Can changes in your voice enable diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension (PH) over the phone? The Mayo Clinic wants to find out.
The Rochester, Minnesota-based health research organization is partnering with Vocalis Health, an Israeli startup that uses artificial intelligence-based “vocal biomarkers” to screen, detect and monitor patient health.
This new collaboration will specifically identify vocal biomarkers for PH, which causes high blood pressure in the lungs.
The condition is often not detected in routine physical exams. Although blood tests can detect PH, it still frequently goes undiagnosed.
Vocalis could provide an alternative, inexpensive and widely adoptable method to check patients for PH in a primary care physician’s office.
Vocalis has been in the news over the course of 2020 for using vocal analysis technology to help diagnose Covid-19. The company has been collecting voice samples online from English-speakers to test its system. You can “donate” your voice by clicking here. The project aims to collect 100,000 patients by December 1.
Vocalis was also one of four Israeli companies whose technology was sent to India by the Israeli government to determine the effectiveness of rapid diagnostic tests for Covid-19.
Vocalis was formed in December 2019 by the merger of two Israeli startups, Healthymize and Beyond Verbal Communication. Healthymize started out by focusing on detecting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease through a patient’s speech patterns; Beyond Verbal tackled the biomarkers piece.
Vocalis Health already had a relationship with the Mayo Clinic to study the connection between vocal characteristics and PH. The new collaboration is a prospective clinical validation study to further develop PH biomarkers.
Vocalis Health’s software can operate on any connected voice platform, including mobile phones, tablets and computers. Following the current phase, the researchers will expand their scope to identify vocal biomarkers for additional diseases and conditions.
Tal Wenderow, the company’s CEO, said Vocalis Health’s technology could lead to advances in “telemedicine and remote patient monitoring in the very near future.”