In this post, I will talk about my experience of trying to have my open-source application to streamline Post Traumatic Amnesia(PTA) assessment to be used across public hospitals in Australia.
So before I started working on my first mobile(iOS) app or came up with this architecture to build iOS apps, I was recovering from a rather serious accident from which I had a brain injury. You can read about what happened to me in the about page of my PTA app website. Anyway having a serious head injury means that there is potential for certain risks for which you have to exercise caution. In my case it meant that even after being discharged from the hospital or rehab, I could not go back to work for almost 2-3 months. So I had no choice but to stay at home.
The PTA app
I love writing code and I love building software, so not going to work was something difficult for me to deal with at the start, but then I came up with a solution. I thought “hmm I know how the process of assessing Post Traumatic Amnesia(PTA) is, so why not build something to streamline it and have it use across the public hospitals across Australia”, thus began the process of building this PTA app. So this entire process had both the easy and the hard part.
The easy part: coding the app
The hard part: promote the app
Cold emailing? if there is such a thing
Ok, Australia is composed of states and territories and each of them have and a health minister for the state. So I thought if someone were to make a decision on something new being implemented across public hospitals in the state, it would be the health minister. So I found out who the health ministers were for each state and sent them all an emailing letting them know about what my system was and why having been a patient, I had an edge over someone who had little or no idea about this entire process. Most of the responses were negative i.e. they said, “we cannot do it at this stage” or something along those lines. I live in Sydney, NSW and the response I received from the health minister’s office was something like “We cannot implement something like this with the existing systems across public hospitals in NSW, however I you would like to talk more about this, get in touch with Director X of ACI”
That was awesome, it was a rejection, but at least I got a lead from it. So I contacted Director X at ACI and that director wasn’t available so I left a message and I was told I would get a callback.
Almost 3 weeks passed and I did not get a callback, so I figured a director for a big organisation is a busy person and hence must have forgotten about it. So it was best that I send another reminder, however this time, I really wanted to get Director X’s attention so instead of calling the office, what I did was, sent an email to the general contact email address of ACI and wrote
“Attention Director X:…”
“Just to remind you that I had left a message for you some time ago….”
Ok, maybe that was not the right approach, but I was desperate at this point to get the word out for what I had built, so this was the last resort. Anyway to my luck, I did get a response from Director X and in the response the good Director was kind enough to apologise for not getting back with me sooner and arranged a meeting with me(for 2 months later), and included another very important person who oversees brain injury rehabilitation in NSW.
Before meeting Director X, I had managed to get a few other meetings, but I will keep this post simple and only talk about my meeting with the good director.
Director X from ACI
The Occupational therapist at the hospital
Ensuring my PTA system works offline
Finally meeting with Director X from ACI
- I was just one example of a brain injury patient. There are many different cases of brain injury patients, so I could not generalise based on what I had gone through.
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