John Hopkins University researchers have developed a smart stethoscope that uses artificial intelligence to self-diagnose pneumonia.
About one million children die each year from pneumonia and other lower respiratory tract infections. This is more than deaths from malaria and HIV. Some of these deaths could have been prevented if all children in the world had access to advanced health checkups. 95 percent of people living in developing countries do not have access to x-rays, the ideal technology for diagnosing pneumonia.
John Hopkins University researchers may have found a solution to this problem: a smart stethoscope that uses artificial intelligence to self-diagnose pneumonia.
Anyone can use it anywhere
A standard stethoscope is an invaluable and low-cost tool for identifying lung conditions. However, if the user does not know what to listen to or if the ambient sound suppresses the patient’s breathing, this device does not work well. Taking these limitations into account, the John Hopkins team decided to rethink the stethoscope. The team designed a device that can ignore outside sounds while recording lung sounds. They then developed an AI-powered app that could ‘listen’ to this lung sound for signs of pneumonia.
According to a blog post by the researchers, the app was far more successful than similar automated methods, with 87 percent success in distinguishing between the lung sounds of healthy people and the lung sounds of people with pneumonia.
The John Hopkins team is currently testing prototypes of this stethoscope in Peru, Bangladesh, Malawi and the USA. Hopes are high for the final version of the device. Researchers say this device will be much cheaper than the current $500 electronic stethoscope on the market.
“Even if only one child gets better”
“We think that this stethoscope, which we have rearranged, with investigations that can be done at the scene by any local paramedic with an inexpensive device, will impact the global health crisis of pneumonia in children. At the macro level, we hope that hundreds of thousands of lives can be saved. But at the micro level, if even a single parent sees their child improve through early detection, all our efforts will be worth it.” he said.
About one million children die each year from pneumonia and other lower respiratory tract infections. A significant portion of these deaths can be prevented with early detection, but developing countries do not have the medical equipment to carry out this diagnosis. That’s why John Hopkins University researchers have developed a smart stethoscope that can diagnose pneumonia using artificial intelligence. This device, which can be easily used by any healthcare worker, is much cheaper than other electronic stethoscopes on the market. Researchers say that in this way, hundreds of thousands of people can be saved with early detection.