Brisbane-based M3DICINE is the latest device maker looking to distance physicians from their signature rubber-tubed stethoscopes.
 
The company has announced the launch of Stethee, a wireless, artificial intelligence-boosted stethoscope that pairs with an iOS or Android app to quickly capture and analyse heart and lung data.
 
“This most iconic and enduring symbol of healthcare is now reinvented, into an intelligent and sophisticated medical device – a powerful diagnostic assistant that becomes more intelligent the more it is used,” Dr Nayyar Hussain, founder and CEO of M3DICINE, said in a statement.
 
“The complementary Stethee Apps bring the power of machine learning and deep neural networks to health professionals worldwide who can use this data not only to monitor the progress and health of individual patients, but collectively to uncover new patterns and trends to help in the fight against heart and lung disease globally.”
 
Stethee, which was cleared by the FDA in the US late last year, filters and amplifies the sounds of a patient’s heart or lungs before sending the audio to a user’s connected headphones via Bluetooth.
 
A copy is also made on the Stethee app, which can display the audio file as a continuous phonocardiograph or calculate heart rate. The device includes a Beat Finder feature to help determine the optimal location for it to be held, and collects the data needed to make its analyses within 20 seconds. 
 
The platform’s AI engine, named “Aida”, automatically tags geolocation, patient position, and environmental data ­– such as humidity, temperature or pollen count – when making its analyses. These data points are encrypted and anonymised, and can be reported back or shared with practitioners as quantitative reports.
 
The reports can be viewed remotely through an online analytics portal, which the company says will soon have an API for EHR integration.
 
Alongside the app, these features position the device as a potential tool for telemedicine, Hussain said.
 
“The potential for Stethee to be used in remote and rural areas is enormous because it’s incredibly easy to use and the results can be shared and analysed instantly by a medical specialist anywhere in the world,” he said.
 
“The ability to record, share and compare samples is invaluable to improving patient care, especially for remote and rural clinics where access to screening services or a cardiologist is extremely difficult.”
 
According to a statement, M3DICINE has already signed an agreement with Korea Telecom to distribute the device among telemedicine projects within developing countries.
 
The company also claims to have worked with experts from MIT, Mayo Clinic, Queensland University of Technology, Australia Zoo Hospital and University of Sydney, and other international health practitioners during the development of the smart stethoscope.
 
The Stethee product line includes three iterations: Stethee Pro for use by medical and healthcare professionals, Stethee Vet for veterinarians, and Stethee Edu for educators and researchers. While the corresponding apps are available now on mobile marketplaces, the analytics platform will require a subscription to the Stethee Central web portal.
 
Originally published in HIMSS Media's MobiHealthNews.
 
HIMSS is the parent company of Healthcare IT News Australia.