AI-powered cough monitoring app now available on Android and iOS

Health, News

An AI-powered cough-monitoring app that provides health insights and can potentially detect COVID-19 has launched on both Android and iOS platforms.

Called Hyfe, the app uses specialised acoustic artificial intelligence algorithms to analyse users’ coughs, with individual markers including volume and regularity helping people identify any underlying illnesses. These markers can be used to detect anomalies and trends, acting as an early-warning system for conditions such as COVID-19 and, potentially, even lung cancer.

Developed by an international team of collaborators with a background in public health and led by founders Joe Brew, Paul Rieger, and Iulian Circo, Hyfe’s original function was to aid populations in areas that suffer from heavy pollution resulting in chronic respiratory conditions. It allows individuals to understand their symptoms as well as to articulate them to healthcare professionals and can also be used by academics, researchers and telemedicine providers across the world, claims the company. 

Hyfe is an example of a new generation of telehealth solutions, which can provide health practitioners with patient information remotely and asynchronously, in order to aid with diagnoses. According to Science Soft, the global market for telehealth, valued at £17.94 billion in 2020, is predicted to grow to £40.8 billion by 2025. This significant growth will be due to increasing population and technological improvements, as well as an increased awareness among individuals of their own health.

In addition to this, Vidyo’s 2019 Telehealth Adoption Survey revealed that 41% of professionals already use remote patient monitoring to deliver healthcare, while 26% use asynchronous monitoring (forwarding of a patient’s health markers without a real-time interaction).

Commenting on the launch of Hyfe in the United Kingdom and Ireland, CEO and Co-founder Joe Brew, said: 

“We are delighted to launch Hyfe in the UK and Ireland, and look forward to assisting individuals in monitoring and tracking their own health through cough patterns. One of the earliest uses of telehealth was around 140 years ago, when a doctor used a telephone to diagnose a child’s croup cough. Generations later, the potential for remote cough diagnosis and monitoring has still not been effectively scaled. While Hyfe is primarily focused on detecting the frequency of coughs, our ambition is to evolve the technology to eventually provide a digital diagnostic tool that can differentiate coughs based on different types of illnesses.”

Hyfe Co-founder Iulian Circo, added: 

“Coughing is a universal human behaviour that can reveal a huge amount about a person’s wellbeing. Despite this, coughing is commonly overlooked, and Hyfe hopes to change that. We believe that each cough represents an important biomarker for a range of conditions, but until now coughing has rarely been understood or analysed at scale. Our neural network can help users identify changes in their health in real-time. Our goal is to allow anyone with a smartphone to receive instant, accurate diagnostic support, whether they are an asthma sufferer in London or a mother of an ill child in rural Africa.”

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Chris Price
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