eKuore launches a wireless stethoscope that reduces the risk of contagion among healthcare professionalsSeptember 29, 2020
- The electronic stethoscope that connects with Bluetooth wireless headphones reduces the risk of infection between healthcare professionals by enabling remote auscultation
- The objective of the digital stethoscope is to offer a solution that enables auscultations patients without exposing healthcare professionals to COVID-19.
- Telemedicine services have boomed since the start of the pandemic, leading to an exponential increase in demand for these devices.
The Spanish company eKuore Mobile Health Devices has developed an electronic stethoscope that enables remote and wireless auscultation, reducing the risk of infection among health professionals.
One of the most affected sectors by COVID-19 is healthcare professionals, as they are continuously exposed to the virus, especially during the auscultation process. Traditional stethoscopes require a distance of less than 50 cm between doctor and patient, causing a very high risk of infection for the health sector.
As stated in the article Symptom Criteria for COVID-19 Testing of Heath Care Workers. Academic Emergency Medicine, 27(6), 469-474, one of the main symptoms of the new disease is shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing that can lead to pneumonia, therefore auscultation is one of the main tests to be carried out on potentially infected patients.
Digital Stethoscope with Bluetooth Connection
eKuore has developed the wireless electronic stethoscope that can be linked to wireless audio devices, such as headphones or speakers, by means of a Bluetooth transmitter. In this way, in addition to increasing the distance between patient and healthcare professional, it enables the use of PPE equipment.
According to Dr. Santiago Figueroa, a thoracic surgeon at the Hospital Clínico Universitario de Valencia, "The eKuore electronic stethoscope is proving to be very useful in this crisis. I would say that it offers three main advantages: better protection for healthcare personnel, savings on personal protective equipment and, in addition, high quality auscultation".
In addition, the device has other relevant features that prevent the spread of the disease, such as the possibility of replacing the chestpieces, sanitising them and reusing them. Furthermore, the stethoscope can be connected to smartphones by means of an APP, helping to monitor the evolution of the disease by keeping the auscultation recordings; or even streaming them wirelessly from an isolated room in the triage area, reducing contact with the patients, as it can be used by a nurse or by the patients themselves while the physician analyses the auscultation in an adjacent room, as is the case in the Hospital de Poniente in Almería.
Moreover, eKuore’s stethoscopes have been integrated in end-to-end solutions ensuring the safe and accurate detection of disease in the community. Namely, in the UK, eKuore has been integrated into the Feebris platform – a medical software that has been used across care homes to streamline the early detection of deterioration and power integrated healthcare between communities and the health system. “As a company developing clinical AI-powered software which translates medical signals into actionable health insights, partnerships with trusted hardware partners like eKuore are fundamental. Together, we are proud to be supporting social care and healthcare partners across the UK in transforming their services to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic.”, says Feebris’ CEO, Elina Naydenova.
The Rise of Telemedicine During COVID-19
The danger of infection, especially in healthcare centres, has driven an exponential increase in telemedicine services around the world to reduce unnecessary visits to hospitals or doctors' offices.
Devices that enable telemedicine, such as the eKuore Pro electronic stethoscope, have become absolutely essential, both for monitoring chronic patients and for remote consultations.
Currently, different hospitals and countries have successfully included the eKuore Pro Bluetooth stethoscope, such as the Hospital General Universitario de Valencia, the IMED hospitals, the Hospital de Poniente in Almería, the Hospital Clínico de Valencia in Spain, Floreasca Hospital and Matei Bals National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Romania or the University Hospital in Kraków (Poland), among others.
eKuore is already a consolidated company in the development of diagnostic hardware devices and has four different ranges of digital stethoscopes for both the human and veterinary markets. The products have the European CE Marking. Currently, the company is distributed in more than 30 countries around the world.
Since 2016, it has been working with the multinational pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim to develop a solution to pre-diagnose Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) in its early stages, and since 2018 it has been working on the early identification of innocent murmurs with a reference hospital in the Valencia region.
During the pandemic, eKuore launched a €1.6 million investment round and managed to close in only two weeks. Rubén López, eKuore's CEO, says "for eKuore, the pandemic has represented an explosion in sales of the eKuore Pro stethoscope and a sales forecast at the end of the year of 35% above the target".