A Filipina data scientist in Australia put her numbers-crunching to practical use, building an app that helps her countrymen back home find available hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.
Maria Reyes' Cobeds19 app is simple—green means a bed is available, red means otherwise. The interface is as easy as navigating Google Maps to track a ride or delivery.
"This would hopefully lessen having to go from one hospital to the other," Reyes, an Applied Mathematics graduate from University of the Philippines, told reportr in an interview.
Reyes included the hospital's address and contact number, which the patients can call to make sure the're an available bed. It also shows when the data was last updated.
As of May 10, 2021, the Metro Manila map is mostly green. The MECQ (Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine) or second highest quarantine in the capital region, Laguna, Rizal, Cavite and Bulacan is due to last until May 14.
The hightest restrictions, ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine), was imposed in the so-called NCR Plus Bubble for two weeks at the start of April to give the health system room to breathe.
At that time, many patients were shuffling between hospitals in search of available beds, with some forced to stay in makeshift tents.
WHAT WENT BEFORE:
It took Reyes and her husband three weeks to develop the app.
The challenging part is keeping the app updated, as it relies heavily on government data. They also made it more user-friendly with a colorblind-friendly mode.
They are counting on hospitals to update their data in real time, and are looking into getting volunteers who could help contribute more updated data.
"As in all apps, there is always room for improvement. We are learning a lot from this experience and we are trying our best to make the app useful," she said.