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Providing Medical Care—with an iPhone App


Tasha Schroeder

Jamie Daniel has attended not one, but three Big Nerd Ranch bootcamps. And he’s putting his knowledge to good use: Jamie is collaborating with a medical team at Duke University to develop a tool that helps doctors and healthcare providers improve care for patients with diabetes.

Meeting the Need

The iPhone app will be used at patients’ bedsides to reduce fatal insulin dosing errors. Called Diabetes Consult, it offers physicians the same valuable information endocrinologists use to treat their diabetic patients. The app makes providing care faster and more comprehensive, offering a wealth of knowledge at the tap of a button.

The tool meets a pressing need:

  • One in four people in U.S. hospitals have diabetes.

  • More than 30 percent of all fatal medication errors involve insulin dosage.

  • Diabetes Consult provides a common up-to-date reference for treatment of diabetes at the point of care.

The innovative app forges a new path in healthcare, giving physicians the ability to spend more time with patients and engage them about their condition, while using information provided and kept up-to-date by top-level endocrinologists.

“It’s amazing to be part of this project,” Jamie says. “It allows me to take what I learned at Big Nerd Ranch and make the lives of patients and their families better and safer.”

Putting New Knowledge to Good Use

After attending the Beginning iOS, Advanced iOS and Beginning iOS Game Development bootcamps, Jamie  was prepared to build apps that help patients and their doctors.

“I learned everything it takes to create this application from the Big Nerd Ranch classes I attended. Each bootcamp built on the skills I learned previously, and helped me to push the development of the app to a whole new level,” he says.

He adds, “After the Beginning iOS bootcamp, I was able to use UITableViews, Core Data and the Apple Docs. I got all the foundational basics in seven days. The Advanced iOS bootcamp taught me to implement third-party frameworks and libraries, integrate web pages and UIWebViews, and quickly prototype with storyboards. Finally, in the the Beginning iOS Game Development bootcamp, I learned about capturing analytics and the strategic placement of items that lead users to where you want them to go.”

The app uses other technologies learned at Big Nerd Ranch bootcamps:

  • Core Plot, which offers visual nuance for medical data. Instead of displaying numbers, Diabetes Consult presents info in an easily understood graph.

  • Flurry, an analytics framework, offers a clear picture of the application’s usage models and will act as a feedback mechanism for future updates and new features.

  • Game play theory learned at the Beginning iOS Game Development bootcamp. Gamifying the app engages physicians and encourages them to use it.

“I’m making a difference with my skills. An app I built is on the phone of a physician taking care of a patient. How cool is that?” Jamie says.

You can learn more about the project at its IndieGoGo campaign, which will fund clinical trials, additional studies and optimization to ensure that the app will provide the best care possible.


Tasha Schroeder

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