Simple Technology Saving Lives: Remote Auscultation

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Varun Bide, a first year MBBS student in Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Sion, India. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


I recall the time when I had pneumonia. I was diagnosed very late and thus took a while to recover, as I failed to see it as anything other than a routine cough until it got very serious and gave way to high fever. And also, because I was too lazy to visit my doctor, who was a couple of hours away by car. So, I resorted to telemedicine and gave him my symptoms over the phone, which at first sounded like-you guessed it-a routine cough. After a couple of weeks of taking cough syrup, when I became serious and had to be examined by him in person, it didn’t take him more than two minutes to listen to my breath sounds and tell me I had a severe case of pneumonitis.

While my procrastination was certainly to blame for this late discovery, I also had a lot going on at the time, and couldn’t take 5 hours off on a working day. And so, a thought struck me: what if he could auscultate me remotely, over the internet?

I looked into it, and apparently remote auscultation is a thing. There already exist remote stethoscopes in development, which pair with your smartphone and allow you to send your breath and heart sounds to a physician remotely via the internet. An example of this is the StethoMe® smart stethoscope, which even uses AI to enhance its functionality.

And there are multiple advantages to this. Telemedicine will be a lot more accurate and effective (misdiagnosis due to lack of information-one of its biggest problems-can be solved to a great extent). Quality healthcare can be extended to remote areas, where setting up a telehealth center is much easier and cost effective, and doctors can tend to patients from hundreds of kilometers away (although this will require diagnostic equipment for more than just auscultation). Geriatric patients with respiratory or heart problems can reduce the frequency of their hospital visits by sending doctors their heart and breath sounds. And also, if artificial intelligence proves to be accurate, patients might be able to identify and treat routine problems without the help of a physician at all. This will help decrease the load on physicians and allow them to focus on severe or unusual cases. Although this point is largely controversial and cannot be discussed until some concrete conclusions are reached by extensive testing.

Technology has been crucial to the growth of medicine. It has helped solve problems which we could only dream of solving. And the concept of technology revolves around innovation; we often hear “smart solutions” in the slogans of tech companies. Remote auscultation holds the promise of being such a smart solution by using the connectivity that the internet offers, for expanding the reach of healthcare to places that lack it. It has the potential to save lives; just the sound of a heart beating or lungs breathing can make a difference.

References

  1. https://www.imedpub.com/proceedings/opportunities-for-domestic-monitoring-of-children-with-an-electronic-stethoscope-with-automatic-auscultation-sound-analy-5300.html
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3044891/

About the author

Varun Bide is a first year MBBS student in Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Sion. He was part of the symposium team of his college, and has been awarded for best presentation. He has also edited and compiled numerous videos and posters for the college council, and has won prizes in the Science Olympiad Foundation’s National Cyber and Science Olympiads. He is interested in the fields of both technology and healthcare, and aims to be a doctor that makes full use of the technological advances to benefit the world of medicine.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

What we need for a better European Solidarity Corps

Main results of Environment Council of 09 October 2018

EU to scrutinise foreign direct investment more closely

Yemen war: UN-backed talks to silence the guns due to begin in Stockholm

Galileo and EGNOS programmes back in orbit powered with €70 billion

80 adolescents a day will still die of AIDS by 2030, despite slowdown in epidemic

EU-US Trade: European Commission endorses rebalancing duties on US products

Tanzania’s Dual Burden

In Mozambique, it’s ‘a matter of the heart’ says Guterres, lauding the cyclone-struck nation’s ‘undeniable moral authority’

Forty-two countries adopt new OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence

Eliminating hepatitis calls for ‘bold political leadership, with investments to match,’ UN health chief says

Peacekeeping: A ‘great opportunity’ to develop professionally and personally

EU job-search aid worth €2 million for 500 former shipbuilding workers in Spain

The gender gap of medicine in 2018

Scientists are growing meat on blades of grass

These cities score an ‘A’ for environmental action – but hundreds more are falling behind

The world needs a circular economy. Help us make it happen

3 trends that will transform the energy industry

Somalia: UN congratulates Puntland region’s newly-elected President

Climate change is a security threat. We must act now

How powering food storage could end hunger

This Netherlands football stadium creates its own energy and stores it in electric car batteries

Tourism offers much to the EU gets a little

Peace in the Gulf ‘at a critical juncture’ says DiCarlo, urging continuation of Iran nuclear deal

Next six months crucial for the EU, says von der Leyen at the start of the German Presidency of the Council of the EU

Russia must urgently step up fight against foreign bribery

UN forum spotlights cities, where struggle for sustainability ‘will be won or lost’

Corruption thwarts attempts to build a better world and ‘must be fought by all, for all’

How to make primary healthcare a favourable career choice for medical students: Strategies and reflections

UN chief hails victory of ‘political will’ in historic Republic of North Macedonia accord

The Amazon is reaching a dangerous tipping-point. We need to scale solutions now if we have any chance of saving it

Developing countries should not be liable for emissions ‘accumulated throughout history’, key UN development forum hears

Green Deal: Coal and other carbon-intensive regions and the Commission launch the European Just Transition Platform

Coronavirus update: UN addresses school disruptions, suspends public access to New York Headquarters

First Western Sahara talks at UN in six years, begin in Geneva

With millions of girls ‘at risk’ today of genital mutilation, UN chief calls for zero tolerance

Historian Niall Ferguson on what the pandemic means for the global economy, geopolitics – and parties

Trade barriers are slowing plastic-pollution action. Here’s how to fix it

Italy’s dilemma after Merkel-Hollande agreed loose banking union

EU: All economic indicators in free fall

Immigration crisis at its very worst: EU to outsource rescue business to North Africa?

Paradise islands of Pacific increasingly vulnerable to climate change, as UN boosts resilience

CEOs say these 4 factors will shape business in 2020

How Google is fighting fire with real-time mapping data

This new initiative aims to make cybercrime harder – and riskier – to commit

As conflicts become more complex, ‘mediation is no longer an option; it is a necessity’, UN chief tells Security Council

Marco Polo’s Dream

BRICS’ New Development Bank turns four: what has it achieved?

The Great Reset and digital trust: 3 lessons on digital tools from the COVID-19 crisis

This is how many people are forcibly displaced worldwide

European Parliament gives green light to Christine Lagarde

Upgraded EU visa information database to increase security at external borders

Is the ECB enforcing the will of the big Eurozone member states on the small? Can the euro area live with that?

EU budget: Commission proposes to increase funding to support the environment and climate action

UN forum to explore use of outer space to improve lives, protect planet

Beyond self-regulation: dealing with Europe’s consumption problem

Factory workers are facing a mental health crisis. Here’s how to respond

The Greta effect? Why businesses are more committed to climate action in 2020

Parenting in the time of COVID-19? Consider these 6 tips from the WHO

To all far-right partisans who exploit Charlie Hebdo atrocity: a peaceful reply given by a peaceful student

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s