SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Nurses have been stretched to the limit caring for countless patients during the pandemic, and that's where three San Diego, California, high school students come in.
The students created a way to help nurses help each other. Vedant Nahar, a sophomore at Scripps Ranch High School; Ankit Macherla, a senior there and Lucas Walsh, a junior at Classical Academy, developed Med-Alert, an app that can lighten the load on nurses.
“They're kind of overworked because they have so many things to do so many patients to take care of that sometimes they have two things to do at once,” said Vedant.
They entered their Med-Alert pitch in the prestigious Blue Ocean High School Entrepreneurship Competition and took first place in the health care category. Their app can manage and organize a nurse's schedule. Nurses who may have a free moment can see who among them needs help.
“Everybody can delegate stuff, so everybody has something to do, and no one nurse is being overworked or is being super stressed out,” said Vedant.
The app took shape during a local young entrepreneurs program. The idea for it was inspired by tragedy.
“I had a really good family friend,” said Lucas in the video. He said an accidental medical mistake led to an overdose and that, unfortunately, the elderly friend passed away.
“That's where we saw that task management is really lacking and that task management problems can be fixed,” said Vedant.
What started as a student learning project became something more out of necessity, born out of the fact the pandemic had created so much more work for nurses.
Vedant said, “We thought, 'Hey, nurses are being affected. Why don't we start pursuing this as a real business and get super serious about it?'"
Vedant said they've done hundreds of Zoom interviews and surveys with nurses to find out what they need.
“As I've learned in my own life, if you're more organized, then you have more time and more time means you can do other things as well," he said.
What's more, Vedant said the app could help nurses communicate, which has been challenging because of pandemic social distancing.
“I don't have to communicate with that person necessarily. I can go on the app and say I'll pick up that task, and they'll get a notification saying this nurse has picked up that task," Vedant said.
Vedant is also quick to give credit where credit is due, acknowledging at the tender age of 15 that sometimes kids don't know what they're interested in until parents point them in the right direction.
“If they hadn't pushed me actually to join the program, none of this would have happened.”
When asked what it means to have developed something that could potentially save lives, Vedant said, “I think we're very grateful to have this opportunity to be able to do something like this.”
He also says they couldn't have done this without guidance from their advisor Rohan Chhabra.
The Med-Alert app is still in the testing phase, but Vedant says the team is aiming to hit the market in about two months.
Virginia Cha at KGTV is the first to report this story.