The Digital Stethoscope in Telemedicine: A Health Camp Study. India is a vast country with limited human resources. People living in remote areas often have limited access to healthcare facilities. To address this need and to increase healthcare awareness, health camps have been established.
Telemedicine, and in particular use of a digital stethoscope may provide better diagnosis and better consultation to the patient by senior physicians located remotely. This article highlights the clinical use of a digital stethoscope in such a health camp.
Institution based, services are unable to meet the present need of the Indian population because of a large patient load spread across a wide area. Health camps, on the other hand, have the advantage and flexibility of delivering healthcare to the patients at their doorsteps, however, the quality of care often becomes an area of concern.
The user interface for the stethoscope includes a 5-button keypad and an liquid crystal display display. Stethoscope power is provided by a single AA battery in the chest piece. A power management system is included to prolong battery life. Patients typically travel a long distance with limited means of public transportation. Travel costs accumulate due to travel distance and frequently being accompanied by relatives.
The digital stethoscope is simple instrument that converts sound to digital signals. The signals are transmitted via the internet remotely over internet and can be interpreted by a physician elsewhere. The advantages of a digital stethoscope include ease of use, amplification of sound, and noise reduction filters.
The primary limitation of such a device is the cost . Although this study detected no cardiac auscultatory abnormalities, it did demonstrate the feasibility of such telehealth camps, and greater patient and clinician satisfaction.
Clin Trial Pract Open J. 2020; 3(1): 5-8. doi: 10.17140/CTPOJ-3-111