Mobile app aids in oral cancer detection

Medical professionals at two Narayana Hrudayalaya hospitals in Bangalore and Raichur, India, and the Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre are screening high-risk individuals for oral cancer using smartphones and mobile communications technology.

The technology was developed by Sana, an organization of students and alumni of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University that offers an open-source, cell-phone-based clinical information system designed for the needs of community healthcare workers in developing countries. Its members come from various disciplines, including medicine, computer science, informatics, health policy, social sciences, and business and operations management.

The open-source telemedicine platform allows diagnostic studies -- including electrocardiograms, ultrasound scans, x-rays, and CT scans -- to be encoded onto a smartphone and shared between a central medical record database and the phone.

Physicians and other medical personnel at the hospitals are using the platform to detect various diseases either by using the preloaded software on the phone or uploading the data to Narayana's electronic medical record system for specialist feedback. The patient can be advised treatment through interactive videos on the phone or referred to a specialist, according to Narayana Hrudayalaya.

Doctors at Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre have already screened about 400 high-risk cancer patients and detected numerous lesions using the Sana platform, according to Paul Salins, M.D., medical director of the center.

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