Physicians May Soon Say Goodbye to the Stethoscope, as Digital Devices Take Over the Job of Monitoring Patient Bodily Functions

One device that uses computer algorithms to analyze bodily sounds has undergone clinical trials and is awaiting clearance by the FDA

Is technology poised to render the iconic stethoscope passé? For centuries, doctors have used stethoscopes for listening to functions in different parts of the body. However, new devices now exist that employ electronic biosensors to “listen” in on those same sounds and analyze them with computer algorithms. The devices then deliver assessments to attending physicians.

The concept remains the same. Place a device against the body, listen for sounds, and use those sounds to identify a patient’s symptoms. Since the goal is to monitor sounds, it is not likely that “digital stethoscopes” will impinge on the clinical laboratory testing services provided by pathologists and medical laboratory scientists. (more…)