Many disorders can affect the lungs and compromise a person’s ability to breath properly: asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), pneumonia, emphysema, bronchitis, and pulmonary fibrosis, among others. Many millions of emergency room and ambulatory care visits in the U.S. each year are caused by some type of respiratory disease. Because these conditions share similar signs and symptoms, it’s often challenging to make an accurate diagnosis.

ResApp Health Limited is a digital health company that develops smartphone apps for the diagnosis and management of respiratory disease. The company recently released positive results from an Australian clinical study that demonstrate accurate differential diagnosis of pneumonia and acute asthma in adult patients with a range of respiratory illnesses. ResApp’s algorithms were able to accurately identify community-acquired pneumonia, acute asthma, chronic asthma, COPD, and COPD exacerbation (a worsening of COPD symptoms). In a test of the app’s accuracy, it was able to diagnose COPD and chronic asthma in patients referred for lung function testing, which is considered the “gold standard” for COPD and other lung disorder diagnosis. The results showed 87% to 91% or better agreement with clinical diagnoses, depending on the condition. ResApp’s technology works by analyzing coughs and breathing sounds, which convey more information about the respiratory tract and respiratory health than the sounds picked up by a stethoscope when listening to the lungs.

Respiratory ailments are among the leading causes of hospital admissions each year. ResApp’s smart phone app is more convenient than visiting a doctor, an emergency room, or an urgent care facility. The accurate results of the clinical study show great promise for someday incorporating the app into the daily lives of millions who suffer from respiratory disease, reducing the need for lung function testing in a medical facility, and reducing healthcare costs.