Open Source Telemedicine

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= a project of the telemedicine research group, Sana, at MIT.


Chris Moses:

" What is Sana mobile and how does it work?

Sana is a highly multidisciplinary volunteer-driven organization hosted at MIT comprised of students and working professionals in the fields of medicine, public health, engineering, and business. We have developed and implemented a free, open source, cell phone based telemedicine system that empowers frontline community health workers and general practitioners to provide expert care to patients with the support of remote specialists and doctors. Sana is a smartphone application written for the Android operating system that allows health workers to collect medical data (photo, video, audio, free text, and rich data such as x-ray, ultrasound, and ECG), and send this data using the cellular network to an electronic medical record system. A doctor in an urban hospital who participates in the Sana referral network logs into the online medical record system using his or her browser, reviews the case, and enters the diagnosis and treatment recommendation, which are then sent back to the health worker's cell phone so that the care can be delivered.

Will it make a difference?

Sana can minimize and potentially eliminate the time to diagnosis and close the loop of patient presentation with an illness to delivery of care. Minimizing this cycle reduces the high rate of loss to follow-up that is common in remote areas where the patient must travel long distances and sacrifice daily income to seek care. By providing either preventive care or care early on in the stage of illness, total cost of treatment is lowered, and health outcomes improve. Sana's software has been specifically designed to meet these needs, and overcome the constraints of poor cellular connectivity during data transfer.

Is it being implemented in the field?

We have active projects in Brazil, two sites in India, two sites in the Philippines, and project partners implementing the system in Haiti, Kenya, and Greece. I am project manager for the Philippines, where we are customizing Sana to help community health workers operating clinics for two large microfinance institutions identify and manage patients with hypertension." (