The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a next-generation stethoscope for marketing. The approval allows an existing analog stethoscope to be converted to a “smart” stethoscope by attaching a device that enhances and digitizes the audio. Although some digital stethoscopes are available, the "smart" stethoscope offers the advantage of a heart sound waveform to be sent to a smart device (iPhone or iPad) via a Bluetooth-connected mobile app.
Heart disease is the number one killer in the USA as well as around the globe. The very first instrument/device used for detecting heart problems is the stethoscope, which has remained quite unchanged since its inception into medicine. Eko Devices, based in California, USA, has endeavored to usher the stethoscope into the 21st century. The CEO and co-founder, Connor Landgraf, says in the Press Release, “We’ve started by pairing the oldest and the newest tools in the medical toolkit – the stethoscope and the smartphone.”
The team at Eko Devices has designed a smart device called “Eko Core,” which could be attached to an existing analog stethoscope to make a smart stethoscope. “Eko Core” is the first mobile, wireless stethoscope that could be integrated with the electronic health records (EHR) via a Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant mobile application and web platform.
The following are the advantages of the smart stethoscope over a traditional one, in that it allows
- Choice of switching between traditional and smart stethoscopes.
- Sound amplification and external noise reduction.
- Incorporation of heart sounds to a patient’s electronic health record or EHR.
- Convenience in telemedicine, since the doctor could monitor the patient remotely.
- Clinicians to better address a cardiovascular disease crisis.
- Storage of data that will allow a physician/cardiologist to access patient records and track progress over his/her lifetime.
Jason Bellet, the co-founder and COO of Eko Devices tells DoveMed, “The Eko Core is bringing the stethoscope into the 21st-century as the first smartphone-connected, HIPAA-compliant, and EHR-integrated digital stethoscope. With Eko, clinicians around the world - from nurses to pediatric cardiologists - will be able to more seamlessly manage and collaborate around patient cardiac health."