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NELA Cough

NELA Cough from the book “How AI Can Democratize Healthcare” by Michael Ferro and Robin Farmanfarmaian


NELA Cough Website

NELA is a telemedicine platform and device that monitors patients in their home and other residential environments. The monitoring is to help healthcare professionals like physicians with diagnoses and treatments.

Specifically, the NELA Cough system uses ambient monitoring to capture and categorize coughs.

How It Works

Two microphones and a home base are placed in a room. The AI-based software takes a vocal fingerprint of the specific patient whose coughs are being monitored. The software also records other details such as height, weight, sex, and age, as those all contribute to the way a voice or cough sounds.

Using edge-computing, the AI software detects, analyzes, and categorizes coughs, even in a small crowd such as a busy family living room. When the patient does cough, the software identifies whether the cough came from the patient, versus anyone else in the room, and then classifies the cough into categories like “productive”, “wheezing”, and “whooping”. While their initial focus is on COPD and asthma, they will likely expand into other diseases and conditions.