A new app could potentially revolutionise the way we diagnose asthma and pneumonia.
The ResApp Health smartphone application, which requires patients to cough into the phone, is being trialled in two Perth hospitals with some great results.
"It's very similar," he said, "It listens to signatures that tell us what is going on inside the lungs and then matches those to diseases.
"There are specific signatures associated with pneumonia, specific signatures associated with asthma, specific signatures associated with respiratory tract infections, and so on."
University of Queensland professor Udantha Abeyratne originally developed the app. Since then, clinical trials have been done in at Joondalup Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital involving around 1000 children and 700 adults with around a 90 per cent successful diagnosis rate.
How are asthma and pneumonia diagnosed?
Currently, pneumonia is diagnosed with a physical exam from a doctor, which includes listening to the lungs for abnormal sounds. This exam is then followed up with blood tests or a chest X-ray.
According to Asthma Australia, there is no single test for asthma, making it especially difficult to diagnose in young children. The website says: “A doctor will assess the symptoms and history and may give asthma medicine to see what effect it has, so it can take some time to come to a diagnosis.”
While there is still more research to be done, Tony Keating said the app would mean doctors could receive an instant results, which is especially important at a time when asthma is being over diagnosed.
Earlier this year, a UK study found asthma was being over diagnosed and treated in children. This is concerning due to potentially harmful side effects from taking medication they didn't necessarily need.