Everything is digitized in our modern world, from thermostats to doorbells, and now even stethoscopes.
Multiple digital stethoscopes exist in the marketplace, and I recently had the opportunity to test one of them: the Eko Core digital stethoscope, which is available online for $299. (https://ekodevices.com.) The Eko stands out for its simple, sturdy, and handsome design. It has a simple on/off button with a flashing blue light indicator that switches the stethoscope from digital to analog mode, which allows you to continue using it when the battery runs out, but the Eko charges easily via a USB cable.
The most immediate useful benefit of the Eko is that it can amplify sounds. That feature, combined with its noise filter, makes it incredibly useful for hearing heart and lung sounds in a noisy ED. The Eko has a volume toggle button adjacent to the on/off switch to adjust sound levels.
What makes the Eko even more interesting is that it can connect with your mobile device via Bluetooth, allowing you to record and share the sounds with a patient, an EMR, or other providers securely. It also allows live streaming, which you can use to share heart sounds in an Apple-esque fashion outside the exam room. Eko is also building artificial intelligence to help decipher sounds algorithmically like Shazam but for heart sounds. I'm sure it helps that Chris Barton, a co-founder of Shazam, is one of Eko's advisors.
I don't ever want to return to a regular stethoscope after using the Eko, and neither will you.