Your child has a cough. Is it serious, or will it just get better on its own? Is it a simple cough from a cold, or is it asthma or pneumonia or some other condition that needs professional medical attention? If you’re a parent, you’ve probably been through this quandary more than once. Now there is a smartphone app under development that may hold the answers.

ResApp Health is an Australian company that is developing a smartphone app, ResApp, that is designed to identify different types of coughs. The program captures the sounds of a cough without it being muffled by the muscle and bones, as is the case when a healthcare professional listens to a patient’s lungs with a stethoscope. Instead, higher frequency sounds can be picked up as they come out the patient’s airways. The company has developed a large database of sounds, and has used machine learning to identify the signatures of normal breathing and various coughing sounds. Clinical research¬†with pediatric patients has shown the system is able to diagnose bronchitis, croup, and upper respiratory tract infections with greater than 96% accuracy. It also provides an accurate differential diagnosis in 89% to 99% of patients. Prior studies showed the ability to identify childhood pneumonia at rates higher than 95%.

The company plans to work with the FDA to make the system available in the U.S. as a Class II medical device. If the system is ultimately approved, this could advance the progress of tele-health tools in this country, and give parents a faster path to peace of mind when their child is sick.