It seems that the nurses -who are poorly paid, compared to the amount work they must carry- made a small a collection among them to buy me a coffee cup.
Here is the cup, and the translation of what it says:
- [My Name] Hero without cape
- Even when the days are busy, and workload is always growing, there are those special moments where somebody says or does something [special], and you realize you had made a difference on somebody’s else life.
- This is me with a crew of nurses on the back of picture.
I was crying like a baby while reading this cup message in front of them. So, my message to you is to prepare yourself any time somebody is giving you a customized coffee cup, no game.
After one year of being under this Pandemic and started this public-health-related app. I conclude two things.
First, NoCode is about to change the world drastically. Not only in the tech/entrepreneurial sector, but in every single layer of society. If a simple guy like me -and probably not very smart compared to the geniuses you find in this forum- could accomplished this, with basically no resources. Then, everything will be positively impacted. This was not a “unicorn” story, this time NoCode saved real human lives.
Finally, after being recovered from Covid-19 and its sequels, plus getting that coffee cup message. It was damn worthy to go through this experience, and I will do it again to help others, if necessary. Try it yourself, you will not regret it.
Thanks for reading this far! Cheers!