Physician smart phone adoption rates are to reach 81% by 2012, and its likely bluetooth stethoscopes will decline in price by then too. The question then remains, whether the android/Iphone/smartphone tbc, bluetooth implementation will remain lame, or be fully functional. If phone manufacturers finally do get around to a full bluetooth implementation, no doubt there will be a lot of integration.
Some have suggested such integration could enable remote patient monitoring… which I think could be pretty cool. Of course the problem of patient education would need to be addressed, as well as healthcare system reimbursement, after all someone does have to pay. Adwords driven analysis of PHR captured auscultation data is probably not the answer.
Its also interesting to note the comment on the bluetooth stethoscope software.
Zargis(R) Cardioscan(TM) software easily pairs with the Littmann Electronic Stethoscope Model 3200 to guide the clinician through four main cardiac sites, then after approximately one minute, indicates whether or not the patient possesses a suspected diastolic or systolic murmur–and whether or not the murmur is suspected to be a Class I indication for echocardiography referral.
On the one hand, this could be a majorly cool thing. On the other… its sort of like an early stage autopilot. Bean counters will always push to cut costs, and the ability to shift intrinsic knowledge to automation is a major temptation. The intrinsic knowledge of a highly experienced cardiologist, is not the sort of thing that lends itself to automation, much less scaling.
Now, if the software can just take some of the routine burden away, ie running down checklists, and capturing the obvious, and thus open up more time for the cardiologist, its a good thing… the problem will be the bean counters temptation to replace experience and intrinsic knowledge base with technology.