Project "Arianna" is born from a young female engineer who, having faced an oncological disease, experienced firsthand the social isolation and lack of information of when one is catapulted into a disease.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically increased the social isolation of patients who, for fear of contagion, remain closed at home.
The goal of "Arianna" project is to build a digital platform where patients suffering from the same disease, can provide support to each other from their home
The most important social challenge faced by the region related to my project is the lack of digital platform provided by health structures where patients affected by the same pathology can find and confront each other, share experiences and provide support to those who need it most.
The consequence of this problem is the social distance of people affected by the same disease and the absence of support for patients also if there are many people who would like to offer their help because they have faced the same problems before and want to use their experience for someone else.
The project is aimed at groups of people suffering from the same disease who need to exchange views, ask for advice or be listened to by someone who experiences the same concerns every day. I give an example that can describe what I mean. In a hospital in Rome, a group of mothers of premature babies having difficulty in finding very small clothes to put on their children, created a group to sew dresses and donate them to other mothers in need in the same hospital. Unfortunately, the goodwill of these mothers has been useful only in a small group of people because there is no tool that allows to get in touch with other mothers with the same problem in the neighborhood or in the city. The Arianna project wants to create a digital platform to link people suffering from the same pathology.
The project aims to create a web application to connect people suffering from the same disease. In particular, we will develop the application in order to provide the following functionalities:
1) Sharing experiences and needs through the use of chat, the publication of text and multimedia content and the use of hashtags and likes towards trend topics.
2) Providing reliable technical insights on specific diseases drawn up by specialized personnel (description of pathologies, scientific publications, etc.).
3) Searching of people suffering from the same pathology in a specific geographical area.
4) Organize and participate in virtual thematic debates on specific pathologies among members of local virtual communities (patients and doctors).
5) Automatically suggest similar people thanks to the use of an artificial intelligence algorithm based on some information, including:
- Posts and multimedia content published by users on the platform. Natural language processing and image processing systems will analyze the contents to extract significant characteristics for each user.
- Diseases and interests tags declared by users. Users declare their interests in specific diseases to receive useful information about it.
- Geographic location of users. The position of the users will allow interaction between people who are geolocated in the same areas.
The most important expected result is that people can benefit from using the application and feel less alone as they cope with the disease. The application is meant for the benefit of people with medical conditions providing a virtual place where they can feel protected and can simply provide or ask for help from other people who understand them.
Moreover, if many people use the application, it might be useful to share some of the data collected by the platform with the scientific community in order to conduct further medical studies. This could become a secondary expected result of the project.
Many people who have faced a disease, or their families, would like to use their experience to help someone in difficulty who is beginning a similar disease path. This desire is often hindered by logistical difficulties of health structures that do not consider support to the sick as a priority. Due to these difficulties, with the passage of time, many people abandon their good intentions and the community loses the precious experience they have lived.
The availability of a virtual place, easily accessible to everyone, in which to help people in their neighborhood or city who are living experiences similar to their own would allow them to make the most of their experience, providing concrete support to the sick.
The starting team are the volunteers of the Arianna association who are experiencing directly or indirectly the oncological pathology "Hodgkin’s lymphoma" and are followed up at the Policlinico Gemelli hospital in Rome. The first goal will be to share personal experiences related to the disease with other patients of Policlinico Gemelli. Each of the volunteers, using the application, will have the opportunity to describe their experiences and to listen to others who need support. The president of Arianna association is a patients of Policlinico Gemelli and will follow the technical development of the application. She is a software development and artificial intelligence engineer with PhD over 10 years of experience in development of artificial intelligence solutions.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Application design: 5000 EUR
Application software development: 30000 EUR
Use test: 2000 EUR
Hardware purchase: 2000 EUR
Marketing and advertising material (flyers, etc.): 1000 EUR
I would like to receive feedback on the validity of the project and on how to improve communication to help better understand the importance that this project assumes for the Arianna association.