Gettysburg Student Build Automation Tool to Autocomplete Health Aid Applications

If you need health services, but you are worried about the cost, where do you go? Where do you apply? Who do you talk to? Who is offering financial support, and do I qualify? This is a complicated problem that people often experience, which is why AFFORDABLE is designing systems to address this issue.

AFFORDABLE’s solution is direct: archive programs offering free services or financial aid into one portal for discovery and selection, then consolidating all the applications into a simple 1-click submission. What appears to be a simple concept on the surface, is actually a interesting software design challenge. Finding effective ways to bring all these programs in one interface is what Gettysburg students approached with the senior software engineering course. This course presents open ended software design challenges that push students technical skills and creativity to build innovative solutions.

The overall assessment of the challenge at hand was that networking with a spectrum of large and small organizations will require large flexibility in how applicant information is sent and received. This can be accomplished in three ways

  1. Host your financial aid grant directly in AFFORDABLE
  2. Create a webhook to allow charities to “listen” to new incoming applicant data
  3. Send applicant data to charities via their hosted application user interface

The team wanted to find a way to take the data that is available in the database from the users registration information, and automatically place it inside the charity’s online application. Their solution was to build a tool that would take a users submission click that would initiate a bot that would take their data and automatically transpose that information into the charity’s forms and hit submit. The issue here was that this took a lot of individualized effort by software engineers to create these bots for each program. This task could become even more time consuming for complicated branching applications. They built upon this approach by creating an accessible automation tool that would generate the application automation code…automatically! This browser tool could be operated by any user that can use a computer. This would allow any AFFORDABLE volunteer to write “code” that would send applicant data to any big charity from around the country and list them in the AFFORDABLE archive of available programs. While their process does take some training, they created a detailed user guide to bridge that gap as much as possible.

Gettysburg made significant improvements to how robust the software is to handle variability in different forms. This includes drop down menus, multiple choice, select boxes, and more! Furthermore, they created a “runner” that would allow these automated scripts to run successfully. This would allow us to hook in buttons that allow user selected applications to be run successfully to apply on someone’s behalf. We look forward to seeing how this software continues to be more powerful as a way to automate the healthcare through the internet.

Here is an interview with Maddie Caccese who worked on the project team this semester.

b. What is your development team name? Who is your professor?

Gettysburg Automation Team. Professors Cliff Presser and Rod Tosten

c. Who were the members on your team?

 Ryzeson Maravich, Alex Nguyen, Maddie Caccese, Drew Walton

d. What was the goal of your software engineering project?

The goal in this project is to develop a system that simplifies the process of application automation, data importation, and accessibility to non-technical users.

e. What tool/features did you have to create?

We had to implement the use of checkboxes, radio buttons, and select dropdowns in the SeleniumIDE within the AffordPlugin.

We also had to create and upgrade the runner, as well as alter the orchestration server to receive a JSON request with full profile information inside of it when requesting a selenium script to run.

f. What skills did you learn during the semester?

We learned how to use AWS, specifically Lambda, RDS, and DynamoDB, as well as how to work with SeleniumIDE, REACT, and Docker. We also learned how to use OpenAPI to create a RestAPI.

g. What did you enjoy about working with Affordable?

I enjoyed being able to learn many new skills in a supervised environment.

h. What are your future career plans?

I will be working as a Software Developer at Verisk Analytics after I graduate this upcoming spring.

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