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ShowDev: Covid19 Risk Calculator hit 1,1k visitors ✨ πŸ₯³ πŸŽ‰

Sylwia Vargas
I teach React, Redux, JavaScript, Ruby, Rails at Flatiron School | I care about web accessible and inclusive tech | she/her
・2 min read

Hello friends!

I am really happy to share with you that an app that I created together with Sruti Modekurty and Dr. Tavish Nanda (Columbia University Medical Center) is live and hit 1,1k visitors. Read more about:


Demo πŸ–Ό

Here's how it looks:

About the App πŸ“±

This app is for medical professionals to perform a basic assessment and risk calculation of a COVID-19 patient ending up in the ICU, developing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), and mortality. It is designed to help practitioners quickly review pertinent data and make informed decisions. With many hospitals facing equipment shortages, the app may be able to help divert resources to the patients who are at greatest risk.

The Process πŸ—Ί

✨ the challenge ✨

In order to estimate risks, medical professionals need to refer to three different studies, the findings of which are summarized in excel sheets. Well, that's a lot of clicking and comparing.

✨ the solution ✨

Sruti and I asked Dr. Tavish Nanda to draw and explain to us how he'd like to have the app look. We understood that it would be helpful to have an app listing symptoms that the medical professionals can check and then compare their severity across the studies.

✨ coding ✨

Once we knew that, we drew component hierarchy and divided work. We used github issues for project management, WhatsApp for communication (at least two check-ins daily) and when we were merging bigger branches, we would have a zoom "merge party". After we had an MVP, we deployed the app and sent it to Dr. Nanda.

✨ feedback ✨

There were a few feedback loops with Dr. Nanda alone, and then also after user testing with his colleagues. This is when we incorporated e.g. the calculator and the risk bar. Acting on feedback definitely took much more time than setting the app.

Key Take-Aways πŸ“š

✨ build to scale ✨

I'm going to state the obvious but initially, we built our app to be just the MVP, or, in other words, not to scale. And then we received much more new data with nested questions 😱 and we had to redesign the state, which took a lot of time to refactor.

✨ don't rely on Bootstrap ✨

Even to this day, we have this ux/accessibility issue that is a result of Bootstrap being Bootstrap. I have reached out to StackOverflow and to Dev's #help tag but to no avail!

Contribute πŸ€œπŸΌπŸ€›πŸΎ

If you want to help out, please do! We are accepting well-scoped PRs. Here's a list of current issues but we are also open to your creativity β€” however, please create an issue first so we can make sure it's not being done by someone else.

Discussion (10)

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bigfishh profile image
Annie Zheng

It's so awesome that y'all are using your skills to help during a much needed time! Amazing work Sylwia and the Covid19 Risk Calculator team! πŸ‘

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sylwiavargas profile image
Sylwia Vargas Author

Thank you so much for this kind comment, Annie! ❀️

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terkwood profile image
Felix Terkhorn

Amazing. The app is great, but the fact that you made the effort to collaborate is absolutely superb. Thank you.

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sylwiavargas profile image
Sylwia Vargas Author

Yeah, I really don't think there's any other way in trying to design a solution for someone else Β―_(ツ)_/Β― also, collaboration might be tough at times but it's also super-rewarding and bonding! Everyone should collaborate!

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htnguy profile image
Hieu Nguyen

Another gap has been bridged between technology and real-world problems. This is a great inspiration. Thanks for sharing πŸ˜„

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sylwiavargas profile image
Sylwia Vargas Author

Thank you! I switched careers to solve everyday problems with tech.

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mayankjoshi profile image
mayank joshi

Congratulations, for making an app that 1k+ people find useful.
πŸ₯³πŸ₯³πŸ₯³πŸ₯³

Please tell me about what kind of refactoring you did to scale the app.

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sylwiavargas profile image
Sylwia Vargas Author

Thank you!! Well, to be honest, I initially advocated for a totally different state design β€” our state was everywhere. This backfired at us because although one should keep state as locally as possible, this made further growth impossible. Another thing we could have done is use better state management solution but Redux in the beginning felt like an overkill.
Another thing is that initially, our data structure was much different (very simple and straightforward) but as the number of features grew, it was no longer possible to pretend like we will keep it simple :D we had to make some multiply-nested objects.

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cescquintero profile image
Francisco Quintero πŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄

Awesome work!

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Sylwia Vargas Author

Thank you!