Dr. Edward Ray is a Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon by day and Ohana One App Developer by night! He came to know Ohana One at the invitation of co-founder and current Vice-President of the Board of Directors, Dr. David Kulber. Dr. Ray wanted to help Ohana One develop an app to support the Ohana mission of joining the surgical community worldwide and helping mentors and mentees stay even more connected. As a surgeon, Dr. Ray brings a unique perspective to app development, viewing this app through the lens of both a developer and a surgeon user.

Dr. Ray was impressed by the dedication and altruism of the Ohana One founders, who are building Ohana One from the ground up with an understanding that mission work (traveling to locations in need), although necessary, is simply not enough. Ohana One is taking education to the next level by creating sustainable, long-term solutions to global surgical training. He shared, “The people who started Ohana One focused on helping doctors and patients in all parts of the world. Their charitable endeavor is truly impressive, and I am happy to contribute their efforts”.

As Dr. Ray began developing the Ohana One app in early 2021, he and the Ohana One team identified the needs they wanted the app to address. Their collective goal was to strengthen the relationships between surgeons ensuring the surgeon trainees, especially those in remote areas, have consistent access to needed resources. They envisioned the app as a space to directly link mentee surgeons with their mentors and a platform to share data, ideas, and solutions.

The “OO” Ohana One app will benchmark the mentee surgeons’ educational and technical milestones and serve as an access point for the Ohana One Video Library with other curated resources, live surgeries, and academic discussions. It will have built-in functionality to record medical notes and integrate with the existing Ohana One WhatsApp group. Most importantly, it will offer a space to share ideas, request help with challenging cases, and facilitate communication across long distances.

Dr. Ray has worked on the app for the past eight months as a solo developer. Recently, he had the good fortune to work with intern Austin Huynh, who is currently at the University of California, San Diego studying Computer Science and Design. Austin is working to ready the app for Android devices. Due to the demands of the growing app, a 3rd developer is now being recruited. 

One of the biggest challenges in developing the app has been to ensure data and user security. Because the app content contains medical information, it must be HIPAA compliant. Dr. Ray worked diligently to incorporate web tokens to authenticate users as part of the security measures. The app has the highest security levels and is one aspect that Dr. Ray and the app team will upgrade regularly.

The OO app will be considered a success when it allows for improved transfer of knowledge, streamlines the communication process, and makes it feel like the mentors and mentees are sharing ideas from within the same room, rather than halfway around the world.

When asked what he learned through the process of building the app, Dr. Ray replied, “You need to be patient with the process.” Something tells us he had all the patience he needed to make this app a success. Keep an eye out for updates on the OO app and a launch date in the future!