BreatheDX: Diagnosing Lung Diseases With a Smartphone

In developing countries, lung disease is still particularly prevalent among low-income communities.

BreatheDX is a low-cost kit that can be used together with a smartphone to diagnose lung diseases in areas where health care services are lacking.

Author Julian Furtkamp:

Translation Julian Furtkamp, 05.22.17

Lung diseases are responsible for approximately 14% of all deaths worldwide. Particularly in developing and threshold countries, lower income groups are disproportionately affected. And because those people don’t have access to adequate medical services, diseases are often wrongly diagnosed, or not identified at all, and patients end up without the appropriate care for treatable diseases.

BreatheDX is an affordable kit that uses a smartphone app to diagnose various different lung diseases. It was developed by students at MIT together with the Chest Research Foundation as part of the Mobile Health Labs project. The kit consists of an electronic stethoscope and a simple mechanical device that measures lung volume. The stethoscope is connected to the headphone jack and the measurements recorded can be scanned by phone’s camera.  The smartphone app analyses the data and evaluates it together with the answers that the patient gave in interview.

The fact that it’s a relatively low-tech solution means it can be used to offer regular checkups to patients who live in areas without developed medical services, and can help identify whether they should be referred to a hospital for further tests.

The kit – which is said to cost less than 30 USD – is explained in more detail in the video below.

Find out more about the potential that smartphones have for diagnosing illness and saving lives – read about the Safe Delivery App keeping expectant mothers safe in Ethiopia, and how Kenyans’ smartphones have the power to save their eyesight.

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