by Jameela Mendoza | Feature Writer
“There’s an app for that” became a trademarked slogan of Apple in 2010, a year after the company released an advertisement using the slogan to show that there really is an app for almost anything. Years later, this slogan continues to be true as new mobile apps, tailored to meet the demands of consumers who rely on their computers and smartphones for convenience, sprout from innovative minds that leave us wondering: how is it possible that app developers don’t run out of ideas?
These three projects that won the Mariano Lao Research Grant, a capstone project funding up to Php 100,000, prove that while there is an app for almost anything, we’re not quite there yet.
Medication nonadherence happens when patients fail to follow prescriptions given by health care providers. For example, a patient may decide to not start their prescribed treatment or medication, discontinue their treatment, use less than what was prescribed, or use their medication at the wrong time.
This universal health care problem happens because of various reasons, which may be intentional or unintentional. It may be because of the patient, the treatment, or even the health care provider. A 2014 study by University of the Philippines Manila found that 55 percent of adult Filipino patients had difficulty understanding doctor’s prescription because of illegible handwriting, incomplete instructions, and their first time encountering a prescribed drug.
“TrackForMeds,” a medication tracker mobile app, aims to improve medication adherence among Filipinos through organizing prescriptions, reminders for medication, tracking medicine intake, and increased connection with local hospitals and pharmacies.
“Medication nonadherence is a big problem for the healthcare community. It causes adverse effects like resistance to medication, death or injury. By helping people manage their medications, we are also helping them achieve optimum health,” said Grade 12 student Maria Czarina Kinkito, one of the proponents of the project.
The app will not only benefit patients, their family members, caregivers and those who are taking medication. With an “adherence awards” feature that will allow users to get discounts, coupons and rewards from local pharmacies, users will be encouraged to follow their prescriptions while health care services and products are promoted. There is also a feature that will help locate the nearest pharmacy or hospital.
With an average of nine tropical cyclones that make landfall the Philippines in a year, Filipinos would need disaster preparedness apps as much as we need Waze to guide us through traffic. While there are already several emergency and disaster-related apps available, there is still a need to localize these apps in order for them to cater to users that reside in different areas. “Siren,” a mobile app for disaster awareness and preparedness, aims to do just this.
Fourth year Information Technology student Abraham Tourbier, one of the proponents of Siren, said that their project will allow the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) of Negros Oriental to manage the system of this app for them to easily communicate with their target market, which are the citizens of the province.
“As of the moment it will only be usable in Negros Oriental. It aims to provide the citizens with easy access to information needed during disasters [such as] the contact information of police stations, hospitals and fire stations as well as the locations of evacuation centers in the province,” Abraham added.
Users will also be warned of incoming natural disasters and will be informed on what to do, where to go, and places to avoid in the event of a disaster.
“Although this application requires internet connection to receive updates, it can still provide the information that has been saved in the device before it lost connection. Examples of this would be the contact directory of the police stations, fire stations and hospitals of the different municipalities and cities in Negros Oriental, as well as the location of evacuation centers,” Abraham clarified.
There is still much to be done in Dumaguete for it to be a zero-waste city. The plastic ban in the public market is a start, but the open dumpsite in Barangay Candau-ay and polluted streets in the city continue to be symbols of Dumaguete’s waste management problem.
This is why Kyle Samson, fourth year Information Technology student, and his team developed “TrashForm,” a web and mobile app that will help lessen waste management violations, educate citizens on the issue, and provide a medium for the Environmental and Natural Resources Office (ENRO).
Unlike other waste management apps that focus only on providing information on the topic, Kyle said that their app goes beyond educating citizens by allowing them to engage with the government through the features of TrashForm.
The mobile app, aimed to the general public, will allow users to send violation reports on those who don’t follow proper disposal of trash by taking pictures, send messages to ENRO or ask them questions and clarifications, receive actual and updated schedules of garbage collection, receive notifications on waste management tips and guidelines, view FAQs in relation to wastes, send collection requests to ENRO, view routes on collection of garbage and view Material Recovery Facilities and Junkshops.
Meanwhile, Kyle said that the web application lets ENRO officers publish their updated or actual schedule of garbage; create, update, read and delete routes of collection; receive reports, requests, messages and questions from and reply to users.
“The app is generic so it can be used and applied everywhere…it can be deployed to any city or municipality,” Kyle added.
It is easy to say that technology makes people lazier, but when technology is used to provide simple solutions for everyday problems, it can actually be an avenue for innovative young minds to magnify what still needs to be addressed. With the right guidance, training, and funding through scholarships and grants, young innovators can continue to be the reason why there’s an app for that—one idea at a time.