What’s a paranoid child to do during COVID-19?

I’m paranoid. Not just of my own health, but of my parents’.

My mother has asthma, and my father, hypertension. These aren’t the most severe vulnerabilities and are quite common in the US, but still enough to make me worried about their health. To add, I’m a fair distance away from them, so checking in periodically isn’t quite feasible. I call them every day, but sometimes COVID-19 symptoms can be subtle, that is until it’s too late.

Luckily, I was able to convince them back in 2018 to buy into the wearable trend and they both were hooked, tracking their steps and sleep with each new day. This is exciting because my folks’ wearables were being used in studies for monitoring influenza-like symptoms [1], similar to how COVID-19 presents itself in the body. Their wearables even track all three of the metrics referenced in the study: body temperature, respiratory rate, and resting heart rate.

This gave me an idea: what if I built a platform that allows me to create alerts for these metrics on my parents’ wearables? I like to hack, so I got to it. It took a couple of weeks, but I put something together.

Steps to a COVID-19 vitals monitoring MVP:

2. I gave this design to friends in similar positions. They were also concerned about their remote family members, we’re good children! I asked them one simple question: what would this need to have to make it useful? The answers were simple but could’ve been overlooked. They included:

3. Next was to scope out the MVP and begin building. For definitions’ sake, we’ll call users like me and my friends, “admins” and their parents, “users”.

Here’s how it works today:

4. The pilot for this was literally my own parents. Since this was designed to scratch my own itch, I felt this was the obvious first step, and there was no hesitation from my folks. They signed in, integrated their FitBit and Oura ring, and that was it.

5. I got an alert from my moms’ FitBit a couple days later saying that her sleep breath average went above the 30 day high

6. So I texted her, and it turns out she had a bad night's sleep. I gave her some recommendations and that was the last alert I received. False alarm. But, I scored some brownie points!

User flow wrapped up in a 1-minute video:

Here’s the live version: https://meports.com

For you technology & privacy buffs:

It was a fun project and one that was timely. I learned a ton and got to apply even more. I’m glad I was able to release it to become production worthy.

Now is the time where I gather feedback to improve and iterate.

[1] Harnessing wearable device data to improve state-level real-time surveillance of influenza-like illness in the USA: a population-based study — https://www.thelancet.com/journals/landig/article/PIIS2589-7500(19)30222-5/fulltext

Product Manager, Software Engineer, Problem Solver https://ethansteininger.com