A recent report has confirmed a trend we have been seeing for some time now in all areas of point of care healthcare; the rise of the intelligent stethoscope.
In fact, over the last few years the average growth rate of these devices has been 7.19 percent. This is only set to rise as adoption rates increase.
For the purposes of the report, Market Study classified intelligent stethoscopes in two classes, wired and wireless. The latter accounted for 40% of the market.
The U.S had seen the highest adoption rates of the global market, with a market share of 45%. The devices were predominantly seen in hospitals (with clinics and care centers also seeing growth in intelligent stethoscope use).
Europe accounts for 27% of the market, so it is predicted significant growth there throughout 2019 as devices become more readily available.
The Main Players – Top Intelligent Stethoscope Brands
Naturally, the dominant brands in the acoustic stethoscope space have developed intelligent devices and the names will not come as a surprise.
The following companies have all embraced the technology, utilising their established customer base for early penetration:
- 3M Littmann
- American Diagnostics
- Welch Allyn
- Dongjin Medical
- Eko Devices
- HD Medical.
With more units being sold, and new companies entering the market competition has had an impact on prices, to the benefit of the consumer.
The report predicts that global average price of the Intelligent Stethoscope will continue to decrease.
In 2013 that average price per unit was $209.3. This had lowered to $202.8 in 2017
It is also predicted that demand will continue to increase at a very healthy rate. The report stats that the global market for Intelligent Stethoscope will grow at a CAGR of roughly 8.0% over the next five years.
This will amount to approximately 190 million US$ in 2023, (up from 120 million US$ in 2017).
As a healthcare worker the rise of the ‘smart’intelligent stethoscope comes as no surprise. I have discussed some of the pros of buying a wireless, electronic stethoscope that can be connected to your phone here.
With benefits such as being able to record and share sounds, pull upon a vast catalogue of sounds to compare diagnosis, as well as superior amplification – it is easy to understand the popularity of these devices.
However, as with any instrument you use as part of your healthcare work; it is important to have the device that is appropriate for your specific scenario.
With an average $200 price tag, the intelligent stethoscope is an unnecessary expense for a caregiver or student doing basic auscultation. The affordable acoustic stethoscope has covered this area very well for over a century.
For critical care environments there is definitely a need for a more robust diagnostic work flow (as well as recording ability for risk assessment and EMR storage); in these situations, the rise of the intelligent stethoscope in hospitals is long overdue.
From a personal perspective, the next stethoscope I buy is likely to be a smart one.
- Global Strategic Outlook on the Stethoscopes Market 2018-2022 – Stethoscope Apps on Smartphones: The Way of the Future
- Steth IO launches the Smartphone Stethoscope that enables doctors to see and hear both heart and lung sounds.
- M3DICINE Introduces Stethee™, the World’s First AI-Enabled Stethoscope System
- The feasibility of telemedicine in pediatric cardiology
- Electronic stethoscopes: Brief review of clinical utility, evidence, and future implication