Featured News Revolutionary medical app to save lives

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Wed, 24 Feb 2016

Revolutionary medical app to save lives

A James Cook University researcher is seeking venture funding to promote a revolutionary medical app that could save thousands of lives in the developing world.

Dr Insu Song, Senior Lecturer in IT at JCU’s Singapore campus, said his team had developed a phone app that analysed a child’s breathing and diagnosed pneumonia more accurately than a human doctor.

The app works by way of recording a patient breathing into their mobile phone and analysing the sound for the telltale signs of pneumonia. Results are received in around two minutes.                                                                  
“It means we are able to detect if kids have breathing problems by using a non-invasive procedure. It’s the first time this has been done,” said Dr Song.

Researchers recorded the breathing of more than 150 children with pneumonia in paediatric clinics in Bangladesh as they gathered data for the project.

Dr Song said the reliability of the app was more than 90 per cent, better than the performance of human doctors.

“In a remote part of Bangladesh, it makes pneumonia diagnosis 180 times cheaper and 1800 times faster than going to a doctor,” he said.

The work to this point has been funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but any widespread rollout of the technology requires the building of large-scale computer servers.

Dr Song said that although the development phase was over there was now the challenge of finding potential commercial partners.

The lung disease is responsible for between 28 and 34 per cent of all child mortality in under fives, with 95 per cent of that group being from developing countries.

The app has been found to work when used by people with little training and where a lot of background noise was present.


Dr Insu Song

E: insu.song@jcu.edu.au

Link to diagrams and website: https://www.a.kopo.com/wp/mes/?sid=29

Link to pics and two papers: bit.ly/1WFj1TS