SANA

An open source software scheme is developed by the faculty researchers and a team of student, with the aim of bettering health care approach to patients in underserved and remote areas. The name of the software is SANA, and it runs on Android platform. With the help of this application, the health care workers, working in remote areas where the availability of specialized health care is present, can send videos and pictures to a database, where the sent data can be reviewed by a doctor who will be able to give a primary diagnosis through texting.

Unlike other collaborative electronic medical sharing attempts, SANA provides additional services of complex medical imaging like ultrasound images and x-rays to be analyzed and uploaded. As SANA is an open source, SANA can be specifically used for particular regions’ necessities can be oriented to some specific pathologies which need to be studied. The developers of this program wish that this application gives health care workers, a shared feel of responsibility and encourages a degree of sustainability.

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The first success of SANA, took place where the health workers used this service for screening the patients for oral cancer. In this project, photos of 400 high risk group patient’s mouths, who are identified while initial screening are taken photograph, using the application ‘SANA’. The patients were selected from 4,000 people during screening. These photos are sent to an oncologist, a cancer specialist, at the Narayana Hrudalaya Hospital, to check the lesions. The out come was that the workers could refer two patients successfully, for the treatment of this precancerons lesion.

CSAIL graduate student, RJ Ryan, journeyed to India, in this summer, with the support of a fellowship granted by MIT public service center to help many hospitals set up ‘screening of cancer’ program. Currently SANA’s developers are concentrating on two key maters i.e. the high price of Android phones and bettered data encoding technology i.e. ready to shield patient privacy. The open source quality of the Android platform, bestows itself to the software projects and this puts up SANA to excel as it can handle the complex medical imaging. The only disadvantage of this is the high prices of the phones. As discussed earlier, the prices of the Android phones are dropping, thus helping SANA’s potential for development and growth to increase. Two-thirds of 5 billion mobile-phone users reside in developing and under-developed countries, where majority of them do not have enough access to medical care and have to travel large distance for it. This can be atleast minimized by using this open source software system “SANA”. Health care workers working in remote areas can be trained for using ‘SANA” rather than just dumping the technology on them. Though this application alone cannot overhaul medical care delivery it can atleast help in diagnosing a disease preliminarily. The company sees a drawback to Sana. The cost of Android phones is very high when compared to other phones. If at all, other mobile phone companies launch their own mobile health technology, they may quote it for lesser price. Hence it is striving to reduce to cost of the Android phones. Any how, MIT community must be congratulated for developing such a beneficial open source software system, the “SANA”.

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