The eKuore pro, developed by a health technology firm based in Spain, can do everything a traditional stethoscope can do—that is, enable a doctor or other health professional listen to a patient’s heartbeat and breathing—plus a whole lot more, according to its manufacturers.
The stethoscope uses Bluetooth technology to connect to a mobile device such as a tablet or phone via an app, and doctors can record, process and share the results of the auscultation. The device can be connected to speakers so that both the patient and health professionals can listen in. Operators can also apply pulmonary and cardiac filters to the device at a flick of a switch.
Recording the Auscultation
“Recording the auscultation improves both the diagnosis and the treatment since it allows the doctor to get a second professional opinion, to check the findings against a database or compare the patient’s status over time in an objective way,” he says.
The device, which was first launched in the veterinary market in 2013, has been available for human use since the beginning of this year, and a second generation will be launched next year. It is aimed at anyone using a traditional stethoscope, but Viana believes those working in primary care will benefit most.
Share Recording With a Specialist
“This device allows primary care doctors to reduce the level of uncertainty in the diagnosis, as they can share the auscultation recording with a specialist. This way they can offer a solution more effectively and quickly,” he says.
Nurses caring for patients at home will also find the device invaluable, says Viana, as they can share the results of auscultations with specialists, reducing unnecessary referrals and prioritizing patients who need hospital treatment.
The stethoscope, whose design has changed only a little since its invention by French physician René Laënnec 200 years ago, has come to symbolize the medical profession. Viana says the company was keen that the wireless stethoscope was not only a useful but also an attractive tool.
“We dismissed many prototypes because they didn’t convince healthcare professionals. They were too technical and not really elegant,” he says.
Viana says that eKuore is better than other digital products and its main competitor is the traditional stethoscope.
“In the last year other companies have brought out digital stethoscopes but our technology allows a high quality of sound and usability which are difficult to equal,” he says.