11 July 2012. One of the problems facing medical practitioners in emerging countries is the shortage of basic health infrastructures for effectively diagnosing diseases and administering treatments. SANAR, an online platform developed by Albert Moreira, a Universidad Politécnica de Madrid Facultad de Informática PhD student, aims to solve this problem. SANAR will improve information exchange among medical practitioners from different parts of the globe.
The UPM's IBM-Rational Chair awarded the Best Master's Thesis prize to Albert Moreira's research. The SANAR platform provides physicians with an environment where they can stage a medical case discussion via web, thereby overcoming the organizational problems of arranging group sessions or the cost and infrastructure constraints of videoconferencing meetings.
SANAR enables physicians and medical students to register as virtual platform users and present a clinical case on which they require advice, consult with other practitioners and add supplementary information like photos and videos. SANAR is really a social network that registered users can use to exchange information and viewpoints. Considering the sensitivity of the data to be handled, the platform implements several security protocols and procedures to guarantee secure information and image management.
This platform is also potentially useful for training future physicians. “It is planned to evolve SANAR by building a module to better support case studies in an academic environment. This would be done by building an internal assessment module with questionnaires about a clinical cases and designing a communication system for the discussion of possible diagnoses and student assessment,” explains Albert Moreira.
Multidiscipinarity is a distinctive feature of SANAR justifying its use in a wide range of areas such as:
Albert Moreira is now working on fine tuning platform security issues. To do this, SANAR is being hosted in a temporary server to test system errors and experiment with new functionalities. The goal is to release a version for a small team of practitioners in 2013 coinciding with the end of his doctoral research. These practitioners are expected to post relevant medical cases.
“This movement will be the groundwork for building and accepting key platform contents. From here, we will be able to open up the system to the whole medical community, including nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, dentists, etc.,” he explains.
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