Software system

RIT student team develops idea for COVID-19 vaccine delivery software system

With a global pandemic on their hands, a group of volunteer teachers and students have come together to create a software system that helps people get vaccinated against COVID-19. Among those students was Peter Hogya, a fourth-year computer science student from Bayville, NY, who was instrumental in this “breakthrough” innovation involving the distribution of these vaccines.

How did this idea come about?

It all started when I attended a virtual hackathon for the Wisconsin Society for Imaging in Informatics and Medicine in the summer of 2020. I joined forces with the Marquette University team to think of a way to combat the results of this pandemic. MassVaxx was initially an idea that came from a professor at Opus College of Engineering during a conversation with an incident management team who expressed the need for a tool to deliver COVID-19 vaccines. The professor worked on this idea and brought it to the hackathon. With the news of the vaccine’s release, our team of students well versed in biomedical engineering and computer science decided to aim for a way to get these vaccines out to the mass population, and that’s when MassVaxx was born.

Can you explain how MassVaxx works?

MassVaxx is basically an app designed to help health-related services when the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to the general public by creating a smooth registration and vaccination process. Our team built a first version of MassVaxx during a hackathon. After the hackathon, a few Marquette professors approached the students who were part of this team to move this project forward in a collaborative way. Fast forward to February 26 and we’ve run our first functional test, which was a resounding success. We had about 30 volunteers who were nurses, software testers, students, and family members on the Marquette side of our team, because the test was done in Wisconsin. We got a lot of feedback. One of the nurses said, “It took us 10 minutes to set up the app and we were ready to fly.”

How did you come into contact with the Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at RIT?

As an RIT student, I had the opportunity to participate in the innovation programs at the Simone Center, where I decided to pitch the idea of ​​MassVaxx. I also ended up recruiting three other RIT students – Antony Lin and Nicholas Mulhern, computer science majors, and Thomas Ryszkiewicz, a recent graduate in web design – to work on the project. For the Innovation Fellows program in the fall, we conducted approximately 50 customer discovery interviews. For the Accelerator program that is currently running, we are conducting approximately 200 customer discovery interviews. The coaches we worked with at the Simone Center, particularly Mark Boylan, Anthony Testa and Craig McGowan, helped us develop our marketing and business plans, and helped us prepare to pitch to potential investors.

How does someone sign up to use MassVaxx?

To date, MassVaxx is a non-profit organization with approximately 30 volunteers currently working with the Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition, a Wisconsin emergency management organization, to test their software. A patient using MassVaxx would be asked to provide basic personal and health information and book an appointment on the site. This handles everything needed to get the vaccination so the patient doesn’t have to do anything on site except schedule the vaccination. Once the appointment is scheduled and all required details are provided, a QR code is generated which can be used by the patient to swipe. Workers administering this vaccine can simply scan the code on the spot to easily view patient information, helping to make the process quick and efficient. This app is also used to help manage sites, track people vaccinated, inventory and wastage.

What are your goals for this project?

I am currently President and Head of Business Development for MassVaxx. Over the past semester, we’ve been tasked with conducting client interviews and speaking to approximately 40 different emergency management service providers, nurses, and healthcare professionals to try and fill in the gaps we anticipate. At the end of the spring, we will make a pitch to potential investors. The goal is simple: to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, so that we can all get on with our lives. If anyone would like to help or join us, email [email protected]