New Stethoscope Shows How Technology Can Reinvent Health Care

Post Written By Guest Blogger, Kelly Dano

In the changing environment of the United States’ healthcare system, technology has come to the forefront of improving patient care, making it more efficient and cost-effective, while advancing quality of care. With the ever-growing push towards reducing the number of unnecessary medical tests and exams, numerous technological advancements have been developed to streamline the patient care experience. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a large proponent of these advancements and in 2012, announced the creation of the Medical Device Initiative Consortium (MDIC). The MDIC is a nonprofit that operates as private-public operation with the FDA that has simplified the process of creating and testing new medical technologies through forum-collaboration and discussion, pinpointing relevant issues, and standardizing the innovation process. This process has accelerated medical technology advancements, enhanced cooperative development, and provided new technologies to patients. Some of these technologies have even initiated steps to providing the highest level of medical care in locations where it otherwise would not exist.

One such technology is an improvement of a 197 year old invention: the stethoscope. A medical startup called Rijuven Corp has created what has been coined the CardioSleeve. This innovative new design, to a diagnosis tool that we have all come into contact with, is meant to improve the diagnosis of heart murmurs with an assessment rate of 90% accuracy. The CardioSleeve provides instantaneous electrocardiogram (ECG) and cardiac acoustical data that is sent to Apple devices. It picks up heart sounds that are inaudible to the human ear through a regular stethoscope and records the sounds to be replayed at a slower rate for analysis alongside ECG readings and previous readings for comparison. The company reports that the CardioSleeve can identify heart failure at home or in the workplace, diagnosing murmurs as well as arrhythmia, be used for pediatric heart analysis, and most interestingly telemedicine.

Telemedicine is a relatively new concept of providing clinical health care from a distance that has been facilitated in the last century by advancements in both communication and technology. It is a growing field of technology and may be the future of rural medicine as it becomes more and more expensive to provide comprehensive services to those out of reach. The records from the CardioSleeve can be sent to virtually anyone, including heart specialists that someone may not normally have access to. Within the United States, this type of technology would decrease the number of ECGs performed, reduce the cost of care since an individual would not have to directly see a specialist and subsequently the time it would take to see a specialist, and would decrease both the time and cost of travel for patients. The technology also allows rapid reporting and patients can be assured right away, and if there is no medical implications, reducing worry and stress on the patient psyche.

Rijuven Corp, since the development of the CardioSleeve, has taken this technology further and developed the i2Dtx BASE Platform, a portable clinic that can serve in an office, as a portable hospital unit, or as a completely-portable telemedicine case. The i2Dtx BASE Platform includes the CardioSleeve, pulse OX, IR Thermometer, weight scale, spirometer, ultrasound, and blood glucose reader. All of the devices included in the platform record to a centralized document specific to a patient. Similar to the CardioSleeve, the i2Dtx BASE Platform can reach people and locations that these devices are unaccessible, like third-world countries, rural areas within the United States, or be used in support of the military.

The CardioSleeve and the i2Dtx BASE Platform are only two of the many devices being produced currently to reduce healthcare spending and provide rural medicine. The FDA has also supported the creation of the MelaFind a scanner that utilizes missile navigation technologies to scan the surface of possible melanoma, the ATI Neurostimulator that combats chronic headaches, needle-free diabetes care, and the Sapien transcatheter aortic valve that is meant for patients that need new heart valves, but do not want to undergo open-heart surgery. These technologies are equally impressive and healthcare system altering. They represent the future of healthcare in a changing United States that is struggling to support the healthcare system that it has now.