MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Ava Biasini, Jordan Sheehan, Kolby Wade and Nolwen Bachtle are all students at Braden River High School.
The upperclassmen have been named the 2020 winners of the 16th Congressional District App Challenge after the teens created an app meant to help healthcare professionals save lives.
Congressman Vern Buchanan’s office made the announcement this week.
“I can’t commend them enough for inventing such an important and potentially life-saving tool. I’m proud to name them this year’s winners of the 16th Congressional District App Challenge, part of a national competition to encourage interest in science, technology, engineering and math,” Congressman Buchanan said.
“It is so nice seeing the final product of everything the team has done all bundled up together just finally ready to show off,” said Bachtle.
The students came up with the idea for an app that automates the process of calculating medication dosages for patients after learning one of their friends nearly died from a dosage error.
“We were shocked. It is kind of surprising that with all of the modern technology that we have that medication doses are still calculated by hand. So we just couldn’t believe it that something like that would even be able to happen,” said Biasini.
The group created the app in about five months. Before the coding process was a lengthy and challenging research process.
“We have no medical background or anything so we were going from zero knowledge to enough knowledge to where we could safely make an app that could actually correctly calculate the dosage of medication,” said Wade.
The app is called Valitudo and it’s meant to help minimize human error. The medication dosage calculator is meant to serve as a tool for healthcare professionals. The app calculates a dosage based on a patient’s age, weight, condition, and severity of that condition.
What started as an app challenge for the high school students has now turned into something more meaningful.
“This is something that could really make a difference. This is something that is getting noticed and I know all of us would love to see this go farther because not only would it be an opportunity for us, but it would be an opportunity to literally save human lives,” said Sheehan.
The students hope to collaborate with medical professionals to fine tune their app.
“We have just scratched the surface. There is an extensive list of medications that we can add to our app,” said Sheehan. “There are even more features we can add, we can probably optimize the process even more, we can streamline the user interface to make it easier for doctors and physicians. Now that we are getting this publicity and we are getting the word out, I think we are all thinking it is a great opportunity to collaborate with more people.”
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