When the University of Delaware was awarded a Center for Advanced Technology grant from the Delaware Biotechnology Institute for developing an app that would help opioid users and their families, there was a condition: The project had to include philanthropic contributions from local businesses.
Devs from Wilmington data technology company CompassRed and Greenline Business Group — the company behind Danio Diary, Danio Connect and the Eye Need a Witness app — supported the app’s development, along with others from the university.
The free app, called HeNN (Help Near and Now), provides resources for those seeking help for opioid addiction, including a listing of services and clinics in the area, with a map feature to show users where the resources are and how to get there. Similar to an app like Yelp, users can read and leave reviews for the places listed. There is also an events calendar in the app that shows when and where users can find support group meeting and counseling for the post-treatment recovery period.
Gabe Humphreys, Greenline’s director of technology and operations, worked with UD professors Tammy Anderson and Hui Fang, donating dev time and pro bono consultation to help fulfill the grant requirement.
“We’re based out of the Delaware Technology Park,” Humpreys told Technical.ly, “and the university, who is one of the sponsors of the technology park, also has space there. … Somebody in the technology park was working with Dr. Anderson and connected us.”
The version of the HeNN app currently available in Android and iOS stores is expected to see future upgrades, making it more functional, and even allowing users to access to the Open Beds database, a centralized clearinghouse where facilities can indicate whether they have available slots for receiving patients. This platform is actively used by Delaware Health and Social Services but is currently only available to medical professionals.
Another planned upgrade, Humpreys said, is a notification option that will let you know when you are within a specified area of a service you’re looking for.
“Basically it’s like an automatic Google Maps,” he said. “If you’re looking for a place to sleep that night, you’ll get a notification on your phone that there’s a place a mile away or five miles away. Right now it’s very Delaware-oriented, so the distances are small, but when we roll it out nationwide obviously someone in North Dakota, for example, is going to have to go long distances.”
Greenline’s dev experience made it a valuable technical contributor to the project, but that wasn’t all the team brought to the table.
“With Danio Connect, we’ve established so many relationships in Delaware with the medical community, so one of the things we’ve been able to do is to connect HeNN with Sussex County Health Coalition, which is spearheading the whole Delaware Goes Purple Initiative with ex-NBA basketball player and former substance user Chris Herren,” Humpreys said. “We were able to connect those two organizations as part of our Danio Connect platform. That’s part of what we’re doing.
“So not only are we fulfilling the grant requirements by donating time to those efforts, we’re fulfilling our core values by growing relationships.”