When I first heard about the topic of the Mendix On Tour hackathon, I started wondering how an app can help people with challenging behaviour and learning disabilities? Fortunately, I have colleagues who proved that amazing things are possible when you give a team of creative people one day to develop a solution.
Mendix On Tour hackathon
The hackathon was a part of the Mendix On Tour event, held in London on Tuesday 2 July, 2019. Whilst Michał Jankowski was on stage discussing the future of app development, an Objectivity team of 4 low-code experts - Andrzej Stadnik, Michał Gogół, Sergiusz Woźnicki, Kamil Marcinkowski - was diving deep into the combination of Mendix and psychology. Let me share with you the background of this hackathon, its goal was to: "help The Royal Mencap Society to ideate, design and build apps for care workers that consider the needs of a therapist or counsellor as they try to:
- Assess and understand the behaviour of their clients
- Help their clients help themselves to raise their quality of life with self-coping techniques."
The organisers provided a description of the approach The Royal Mencap Society uses in their daily work with patients:
Positive behaviour support (PBS) is a person-centred approach providing care and strategies to people who may be at risk of displaying challenging behaviours. Your mission is to make an app with Mendix that helps care workers achieve the key outcome for PBS: improving the quality of life for patients with behavioural challenges and people around them.
If you’re not familiar with PBS, I highly recommend this video which describes the struggles of patients and care workers in a very visual way.
One day, two apps
The Objectivity Team created a solution which responds to the needs of all parties: patients, their families and care workers. Everything starts with the care workers’ web app. Let’s imagine that the Royal Mencap Society takes care of Kate, who has behavioural challenges. She’s supported by Paul, a therapist, who needs to create a PBS plan for her. He can do it in our web app. Paul can track progress and add events which Kate would like to attend, because they will have a positive influence on her mood. He can also monitor her daily emotions. How? This is where a mobile app for Kate comes into play.
Each day the app asks Kate about her mood. She can answer by choosing one of the emoticons representing five moods: happy, good, so-so, bad, awful. The app double checks her wellbeing by asking to take a selfie. Azure Cognitive Service analyses Kate’s facial expression in the photo and data about her mood ends up in the care worker’s web app. If Kate feels bad or needs help, she can quickly ask for help using the mobile app.
The app sends an SMS to all her care providers. Kate’s location is automatically included in the message. She can also provide details of the type of help she needs, so everyone knows what to expect and prepare themselves.
Online Communication Passport
A patient’s emotional wellbeing is as important as their physical wellbeing. We all hope to stay healthy and avoid hospitals, but many things can happen. People with behavioural challenges may not want to talk about their health issues, but it is a crucial part of assisting them. That’s why they have a Communication Passport - a document where they keep their medical records, information about prescribed medication, allergies and even topics they like to talk about. Our team worked out that the Communication Passport functionality could be included within the mobile app. The app generates a QR code which doctors can scan to open the Passport on their devices.
Let’s go back to Kate. Thanks to this feature doctors have access to necessary data even if Kate forgets the paper version of the documentation. When Kate’s at a hospital, nurses can check in the app what she likes. Kate likes dogs? Great, because a nurse has pictures of her own puppy on her phone. Discussing a topic they both find interesting can break the ice and have a positive influence on Kate’s mood.
Holistic approach with Mendix
I wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I was in complete awe when I saw the Mendix app created by my colleagues. It’s hard to choose which aspect is the most impressive to me: the holistic approach to the problem? Or the fact that they did all this work in just one day? Surely the latter is thanks to the Mendix platform which speeds up software development. But I’m not the only one impressed! Our team made it to top 3 and received the Community Award.
Guys, you did an amazing job, congrats! I wish you all the luck and success in the rapid development world.