The traditional line between engineering and medical science is growing ever thinner as the technology continues to drive the pace of progress in biomedical research and healthcare. The medical device industry is making medical practice easier for doctors, more effective for patients, and cheaper for the entire healthcare system, thanks to the medical machines and the computers that power them become smaller, faster, and smarter. The convergence of consumer-focused technology into the once-rarified world of device design is one of the sweeping changes in the medical technology field as per the observers.
The classic and humble stethoscope is revamped and coming back to a smartphone near you. A staple product of every kid’s toy doctor kit has been outshone by today’s arsenal of sophisticated electronic diagnostic tools in the recent times. It is often easier and more definitive to order x-rays, electrocardiograms, or other, more advanced tests despite the fact that doctors and nurses still pay attention to a patient’s heart and lung function. Eko Core is a new electronic take on this old-school tool. Manufactured by Eko Devices, it attaches to an analog stethoscope to provide seamless analog and digital sound. It then transmits them using Bluetooth to the cloud, from where a doctor can download it to a smartphone.
It was selected by the TIME magazine as one of the top inventions of 2015. Listening for the doctor, recording and playing back body sounds, visualizing waveforms in real time, storing data in the patient’s electronic health record in compliance with federal patient privacy rules, and sharing recordings are some of its functions. By helping general practitioners take more advanced measurements on their own, the scope could help reduce healthcare costs related to unnecessary specialist care.