Three High School Students Built An App That Could Help 9 Million Veterans Find The Services They Need

A group of high school students from Fairfax County, Virginia, are cutting through the red tape of the healthcare industry that often leaves veterans living with pain and frustration. Their new app will give veterans and Medicare recipients access to clinical trials.

New School of Northern Virginia students Ethan Ocasio, Neeyanth Kopparapu, and Shreeja Kikkisetti worked together to build the app. According to WTOP, the students are part of the Girls Computing League, a nonprofit organization that brings technology eduction to socioeconomic and racial minorities, took about 6 months to complete the Clinical Trial Selector.

“We really hope that our program will help those 9 million veterans find programs that they need much, much faster,” Ocasio said.

Source: US Department of Veterans Affairs
Girls Computing League took Honorable Mention at the VA AI Tech Sprint.

Along with veterans, this app is expected to help 50 million Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

The students put their app together with some initial guidance from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs’ artificial intelligence team. The team wanted to learn more about how large datasets and AI could be used to improve veterans lives, and invited developers to bring their best ideas to the VA Health AI Tech Sprint.

Source: Pexels
The Clinical Trial Selector would help doctors find clinical trials for their patients.



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As WTOP reports, the sprint was not without its challenges. Though the students were talented in software development, but this problem also required them to understand how to match clinical conditions with medical codes, and automate the process for patients and doctors.

At the conclusion of the event, the Girls Computing League was awarded Honorable Mention, solving what the VA calls the “reverse problem” of clinical trial recruitment. Clinical Trial Selector will give physicians can look for potential clinical trials for their patients on Medicaid/Medicare.

“These days, kids have a lot of power to do something impactful,” Ocasio said.

Source: Pexels
Other apps presented at the AI Tech Sprint would help doctors and nurses provide veterans with better care, more efficiently.

First place in the sprint was awarded to Composite Apps’ CURA Patient, an app that helps clinical teams quickly and easily track visits with patients and customize care plans, while providing patients with an understandable summary of their plan and a method of tracking progress.

Others that took part in the AI Tech Sprint’s “demo day” included:

  • LifeOmic – Built a visualization tool with machine learning perspective for VA precision oncology data commons
  • MyCancerDB – Worked on deploying infrastructure to support the generation and querying of large-scale datasets to enable AI, using a VA precision oncology data commons dataset.
  • Oracle Healthcare – Demonstrated an AI-driven customer experience interface to connect the patient and clinician to simplify data driven discussion related to clinical trial options.
  • Sanford Imagenetics – Generated a usable product for determination of the relevance of pharmacogenetic testing based on patient characteristics.

“We applaud Composite Apps and Girls Computing League for being recognized in this national challenge and industry for their pioneering projects during the AI Tech Sprint,” said NAII Director Dr. Gil Alterovitz. “It is encouraging to see technologists, ranging from high school students to world-leading physicians, engaged in efforts to help our nation’s Veterans with their healthcare needs.”

Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.

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