A LOCAL tech team has taken out a coveted national award by coming up with an intuitive solution to hospital emergency room overcrowding.
IT consultants from Adelaide-based Chamonix won the Best Digital Transformation prize at the annual GovHack Red Carpet Awards for their app concept Health Buddy.
The prototype system, developed in just 46 hours, uses caches of government data to help people decide where to seek medical attention for non-life-threatening injuries or illnesses.
Chamonix's GovHack team member Ashleigh Green says the idea for Health Buddy came from a desire to take the pressure off hospitals for treating health problems that are easily taken care of elsewhere.
"What we based our idea on was the push that's happening around emergency departments for vacancy," says Green.
"The purpose of the app is in a situation where you've got a non-life-threatening health incident and you need to work out where to go, this application houses enough information, checklists and destinations to help you find the right facility for different needs."
Health Buddy cross-references a patient's symptoms with varied levels of care provided by emergency departments, general practitioners, pharmacies and community centres, giving the person directions on how to get to a place and admit themselves to care.
"Say the app recommended an emergency department and you wanted to follow that direction, it will provide you with travel times, wait times within the department, real-time traffic conditions, local taxi numbers and walking directions," says Green.
Health Buddy is not only aimed at helping patients in need, but also acts as a management tool for officials and paramedics.
The app presents information dashboard-style for ambulance workers and hospital staff to see the current capacity for any given facility, helping them decide where to admit patients for the most immediate care.
Although Health Buddy was only created as a competition concept, Green says the app is something Chamonix is looking to develop further.
"It's certainly something we're interested in moving forward with," says Green.
"The next stage for Health Buddy is really about getting health organisations and departments interested in the product, so at the moment we're interested in organising some conversations around that."
The 2015 GovHack awards saw more than 1800 people compete across major cities in Australia and New Zealand, with teams using vast sets of government data to present compelling applications across several industries.
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