IAP Health: Eren Shin (’24)

As an intern on the Autism Friendly Initiative (AFI) at Boston Medical Center (BMC) this IAP, I was the point person for the take-home Autism Support Checklist (ASC) project. Each of the Autism Friendly interns worked on making ASC calls every week of IAP, in which we called autistic patients’ guardians to ask them a few questions about their communication and sensory needs and accommodations. At the beginning of IAP, the workflow for ASC calls was to take notes on their responses during the call, and then leave a summary on the master spreadsheet, to be put in the patient’s chart later on. The goal of the take-home ASC project was to find a way to efficiently get the responses from the ASC call back to patients and their families, so they can have it available for other non-BMC appointments. After some initial brainstorming, we decided to add to our current ASC phone call routine mailing patients a laminated summary “postcard” of their responses. The postcard would come in an editable Microsoft Word template, and we would mail each patient one pre-filled postcard along with three blank postcards (template only), for if/when the patient’s needs change and the ASC summary needs to be updated. At first, the take-home ASC project seemed less intensive (and definitely a lot less writing!) compared to the projects that my teammates on the AFI team, Emily and Aaliya, were heading, but I was kept busy with attempting ASC calls and other mini projects that my supervisor, Alex Friedman, proposed to me. 

The completed template for the take-home ASC summary postcard. Front (left), back (right).

One of the impromptu projects that Alex offered to me was the Virtual Exam Room, which was a project headed by Jacqueline McKendry on the BMC Autism Program’s Resources Team. The Virtual Exam Room is an interactive web platform, where each item has a glow around it and clicking on the item leads to a linktree in which patients can click and be taken to various related links (e.g. clicking on the nasal swabs presents a link to a video of someone receiving the nasal swab and a link to a social story). Unfortunately, the previous Virtual Exam Room was not consistent with the typical BMC exam room, since the images were generic transparent PNG’s from Google. My goal during IAP was to revamp the Virtual Exam Room from being a PowerPoint to being a website with a BMC-specific, interactive exam room.

Initially, I was a little uncertain about how much I could realistically get done, considering the project was proposed to me more than halfway through my IAP internship. However, I tried to start the coding part of the project early, and on the penultimate weekend of IAP, I managed to get a skeleton of the website up and running, with the glow/highlight and click features functioning on an image of the BMC Yawkey Pediatrics waiting room. Once Jacqueline sent me photos of the BMC exam room she took while on-site for clinical visits during the last week of IAP, I hurriedly coded up the exam room section of the website. I honestly wasn’t expecting the website to be fully functional by the end of IAP, but I surprised myself in that (after many hours of frustrating de-bugging), I had all of the coding portions finished in time for our final showcase with all the PKG and BMC staff. The exam room still needs some edits, in terms of the linktrees and highlighted objects (which might include some Photoshop wrangling on my end), but I’ll be continuing as a part-time intern with the BMC Autism Program during the semester in order to wrap up loose ends with the Virtual Exam Room. Overall, my IAP with BMC’s Autism Program and the PKG Center was a very rewarding experience, and I enjoyed all of the projects I worked on, both big and small.

One of the interactive exam room images from the Virtual Exam Room website. [You can find the full Virtual Exam Room website here: https://bmcautismfriendly.github.io/virtualexamroom/]
The interactive waiting room, also on the Virtual Exam Room website.

Tags: Health, Health & Medicine, IAP Health, IAP Health 2022

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