James Cook University develop revolutionary medical app

A JCU researcher has developed a revolutionary medical app that can analyse a child’s breathing and detect the signs of pneumonia.  Dr Insu Song is a senior lecturer in IT at JCU’s Singapore campus and is now seeking venture capital funding to promote the app.

Dr Song’s app records the patient breathing into the mobile phone and analyses the data with results being received in around two minutes.The reliability of the app was shown to be more than 90 per cent, better than the performance of human doctors.

Pneumonia 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.  Dr Song explained: “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. In a remote part of Bangladesh, it makes pneumonia diagnosis 180 times cheaper and 1800 times faster than going to a doctor.”

The app has so far been tested on more than 150 children with pneumonia in pediatric clinics in Bangladesh as they gathered data for the project. Work that up to this point has been funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but Dr Song is now in the process of seeking further commercial funding for the large-scale computer servers that are needed to support a widespread rollout of the technology.

This app is one of a number similar apps that are being developed around the world to help detect and diagnose various medical conditions, it is hoped that Dr Song’s app could significantly improve pneumonia diagnosis in many rural and remote areas.

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