HUGS for COVID patients – OSU Students Tackle AFFORDABLE’s Design Challenges

AFFORDABLE’s mission is to connect these networks of healthcare and health supporting organizations into a portal, while concurrently reducing the complexity of the process for the individuals in need. Part of this process is the easy fluid transfer of financial aid, and this applied to the COVID-19 Relief Programs that AFFORDABLE has worked to coordinate and sponsor. With the aid we have collected, we wanted to use the AFFORDABLE portal to directly transfer financial aid after their information and request was evaluated.

This semester’s team consisted of  Van, Reis, Sanja, and Michael as they sought to approach the difficult technical limitations that prevented our platform from launching to go live and start filling request and recruiting more charitable organizations to use our system. The first issue was with our COVID Relief programs. There were attempts by prior teams to implement the payment processing with Stripe and plaid APIs to allow direct transfer of aid to individuals in need.

There were unfinished technicalities with their implementation and resulted in incomplete transfers in its current state. Thus, they went and using AFFORDABLE’s integrated forms to gather the necessary information to link a bank account with us so that a transfer can be made. This was much smoother than using the Stripe forms provided, as people are less familiar with this website (compared to a similar service Paypal). Using the standard microdeposit method, users can now successfully link their account and manage it from their profile pages. This makes the COVID-relief program effectively functional for deployment.

The next challenge was improving the current Health Utilizing Grant system (HUGs). Prior teams have implemented a prototype of how microgrants could be build and delivered to users applying for need in the system. This team worked on refining this process and making it more accessible to the common user. Now, there are only a few parameters that the user would need to fill out to apply for aid. Then, the donor can manage their HUG more effectively using a similar dashboard system that would allow for easy management.

The last primary challenge was making sure that everything worked privately and securely. While our system was always secure, our JWT tokens would sometimes inappropriately log out the user and prevent them from accessing the pages that they wanted. Unfortunately, due to challenges faced during the COVID19 pandemic, we lost members of the team who were unable to finish their commitment to the project and had to drop out. Thus, this prevented our application from being able to launch for the general public.

While this was certainly disheartening for some, we made a lot of progress over these few months! There are so many functions and features that are available that just need to be cleaned up and refined. We commend them for their great work this semester and wish them the best moving forward in their career. We hope that they stay involved in our project and keep helping us move forward!

Vannaroth Ngoc (Vann)

I am a Computer Science and Engineering major specializing in Database Systems and Data Analytics that is also minoring in Studio Art with a focus on photography. I’ll be graduating this semester and currently don’t have a job lined up, but I would love to find something here in Columbus to stay close to family and friends. Preferably, I would like to get a job that has me designing web applications or mobile apps! In terms of background experience, I worked on a web app for a company called Sentinel Healthcare, which helps healthcare providers track their patient’s blood pressure outside their clinics. I was also a summer camp instructor for Tech Corps, a Columbus based non-profit organization trying to get the youth (k-12) involved in pursuing Computer Science!

Sanja Kopitar

: I am a Computer Science and Engineering major and I will be graduating at the end of next semester, May 2021. Originally, I am from Macedonia and currently I live here in Columbus. The most intriguing career options as a student in the CSE field for me are Software Engineer and Computer Network Architect. Previous experience that I have had was as an intern volunteer partnership with Microsoft to teach elementary students simple coding using Touchdevelop and

Reis Haleem

I am a Computer Science major and will be graduating this semester. I am from Columbus and have lived here my whole life.  My biggest interests involve full-stack web applications, so I am hoping to find a career in that. My end goal is to be able to work somewhere in Seattle! My past experience includes working as a software engineer intern at Target, and I am an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for some of the introductory Computer Science courses at Ohio State.

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