With a global pandemic in our hands, a group of faculty and student volunteers 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 “hot” innovation involving the distribution of these vaccines.
How did this idea come about?
It all started when I attended a virtual hackathon for the Society for Imaging in Informatics and Medicine in Wisconsin in the summer of 2020. I joined the team at Marquette University to think about a way to fight against the results of this pandemic. MassVaxx was initially an idea that came from a professor at the Opus College of Engineering during a conversation with an incident management team who expressed the need for a tool to distribute COVID-19 vaccines. The professor worked on this idea and brought it to the hackathon. With the announcement of the vaccine’s release, our team, made up of students familiar with biomedical engineering and computer science, decided to look for a way to disseminate these vaccines to the mass population, and that’s what. when MassVaxx was born.
Can you explain how MassVaxx works?
MassVaxx is essentially 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, some teachers from Marquette approached the students who were part of this team to advance this project in a collaborative way. Fast forward to February 26 and we did our first functional test, which was a resounding success. We had about 30 volunteers who were nurses, software testers, students, and Marquette family members on our team as the test was conducted in Wisconsin. We have had 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 a student at RIT, I had the opportunity to participate in the innovation programs of the Simone Center, where I decided to pitch the MassVaxx idea. I also ended up recruiting three other RIT students – Antony Lin and Nicholas Mulhern, computer science graduates, and Thomas Ryszkiewicz, a recent web design graduate – to work on the project. For the Innovation Fellows Program in the fall, we conducted around fifty customer discovery interviews. For the Accelerator program that’s going on right now, we’re doing around 200 customer discovery interviews. The coaches we worked with at Simone Center, in particular Mark Boylan, Anthony Testa and Craig McGowan, helped us develop our marketing and business plans, and helped us prepare to present to potential investors.
How do I register to use MassVaxx?
To date, MassVaxx is a nonprofit organization with approximately 30 volunteers who are currently working with the Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition, an emergency management organization in Wisconsin, to test their software. A patient using MassVaxx would be asked to provide basic personal and health information and to make an appointment on the site. This handles everything that is needed to get vaccinated so that the patient does not have to do anything at the site except schedule the vaccination. Once the appointment is set and all required details are provided, a QR code is generated and can be used by the patient to swipe it. make the process fast and efficient. This app is also used to help manage sites, track people vaccinated, take inventory and waste.
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 around 40 different emergency management service providers, nurses, and healthcare professionals to try and fill in the gaps we predict. At the end of spring, we will be pitching to potential investors. The goal is simple: to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, so that we can all take control of our lives. If anyone would like to help or join us, send an email to [email protected]