Innovation Heroes: Unlocking healthcare’s future, one cough at a time
A “Fitbit for cough” app that can diagnose serious illness could hold lessons for the future of healthcare

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In the last two years, we have witnessed major changes to the way health care is delivered – especially around diagnosing and treating respiratory illnesses – which is why we were so excited to speak with Iulian Circo – the co-founder of Hyfe, a mobile app he dubs the “Fitbit for coughs.”

Circo joined us on the latest episode of Innovation Heroes to explain how his team is shaking up the world of acoustic epidemiology and offering new tools to identify and combat pandemics in the future.

“Right now, Hyfe is the Fitbit for cough. It runs on any smartphone and uses AI to detect a cough as it happens. But eventually, we want it to be the Shazam for cough so that it will recognize disease signature in individual coughs and help identify diseases before symptoms are present,” he says.

With host Ed McNamara, Circo discusses how the Hyfe app is being used daily by researchers, medical professionals, as well as thousands of regular people all over the world to identify coughs and other sound-based symptoms in real time. He states that the app is making it possible for anyone with a smartphone to receive instant and accurate diagnostic support, which is long overdue in our health-care system.

“The biggest factor is access to health care,” he says. “And access to health care is a function of access to diagnostics. If you know you’re sick, you’re going to do something about it. But people live in places where diagnostics are either far away, expensive, or both. And that’s why you still have children under age 5 dying of pneumonia, which is an illness that’s completely curable and affordable to treat. If we had better access to diagnostics, it would be easy.”

Listen now to the full conversation and an inspiring look at how technologies, such as machine learning, can be combined with cutting-edge user experiences to modernize outdated industries and make a real, heroic impact on our world. That’s the power of using big data, personalization, and excellent end-user experiences to bring industries such as health care into the future.

This episode of Innovation Heroes is brought to you by the recruitment team at SHI. Visit shi.com/careers to learn more.