Wesley Emergency Centre starts trial for new respiratory diagnostic app

17 June 2016

ResApp pic online

The Wesley Emergency Centre (WEC) is the first Queensland hospital to take part in a world-first trial for a smartphone app which aims to diagnose respiratory conditions in patients.

The WEC is only the second site in Australia to participate in ResApp’s adult clinical study. The study will collect data from adults presenting to the ED with respiratory conditions such as upper respiratory tract infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The aim of the study is to demonstrate that ResApp’s technology, shown to be highly accurate for diagnosis of childhood respiratory conditions, can be extended to adults.

WEC’s Director of Emergency Medicine Dr Sean Rothwell said the WEC, which was one of the biggest private emergency centres in the country, was happy to participate in the trial as it could have huge healthcare benefits. It had the potential to become an efficient diagnostic tool for emergency centres around the country and the world, he said.

“This diagnostic app could also potentially be used in poorer health care systems, providing nurses and doctors in remote regions with a diagnostic tool for respiratory conditions,” Dr Rothwell said.

He said the app worked by analyzing the sound of a patient’s cough and providing a diagnosis. During the trial staff would record details of patients who presented to WEC with possible respiratory conditions, after which they would follow up on their diagnosis and care to determine if the two results correlated.

ResApp Health Limited CEO and Managing Director Tony Keating said he was excited to work with another world-class clinical team.

“Expanding our adult clinical study to the Wesley will allow us to enroll a greater number of study participants and collect data on a broad variety of respiratory illness,” he said.

“We are targeting total enrolment of 400 adult patients from both study sites, however based on current enrolment rates we expect to exceed this. Enrolment at the first study site, Joondalup Health Campus (JHC) in Perth WA, is progressing very well with  322 adult patients enrolled (236 confirmed respiratory disease cases and 86 control cases) since the study was started in December 2015.”

The clinical data from both the WEC and JHC will be analyzed by the team led by Associate Professor Udantha Abeyratne at The University of Queensland.

ResApp’s technology was initially developed by The University of Queensland with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is actively involved in improving the lives of those in poverty-stricken countries. In 2009, the foundation pledged $2.58 million to the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research to examine potential malaria treatments for children in the country.

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