Founded in 2013, medical tech startup Eko Devices is making headlines with its new Eko Core, a digital stethoscope attachment that allows doctors to send stethoscope data to the cloud. Not only is the device attracting attention in the US now that it has been approved for use by the FDA, it’s also making a major impact on the people of Haiti, reports Motherboard.
Adults and children in villages across Haiti lack the basic medical care that most of us in the US and other similar countries take for granted. Almost 60 percent of population live in poverty, and more than half of the children under five often go without food. American doctor Christine Robson Hashim oversees the clinical operations for medical mission group People for Haiti and is trying to make a difference in the Caribbean country.
One of the latest tools in her arsenal is the Eko Core. The $199 digital adapter ($299 with a stethoscope) clips on to any standard stethoscope, both amplifying and recording heartbeats in real time. These recordings are then sent to the cloud, where physicians can review and share them with other doctors. Hashim is using the device in Haiti to record the heartbeats of her Haitian patients and immediately share the data with cardiologists located back in the United States.
Recently, Hashim saved the life of a six-year-old girl who needed surgery to repair a problem with her heart. This diagnosis and treatment was made possible by the Eko Core, which allowed Hashim to make multiple recordings of the patient’s heartbeat for an attending cardiologist who made a diagnosis from the US. Hashim now has trained her staff in Haiti to use the Eko Core and is using that data to monitor the girl’s recovery.
Eko is using this Haiti program as a proof of concept that demonstrates the device can be beneficial in developing countries. The team hopes to expand this program to other countries with the help of non-governmental organizations, humanitarian groups, and cardiologists who are willing to volunteer their expertise. The Berkeley-based company also is working to improve its stethoscope by developing heartbeat recognition software, a “Shazam for heartbeats,” that would aid in diagnosing heartbeat recordings before they are sent off to a cardiologist for review.