$20 Connected Stethoscope Could Save 210,000 Children Each Year

1-6-2013 11-25-27 PM

Australia’s Imagine Cup, sponsored by Microsoft, names StethoCloud its first-place winner. The device, designed by four University of Melbourne students, is a $20 smartphone-connected stethoscope that can diagnose pneumonia without the involvement of a clinician.

The user attaches the device to a smartphone, launches the app, and follows its instructions for stethoscope placement. It provides a warning and treatment plan if it determines that the patient has pneumonia.

Pneumonia kills 2.1 million children each year world wide, more than malaria, measles, and HIV combined. Ninety-eight percent of the deaths occur in developing nations, where diagnosis is often too late.

"1.5 million pneumonia deaths occur in developing countries with a high enough mobile usage that we can directly address it without distributing anything else," says Andrew Lin, former WHO intern and StethoCloud team member.

The team hopes to roll the system out next year, targeting countries with the highest childhood pneumonia mortality rates. A 10 percent increase in early diagnosis could save as many as 210,000 children each year.

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