Towards a Pulmonary Diagnostic Kit for Telemedicine and Global Health Point-of-Care Diagnosis
Pulmonary diseases are an increasing global health burden and account for more than 14% of deaths worldwide. These diseases disproportionately affect those living in developing countries and many in these countries cannot afford the sophisticated tools necessary to diagnose these diseases. As a result, inexpensive alternatives to the standard pulmonary diagnostic tools need to be developed. We have developed a low-cost diagnostic kit for general purpose pulmonary disease diagnosis. The diagnostic kit consists of three different diagnostic components: an electronic stethoscope combined with a breath flow indicator, a peak flow meter, and a medical questionnaire combined with x-ray digitization. All of the data is recorded onto an Android smartphone and can be transmitted to a remote doctor or analyzed directly on the phone. The pulmonary diagnostic kit is being evaluated with 400 patients in the Maharashtra region of India in two stages: lung sound identification and diagnostic capability. In the first stage, we have analyzed sounds from 38 patients and developed an algorithm with an accuracy of 87% for identifying wheezes. In the second stage, we are evaluating whether our kit can enhance the diagnostic accuracy of health workers and doctors lacking specific pulmonary expertise This kit will improve the diagnosis of pulmonary diseases for populations that do not have access to a doctor or advanced diagnostic equipment.