ResApp Health Limited, a digital health startup provider of smartphone apps for respiratory disease diagnosis and management has signed a licensing agreement with UniQuest, the main commercialization company of The University of Queensland. The licensing agreement includes an additional diagnostic toolset of machine-learning algorithms that use a combination of clinical features to screen for childhood pneumonia.
Pneumonia is the leading cause of mortality for children below five years of age. The majority of incidents occur in poor countries where doctors and healthcare workers rely on the WHO/IMCI criteria, which has been shown to yield very low specificity.
This newly-licensed tech, while algorithm based, does not use sound for diagnosis– rather, the algorithm appears to quickly and accurately diagnose pneumonia from the specific measurements such as temperature, heart rate, pulse, etc. And, obviously in the third-world where conditions are not optimum, this enables the ability to use a simple “dumb phone” and text the info and receive a text back with the diagnosis.
The technology was developed at The University of Queensland and has received funding from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is the focus of a peer-reviewed paper published online in advance of print in the World Journal of Pediatrics. The study demonstrates that these algorithms provided better specificity of diagnosis than the current WHO/IMCI criteria used to diagnose pneumonia in the developing world. The new algorithms delivered an 84-655% improvement in specificity.
As part of the license agreement, ResApp will pay UniQuest a royalty on products that use the new algorithms. ResApp also agreed to abide by the Gates Foundation Global Access Objectives and make the technology accessible (with respect to cost, quantity and applicability) to the people most in need within the developing countries of the world.
“We are pleased to continue to work with Dr. Abeyratne’s team at The University of Queensland and license another unique technology that strengthens our product portfolio, in particular for the developing world,” said Tony Keating, CEO and Managing Director of ResApp Health. “These new algorithms represent a significant improvement over the current standard of practice in the developing world and a unique opportunity to deploy an effective pneumonia screening tool in situations where a smartphone is not available or a cough recording is not possible.”