A team of researchers and engineers have developed a new application for smartphones that could allow doctors using their mobiles to monitor patients' hearts. The i-Stethoscope uses sensors built-in the phone to check a person's heart. Data can be collected and shared with ease. But according to doctors, there are still some things the app cannot do, since it cannot substitute for the doctor-patient relationship. Eko Devices, the Berkeley, California-based company that developed the smartphone app, has received FDA 510(k) clearance for the companion smartphone app and for its smartphone-enabled stethoscope, called Eko Core.
The smart device hooks into an analog stethoscope and records the sound. The data collected is then sent to the app via Bluetooth. Clinicians can record, visualize, listen to, and analyze heart sounds of their patients.
The app is also able to capture a waveform called a phonocardiogram. Clinicians can use this recording in order to review the heart's sound in real time and identify any eventual abnormalities.
Clinicians can use either the web portal or the app to attach recordings and heart sound reports to certain electronic health records.
The smart medical device will integrate initially with drchrono. According to the company that designed the device, in the future will be added new integrations with other EHRs too. The company aims with this device and app to take digital sounds, integrate them with the patient record and provide doctors with an easier way to share for cardiology referrals.
In 2015, in the digital age, you can have heart sound records from a patient from when they were kids and until they are old. For this reason, it is useful to have the ability to use big data for providing clinicians analytics tools to analyze the records beyond just listening to them.
Eko Core device and app are available now for sale on the company's website. Clinicians have the option to purchase the Eko Core only, or they can buy a bundle digital stethoscope, which includes Eko Core as well as an analog stethoscope.