Ohio State University Students create Prototype of Patient Application Portal for AFFORDABLE Platform

Author: Tay Nishimura

Senior Sam Trabitz is getting ready for graduation in Columbus, Ohio with his friends, John Morales, Hannah Taylor, and Sarah Ryherd. The four Ohio State University (OSU) students have been working together this semester on AFFORDABLE’s new patient application portal using react, node.js, express, selenium, and an SQL relational database. “At the beginning of the semester, our capstone professor warned us against teaming up with people that we were already friends with because the stress of the project might ruin the friendship, but I can say that we have had no such problems!” Sam said.

The team worked closely with AFFORDABLE’s founders, Alex Campbell and Sean Pannella on a weekly basis. “Alex had a very strong sense of direction, making decisions very easily when we came to him with ideas and roadblocks. Sean is much more technically proficient than we are, but was very willing to help us understand what we were doing. He sent us plenty of tutorials and was always available for questions.”

The group impressed us with their teamwork and productivity. Hannah dove into the Google Maps plugin which displays query results of geographical searches using Charity Navigator API to allow users to find programs or support services close to their current location or near their home address. To satisfy his interest in backend work, Sam decided to design and refine the back-end database. In addition to enhancing the organizational system of data storage, he enhanced the security systems to protect patient information. John designed and engineered a variety of reusable, efficient, and intuitive front-end components like tables, forms, and navigation. Sarah sometimes wore her product management hat, communicating with stakeholders, and at other times jumped into to code as needed. “Meeting and working with Sarah has been wonderful; she is a great leader and drives the team with her work ethic and dedication,” Sam told us.

Sam has already signed an offer with a startup, Nimbis Services, as a DevOps engineer on cloud virtualization. John and Sarah will be moving to California to work at Gap, and Hannah will be starting at Epic in Madison, Wisconsin. Despite these exciting new journeys, all four students have agreed to join AFFORDABLE’s core engineering team to continue working on the platform.  “I’ve been friends with John and Hannah since the very beginning of college. It feels almost fitting to end my undergraduate career with the very friends that I began with,” Sam said, “a project like this is a great way to keep in touch as we spread out across the country.”

Intrigued by his passion towards for our mission, we asked Sam what else he is passionate about. He is looking forward to adopting pet rats after graduation (he couldn’t subject a rat to the chaotic life of an OSU student). When he’s not thinking about healthcare, he is part of a reading group for environmental texts, and hopes to find ways to improve public transit and food security in Columbus. Having had an internship in the financial sector, Sam observes that software is “very often separated from any sort of mission, instead being tied closely to making a profit.” Regarding AFFORDABLE, he said, “it was a nice betrayal of my expectations by having an altruistic mission. Everything I wrote directly related to healthcare which isn’t an experience you can get at a large firm. In a perfect world, AFFORDABLE wouldn’t need to exist. But with the existing challenges in healthcare, AFFORDABLE could provide support to those who might not be able to wait for meaningful policy change.”

We are truly grateful to this talented team and look forward to collaborating on many more projects that help innovate accessibility in healthcare. Be sure to sign up to our newsletter to get more progress updates on AFFORDABLE engineers!

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