Disrupting force? Company eyes tech update for that old stethoscope

Three college buddies have big plans for a 21st century upgrade to the traditional stethoscope. Tyler Crouch and two classmates from the University of California, Berkeley have Eko Devices, a company that has raised nearly $5 million and sold 6,000 digital stethoscopes.

The wireless models, already used in 700 hospitals, can transfer a patient’s heart rate and vital signs to a secure portal, where such data can be accessed by physicians. According to a story in the New York Times, Eko is now at work on an at-home version, which could improve monitoring of heart patients. The device may soon be available with a prescription.

“Medicine is experiencing a potentially tectonic shift,” said Jeffrey Olgin, MD, professor and chief of cardiology at the U.C. San Francisco School of Medicine. “There is a huge amount of venture investment in these kinds of things. People are betting this is going to happen—but it hasn’t happened yet.”

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