Steth IO turns your iPhone into a professional stethoscope

Smartphones have become an essential tool for healthcare professionals thanks to the available applications or the magnificent video or photo cameras they incorporate. A tool that we always carry in our pocket ready to use, just what we need.

But now we can also use it as a stethoscope, that tool that we all carry around the neck and now we can keep in your pocket. Steth IO has managed to turn the iPhone into a professional stethoscope, also taking advantage of artificial intelligence and the power of the device to offer unpublished functions so far with conventional stethoscopes.

The rebirth of the stethoscope

The arrival of new technologies in medicine makes older technologies fall into disuse, and stethoscopes do not escape it. Recent studies ensure that even the best specialists in identifying heart murmurs, cardiologists, have a failure rate of 35 to 50%. Echocardiography has become the reference technique, but it is much less accessible than a stethoscope, hence the importance of the latter.

Steh IO wants to help solve this problem and for this it uses new technologies and the power of the iPhone so that, together with artificial intelligence and machine learning, it helps doctors in the exploration of his patients.

Elegant, simple and surprising

The idea can not be more ingenious and simple at the same time: a case that is placed on your iPhone and incorporates a membrane like the one in any stethoscope that collect the sounds of the heart or the respiratory tree to take them to the microphone of your iPhone, which captures, analyzes and displays on the screen. They usually say that a picture is worth a thousand words, because that can be compared to any sound, although it is not worth more, but the visual information we have on the screen is added to what we hear.

The cover is flexible, very easy to put on and take off, so you can perfectly use it only when you work, in a few seconds remove it and place another different cover. More than anything for not damaging the membrane that captures the sound, not so much because it is bulky. In addition the part of the membrane is metallic. It is currently available for models ranging from iPhone 6 to iPhone X, and by the end of the year it will already be available for the iPhone XS, XR and XS Max.

The case allows you to use your iPhone with normality, as just like any conventional case, free the speaker and the Lightning connector to recharge your iPhone, and you have access to the on, off, volume and vibrator switch buttons . The camera slot is not missing so you can use it. Its protective function too important, something absolutely necessary because if you are going to use your iPhone as a work tool the chances of it falling are greater.

Cardiac and pulmonary auscultation

The usefulness of the stethoscope is to listen to the internal noises of our patients, and although it has more possibilities, we can summarize that the heart and lungs are generally the main objectives. Therefore Steth IO is prepared for these two tasks. To collect the sound, analyze it and display it on the screen we have to use the free Steth IO application (link) and has these two options through two shortcuts on the screen with which we can easily switch from one to another.

And how do we hear these sounds? As I indicated before, the information on the screen is an addition to the sounds that we should perceive during auscultation. To be able to listen to the sounds that our iPhone captures we can use any Bluetooth headset, like the Sony that are included. We also have the advantage that these sounds are saved to be able to listen to them again and again if we still have doubts.

This is the graph that the application shows us in cardiac auscultation. In it we can see the central graph in which we see the heart sounds and that the application automatically identifies as S1 and S2. Depending on the intensity of the sound, the graph will have more height or less, and we can also identify the times of systole and diastole (the latter longer), something that sometimes due to tachycardia is difficult to achieve with a simple auscultation.

The frequency of the sounds is represented at the bottom of the screen. Those of higher frequency generate a higher image, those of low frequency, lower. The amplitude or intensity of the sound is represented with the color, the strongest being redder. This is very useful to identify heart murmurs in which the frequency of sound is important to know the origin of it.

Artificial intelligence

The images we get are very useful when added to the sounds we have captured, but Steth IO doesn't just stay here, it also uses Artificial Intelligence (AI). With the latest update you have released for your application, when exploring a patient’s data, always anonymously and encrypted, they are sent to the company's servers, where a diagnostic approach (normal or murmur) is analyzed and returned. Obviously it will be the doctor who must corroborate that statement, and may also confirm or not that first diagnosis to the server, which will learn and improve its reliability.

Editor's Opinion

Recovering the auscultation technique for doctors at a time when new technologies appear daily seemed impossible, but Steth IO may have achieved it with a really simple idea but it has enormous potential. A simple case with a stethoscope membrane and what until now was a subjective test and very dependent on the doctor's skills becomes something much more objective and enhanced by artificial intelligence and Machine Learning. Of course it is an FDA approved device for medical use. The only problem I find in this accessory is that when you change your iPhone you will have to change Steth IO. Its price is $ 229 whatever the iPhone model you have, and remember that Sony Bluetooth headphones are included with your order. At the moment only shipments to the United States are made, but They are waiting for certification by the European Union and at the beginning of 2019 they are expected to be available also in Spain and other countries of the Union. All information and orders can be made on the Steth IO website.

  • Editor rating
  • 4.5 star rating

€ $ 229


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Pros

  • Available for all iPhone models
  • Combine image with artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Easy to use and with very visual information
  • Possibility to store patient data and share it

Cons

  • If you change your iPhone model you will have to change Steth IO

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