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Shirley Li’s Symptom App to Make Healthcare More Accessible to All

Name of the Project: Symptom Checker
Cohort Start Date: 12/13/21
Program: Full-Time Online
Solo or Group Project: Solo
MERN Built the Stack Project:
Before and during the pandemic, bedside nurse
She realized that nursing was not a viable career path for her mental or physical well-being.
Zero tech background and looking for an immersive bootcamp experience

After Dojo:
Recently graduated bootcamp, and hopes to join an organization where her passions for technology can be combined with healthcare.
Plans to continue to work on Symptom Checker in order to help patients understand their condition better and provide a list to specialists in their area.
Would love to create telemedicine software for a company who strives to make healthcare more accessible and equitable for all.

Why did you start this project?
My professional background is in nursing. I learned from my experience at the bedside that many patients were hesitant to seek medical attention for urgent situations. Bootcamp was my goal. I wanted to create at least one app that addressed healthcare issues.
Infermedica API was a machine learning-based tool that predicts medical conditions based upon symptoms. I discovered it while planning for project week. The API returns a series questions to help narrow down the most likely condition after symptoms have been entered. After exploring the API, I thought the React library would pair perfectly with it to create a basic symptom-checking/triage app. It would be a single-page dynamic web app that reuses components to display each question. It was a great way to apply the skills I learned in this stack and practice them.
What is your intended audience for this project
Anyone who is curious about any health symptoms they may have, but is hesitant to seek professional advice. It is not meant to replace professional medical advice.
What are you proudest of about this project’s completion?
I was happy to get the basic functionality working in a short time. The auto-complete search bar is also very useful. The API returns a list with possible symptoms for users who have entered their age and sex. The API then filters the list to help users search for symptoms.
What were the challenges and obstacles you faced while developing this project. What were your solutions?
One of the challenges I faced was trying too many functions at once. It is easy to get lost in the research rabbit hole when trying to think of project ideas. I’m glad that the instructors stressed the Agile methodology and advised us to settle for a MVP. I could have spent a whole week researching instead of coding.
Even though I settled on a MVP, it was not easy. It was difficult to stay motivated. This app uses a lot of API calls to get information from users. It was difficult to get all the components to render in the right order and keep track of the changes. It was a test of patience, and I wanted to abandon the project idea several times. My approach was reframed by taking short breaks and tackling other parts of my code, while I let my vision “reset”.
Are you planning to continue working on this particular project?
Yes! This app was originally called “Healthcare Advocate” because I saw it as more than a Symptom Checker. I would like to add more information about the medical condition on the results page. To help the user know what to expect, I would like to see details about the condition such as diagnosis and treatment. It would be helpful to have a list of specialists and providers in the area. I’m also interested in accessibility and chatbot features. It could also use some styling work.
Why did you decide to attend coding bootcamps?
My entire career history is in nursing. After spending the entire pandemic at the hospital, I realized it was not sustainable for my mental or physical health. I became interested in developing life-saving technologies to ensure equitable care. I had no experience in the tech industry so I thought a coding bootcamp would give me an overview and help me make a decision about whether or not I want to pursue a career as a software developer.
What was the secret to Coding Dojo’s success?
I was very impressed by the Coding Dojo curriculum. The breadth of languages and frameworks covered was a great benefit for someone just starting out in tech. Although I knew I wouldn’t be an expert in all languages after graduation, I would have a solid foundation for further study on m.