We all know that very familiar piece of equipment that lets us identify a saviour from the masses, yes we are talking about doctors and their stethoscopes. A stethoscope hanging from the neck is perhaps the most universal image of doctors. Invented way back in 1816 by French doctor René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laennec, this piece of medical equipment became indispensable to doctors around the world for next two centuries.
The stethoscope helps doctors listen to the heartbeat clearly and identify any blockages from if the sound is abnormal. Due to a some recent cases of infection via stethoscopes, doctors started using disposable stethoscopes but their quality, unfortunately, is sub par compared to regular stethoscopes.
then came along ‘Heartbud’, an equipment that looks like the head of stethoscope. But it does not have the appendages a stethoscope has, rather it has a microphone jack that can be connected to a smartphone. Once the app for Heartbud is turned on in the phone, the device sends the sound of heartbeat to the phone which then can be listened to via speaker.
There is no doubt this is the diagnostic future. Since the device is smartphone based, it allows for recording heartbeat sounds making it easy to share the data among physicians which can dramatically improve diagnostic capabilities. According to a study, the Heartbud was applied on 50 patients and it performed on par with the best stethoscopes available. Since the device is not plugged into ears, the chances of infection are also non-existent.
Thus the 200th anniversary of the stethoscope might also be the year of its demise. But would we ever be able to forget the image of a doctor, wearing a white apron and a stethoscope hanging from his neck, reassuring us everything will be all right.