De thuisstethoscoop van StethoMe moet veel bezoekjes aan de kinderarts gaan besparen Foto: StehoMe
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This year, the Polish start-up StethoMe is launching a wireless, digital stethoscope that consumers can use at home in order to listen to their lungs and heart. The company has been sponsored with 1.5 million euros from European innovation funding.

The major advantage that this wireless home stethoscope has, is that it digitally registers a patient’s heart or lung sounds – and that this produces a much more accurate result than one that a physician is able to physically perceive themselves. Until now, doctors have had to use the classic stethoscope in their own ears in order to assess whether there it is pneumonia, for example, or just a bit of harmless sniveling.

Incorrect diagnoses

Things can go wrong sometimes. According to the Polish inventors, doctors’ diagnoses vary based on the old, tried and trusted method. It also appears that a large proportion of these diagnoses are not accurate. Research has shown that doctors make a lot of mistakes, especially when diagnosing small children. This drove the founders of StethoMe, (who are not doctors themselves but parents of young children who were confronted with this problem just like other parents are), to come up with a more accurate diagnostic tool. As soon as the wireless, digital stethoscope is launched on the market, they will have succeeded in doing so.

No need to waste anymore time at the First Aid Clinic

Another big advantage of the StethoMe is that consumers themselves are able to use the digital stethoscope at home, which means that they do not have to go to the hospital. This will likely be a huge relief, especially to parents of babies and toddlers who often suffer from major and minor colds that can sometimes lead to respiratory problems or pneumonia. That means that they no longer have to go to the first aid clinic with their offspring every once in a while, but will be able to take a first reading at home and send it on to a doctor. For hospitals, the introduction of the home stethoscope means fewer nonessential patient visits and therefore fewer unnecessarily crowded waiting rooms. To give an indication: according to information from StethoMe, about 70 percent of parents in the US go to hospital with a child who has a cold, when afterwards it turned out that these visits were not warranted.

Graphic: StethoMe

StethoMe’s home stethoscope looks like a curved disc that you can place on your child’s chest or back. It then records the sounds of the heart and lungs. The device uses software to transfer the data generated by the recorded sounds to an app which can be installed on a mobile phone and which guides the home stethoscope user through the recording process.

Algorithm analyzes lung and heart sounds

Doctors who are planning to use the application will be able to receive the data readings immediately and, using an algorithm, will be able to see on their computer whether a patient is at risk or whether they are responding well to a medicine that they have prescribed.

StethoMe StethoMe has already won several awards for this innovation, which has recently been granted European certification and for which a patent has been applied for.

Also of interest: Start-up of the Day: device checks the health of a fetus anytime, anywhere.