Got respiratory issues? Just cough into your smartphone

From the mHealthNews archive
By Eric Wicklund
08:10 am

An Australian entrepreneur whose app reportedly can diagnose respiratory problems through a simple cough is eyeing the U.S. market.

Tony Keating, the CEO, managing director and only employee for ResApp, tells The Australian his technology has been tested at Joondalup Hospital in Western Australia and achieved a 96 percent accuracy rating in diagnosing pneumonia and a 90 percent rating in diagnosing asthma during testing in Indonesia.

According to Keating, the app enables users to cough into a smartphone's microphone from up to two meters. The app's algorithms, developed at the University of Queensland, then analyze the cough, looking for cues that match the cough to such diseases as asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis.

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“Our levels of accuracy are comparable not just to a doctor listening to a stethoscope but a doctor listening to a stethoscope then sending you off to an X-ray, looking at that those X-rays and even looking at the response to antibiotics for example to get a final clinical diagnosis,” he told The Australian. “We skip the X-ray altogether; we’re breaking the model of health consultations.”

Keating's company was recently acquired by Narhex Life Sciences, enabling ResApp to be relisted on the Australian stock exchange. Keating said he's now focused on hiring software developers and clinical trial specialists, hoping to partner with U.S.-based telehealth companies and looking to enter the market here within 18 months.

When he gets here, he'll face stiff competition from companies like Propeller Health, iSonea and AsthmaMD, all of which are using mobile health platforms to connect those with respiratory issues and healthcare providers. AsthmaMD uses a Peak Flow Meter – a so-called "thermometer for the lung" – while iSonea's device measures and charts wheeze rate and Propeller Health combines a sensor and an inhaler.

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