Four Braden River High School students create Valitudo, which wins the 16th Congressional District App Challenge.
After four months researching, coding and designing a medical dosage calculator app, four Braden River High School students saw the real-life implications of their product.
The students’ app, Valitudo, is a medical dosage calculator, in which medical providers can input patient information, such as the condition or infection and the patient’s weight, height and age, to determine the proper dosage to administer to the patient.
For example, a 30-year-old woman who goes to the doctor for a mild ear infection could have her information, such as she is 5 feet, 5 inches and weighs 165 pounds, put into the app along with her age and information about her condition. The doctor could use the app to issue a dosage of 125 milligrams of amoxicillin.
Although the students have done much research to get the calculations accurate, the app needs to be reviewed by a doctor or other professionals before being ready for use.
“When we actually clicked on the app, and it opened up, and we could actually watch how a user would use it, that was by far the most exciting part because I realized how much we can actually impact lives,” senior Kolby Wade said.
Wade worked with seniors Ava Biasini and Jordan Sheehan and junior Nolwen Bachtle (all members of the school’s Technology Student Association) to develop the app for the 16th Congressional District App Challenge. They received a first place award.
“We’re proud of these kids,” said John Frank, one of the TSA advisers. “It’s easy to forget they’re full-time students, and they worked this into their free time.”
U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan announced the students as winners of the challenge Dec. 7.
“I can’t commend them enough for inventing such an important and potentially life-saving tool,” Buchanan said in a news release. “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.”
Inspiration to create the app came after hearing a friend’s story about almost dying as a child due to being given the wrong dosage of a medicine. The group had also learned from a physician’s assistant that medicine dosages are largely calculated by hand.
“We were shocked,” Biasini said. “It’s kind of surprising that with all of the modern technology that we have, that medication dosages are still calculated by hand. We just couldn’t believe that something like that would even be able to happen.”
While working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, each of the students tackled a part of the project including research, design and coding.
The most challenging part of developing the app was understanding the medical research and background and how to incorporate that knowledge into the development of the app.
“We have no medical background, so we were going from zero knowledge to enough knowledge where we could safely make an app that could actually correctly calculate the dosage of medication,” Wade said. “We had to learn that entire process, basically, from start to finish.”
The students said they look forward to the potential their app could have moving forward and would like to work with medical professionals to further develop their app.
“We have just scratched the surface,” Sheehan said.