Mobile health platform wins $150,000 in prizes

By: Brian Dolan | Apr 19, 2010        

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The Vodafone Americas Foundation and the mHealth Alliance announced today that Sana, formerly MocaMobile, had won third place ($100,000) in the Wireless Innovation Prize and also won the mHealth Alliance Award ($50,000). Sana is a multidisciplinary group from MIT that has developed an open source platform that enables mobile phones to capture and send out data for an electronic medical record.

Sana said that while low-cost health IT can bring about change, technology alone is not sufficient. The group plans to use some of the prize money to develop the Sana lab, a course taught at MIT and broadcast to Sana’s partners in India, Mexico, Philippines, and rural North Carolina. The course will aim to build leadership capacity through sharing experiences in analyzing health care needs in developing countries, creating solutions and overcoming contextual factors that limit the impact of health IT, Sana said in a statement.

Sana, MocaMobile

The mHealth Alliance Award also grants Sana participation in Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society’s Global Social Benefit Incubator Program (GSBI), which aims to connect innovators with Silicon Valley thought leaders.

“Innovations like Sana demonstrate the power of mobile health, or mHealth, to close the health information divide,” David Aylward, executive director of the mHealth Alliance, stated in a press release. “We selected Sana for the mHealth Alliance Award because of its proven potential to connect remote health workers with medical professionals, supporting the delivery of quality care to the furthest reaches of wireless communications.”

The Sana team posted this message after they found out that they won the award:

“At Sana, our mission is to bring people together to improve health care. We are a group of developers and doctors, public health specialists and social entrepreneurs, united behind a commitment to develop open-source software that allows health care workers to be more effective. We believe that even in situations of political and economic instability, in the midst of conflict, natural disaster or state failure, there exists the potential to improve health. In fact, it is especially important to maximize the productivity of what is available in situations where resources are most scarce.

“We are driven by the belief that health care systems can be improved with low cost health information technology, but that technology alone is not sufficient. Though technology is often the focus of innovation, it can only create a few ripples in a pond. Many technical innovations try and reinvent the wheel only to find that the tyre is flat and the technology has little relevance for those who were intended to benefit from it. We recognize that with local leadership and commitment, ripples of innovation can be aggregated into waves of sustainable change. To this end we are developing the Sana lab, a course taught at MIT and disseminated freely by distance learning to our partners in India, Mexico, Philippines, and rural North Carolina. Our aim for this course is to build leadership capacity through sharing our experiences in analyzing health care needs in developing countries, creating solutions and overcoming contextual factors that limit the impact of health information technology.

“The Vodafone and mHealth alliance awards will help us to realize our vision. We are confident that the experience of our members and advisers, our diversity of interest and our unity of purpose will allow us to bring people together to develop innovative health care solutions.”

More from the press release

  • http://wellescent.com/health_blog Wellescent Health Blog

    The ability to use mobile devices for collection of patient health information has both value to individuals and to practitioners working in the field. If a doctor can monitor their patient’s health remotely, significant potential exists for taking preventative action to avoid far more costly and risky treatment once a condition has become more serous. For doctors, the ability to have ready access to patient data in the field and collect further data means that they can serve patients in areas with very limited infrastructure to bring health services where they may not have existed before.