It took 200 years, but the stethoscope is finally getting an upgrade, with a new smart stethoscope being introduced to the Canadian healthcare market.
U.S.-based medical device company Eko Devices Inc. announced today that it has received a licence from Health Canada to unveil the Eko Core, a next generation digital stethoscope that wirelessly streams heart and lung sounds to a secure smartphone application. Released on the 200th anniversary of the stethoscope’s invention, the Eko Core is helping a new generation of clinicians more effectively screen and monitor cardiovascular diseases that affect 1.6 million Canadians, the company says.
Using the app, which can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, clinicians can record, save and even share heart and lung sounds in real time, fostering collaboration between healthcare providers. The device is also the first of its kind to allow these sounds to be saved to a patient’s electronic health record, according to a company press release.
“I use the Eko Core daily both for teaching as well as electronically sharing auscultation findings with colleagues so that we can come to a consensus on diagnosis”, said Dr. Michael Storr, a pediatric hospitalist at Kingston General Hospital in Ont. and Eko Core beta tester, in a press release. The device and its ability to link healthcare professionals that are physically far away from each other is ideal for Canada because of the country’s vast geography and distances between healthcare centres.
According to the 2015 Canadian Telehealth Report, telehealth visits grew over 45 per cent between 2012 and 2014 to more than 411,000 visits. The company wants to expand this by offering Canadian telehealth departments a subscription-based service to wirelessly stream heart and lung sounds between clinicians during telemedicine visits.
The Eko Core was first cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2015, the company’s press release mentions, and is currently used at over 400 hospitals and health systems across the U.S.