PocketPeds and UMD App Development Club Celebrate Upcoming App Launch

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On May 10, 2024, PocketPeds, winner of the 12th annual University of Maryland Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (M-CERSI) America’s Got Regulatory Science Talent competition, came together with the App Development Club at UMD to celebrate the coming launch of the PocketPeds app.

"We can't wait to get the app onto the app store for the public to use," said Jiwon Oh, a member of the PocketPeds team. "We are super excited that our project idea has turned into something tangible that will help so many parents."

Born from a realization that dosing over-the-counter medications for kids can be challenging, the PocketPeds app aims to decrease the number of accidental child overdoses on OTC medications by calculating individualized dosages for children based on their age and weight.

PocketPeds ideators Jiwon Oh (B.S.’21 in Biological Sciences), Oanh Hoang (B.S.'22 in Chemistry and Psychology), Danielle Doan (B.S.'22 in General Biology), and Christina Nguyen (B.S.'22 in Biochemistry), all second-year University of Maryland School of Pharmacy students and University of Maryland alumni, worked with the App Development Club at UMD to create a minimum viable product (MVP) based on the team’s mission to simplify children's medicine dosing.

The product launch marks an important milestone for the team—turning their idea into a reality.

The app uses the Python and JavaScript programming languages, with a React Native front end and a FastAPI-based backend. It will store information in both SQL and MongoDB databases.

The App Development Club team's primary challenge was managing non-uniform data. Over-the-counter medications number in the thousands, each with varying dosages and directions. Some medications are dosed based on age and weight and must be taken every six or eight hours, while others have fixed daily doses over a specified course.

"This diversity complicates the information itself and its structure within the database we utilize," explained Hafsa Anwar, the App Development Club team project manager and a junior computer science student. "The inconsistencies in data formatting made it exceptionally difficult to parse and store the information in a universally applicable manner."

To help with this issue, the PocketPeds team created a small list of common medications and used DailyMed, a database operated by the National Institute of Health, which allows searching by National Drug Code (NDC). At the launch, it was discussed that the app development team could link the universal product code (UPC) with the NDC to match the correct product and dosing information.

Once this issue is resolved, the PocketPeds app will be ready for deployment.

“PocketPeds is the perfect melding of innovation, energy, talent, and social concern that exists among our students,” said Bill Bentley, M-CERSI co-PI and Fischell Institute director. “With a working app in place thanks to the App Development Club, the team is energized to enter into our health-related translational ecosystem exemplified by the synergies of the Fischell Institute, Mtech, and MPowering the State.”

The App Development Club is a University of Maryland student-run organization that prepares students for industry software development by completing projects for Fortune 500 companies and various groups across campus. In addition to Anwar, the PocketPeds app team included: Swastik Agrawal (Computer Science B.S.’26), Eric Wang (Computer Science and Math B.S.’26), Guillermo Mascaro (Computer Engineering B.S. 25), Ashay Srivastava (Computer Science and Math B.S.’26), and Nishkal Hundia (Computer Science and Math B.S.’26).

"The launch celebration was enjoyable and memorable," said Anwar. "It was wonderful to meet everyone involved in the PocketPeds project and to witness the collaboration between two distinct disciplines."

Published May 24, 2024