With EU investment, a start-up from Poznań, Poland, has developed the wireless stethoscope StethoMe. The smart device uses artificial intelligence algorithms to monitor a patient’s breathing sounds, allowing parents to examine their child and send the data to a doctor – without leaving the house. Since 2017 the project has been supported by the European Union.
Since its invention in the middle of the 19th century, the stethoscope has seen little innovation in its design. Most of us recall the medical instrument from a visit at the doctor as two ear tips on a spring strapped around the doctor’s neck, with tubing and the chest piece at the end that captures the patient’s breathing sounds. Now scientists from Poznań have come up with a radical new approach that combines internet-of-things and medical technology and catapults the stethoscope into the 21st century. The idea of an intelligent stethoscope can help many parents detect the first signs of a respiratory illness in their child and revolutionise healthcare.
Grants of €1.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund supported the development of artificial intelligence algorithms used to analyse the acoustic signals emitted from the lungs. The grant accounted for 71% of the value of the project and contributed to the development of the device’s beta version. “Investments in e-health will make life easier for patients and their closest family members alike. Our device lets parents take control of their child’s health and helps doctors to make the right call in advising the most effective treatment”, says Honorata Hafke-Dys, co-founder of StethoMe.
StethoMe may transform the global telemedicine market and in future become a basic tool, like the thermometer or glucose meter. The beta version of the device has already been tested at around 20 medical, telemedical and scientific centres in 10 countries (Poland, the UK, Sweden, Greece, Mexico, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Sri Lanka and India). Thanks to EU funds, StethoMe has also enabled the creation of 30 new jobs. The beta version is currently being tested and improved by about 50 doctors.