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StethoMe: faster diagnostics within arms reach

A smart stethoscope helps parents and doctors monitor a child’s health

About this project

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.

Artificial intelligence enables faster detection of respiratory illnesses

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.

StethoMe is the first medical device for everyday use that allows a precise assessment of the state of health of the respiratory system, making it possible to reduce the number of incidences of chronic diseases among children. It provides a sense of security for parents, elderly people and those suffering from chronic diseases. Its purpose is not to replace the doctor, but to help doctors make a better diagnosis. The new technology makes it possible to observe the progress of treatment as well as the patient’s reaction to administered drugs. The StethoMe device is applied on the skin just like a normal stethoscope to detect irregularities in breathing sounds or lung capacity. Data of the exams can be tracked in an app, which are shared between parents and doctors.

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.

Project facts
  • A child catches a cold 8 to 10 times a year on average. In 13% of cases, a cold develops into pneumonia.
  • StethoMe detects abnormal sounds in the respiratory system. The AI algorithms were created on the basis of a database of over 12,000 recordings for which over 38,000 medical descriptions were made in total.
  • The beta version of the device has been tested in 10 countries.
  • StethoMe can reduce the number of unnecessary visits to the doctor by 75%.
Coordinator:
StethoMe®
Partners:
Institute of Acoustics, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poznań University of Medical Sciences, Poznań University of Technology, Karol Jonscher Teaching Hospital in Poznań, Institute of Tuberculosis and Pulmonary Diseases in Rabka Zdrój
Location:
Poland, Poznań
Timeframe:
2017 - 2020
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