Rep. Vern Buchanan and Jace Billingsley

Rep. Vern Buchanan and Jace Billingsley

Picture the average teenager and you'd expect them to invent a video game when given the chance to create an app. That's not the case for 13-year-old Jace Billingsley, a seventh grader at Buffalo Creek Middle School in Palmetto. Billingsley just won U.S. House of Representatives' Congressional App Challenge, a national competition for middle and high school computer coders. His invention, The Code Blue App, helps nurses and doctors save lives.

Code Blue App guides doctors and nurses through the steps of a code blue, when patients experience cardiac or respiratory arrest. The app, which comes in desktop and mobile format, displays each of the code’s vital steps and a timer for how long each task should take.

The app’s design is user-friendly, with bright-colored buttons that read “start code,’” “end code,” “wait to administer medication and “pulse check.” It even has a list of medications needed, such as atropine, epinephrine, lidocaine and more, serving as a checklist. The app keeps up to date with The American Heart Association’s guidelines for sequence and timing for each action in a code blue.

Once the code has been completed, it records data for the patient’s medical records, so nurses and doctors can refer to a downloaded file on their computers later on.

The inspiration for the app? Billingsley’s father works in the medical field and experiences code blues often. “I wanted to create something practical that could help save lives and make it easier on doctors and nurses,” Billingsley explains.

Knowing he had a knack for coding, it was one of Billingsley’s teachers who encouraged him to enter the Congressional App Challenge, which began in 2015 by the U.S. House of Representatives to promote innovation and engagement in computer science. Billingsley got right to work, and in just two and a half months completed his app. He even attended classes at The Coder School in Sarasota to learn the specific coding language involved in making Code Blue App.

It goes without saying that the adults around Billingsley were very impressed, including Congressman Vern Buchanan. Next spring, Billingsley will attend a dinner ceremony at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. with the other middle and high school winners from each congressional district.

“I’m looking forward to being with other kids who have the same interests as me,” says Billingsley. “Maybe I could learn some things from them, too.”

Looking to the future, Billingsley wants to keep creating apps that can help people in every day life. He intends to take computer science and web application classes in high school and college, where he hopes to major in engineering. He eventually wants a  career in the engineering field.

The Code Blue App is not yet used in hospitals, but with a few more tweaks and features, Billingsley hopes to see it in local healthcare facilities soon.

“I’d like to improve some pieces of the app and add new features like sounds for each step,” he adds. “This would make it even more user friendly.”

Visit the Code Blue App's website here.

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