As more and more medical devices are bring made to monitor our vital statistics, doctors can use this information to see trends in patients’ health and recommend better treatments. One such device is a continuous glucose monitor, which takes blood glucose measurements in short intervals. My project involved developing a platform to allow doctors to collect data from medical devices and analyze it when visiting patients. In particular, I focused on developing an Android app to read data from continuous glucose monitors and perform statistical analysis on the glucose data. Using this information, doctors can see if patients had periods of abnormally high or low glucose levels during the daytime or nighttime.
This research experience taught me a lot about the intersection between medicine and computer science, and how doctors can benefit from the ever-increasing amounts of medical data that is being collected. From a medical perspective, I learned about how doctors can use specific types of data to provide recommendations to patients. This involved visiting Penn’s hospital and working with doctors to develop the objectives of the app. From a computer science perspective, I learned how this data can be accessed and analyzed reliably, and the process that goes into developing large software projects. I had the opportunity to plan which features I would implement, how users can easily find these features, and how I would write the actual code for the features.
I enjoyed applying many of the concepts I have learned in my classes at Penn into my project. For example, I was able to use my experience from my programming class to develop the structure and write the code for the app. Furthermore, I had a chance to explore the hardware that goes into building these medical devices, an area I would like to study as a computer engineer. I interacted with others in the computer science community to see what problems researchers are tackling and how these developments affect even the smallest aspects of our lives. My project provided me with firsthand perspectives about research in computer science, and ideas for future explorations.