The Eko Core smartphone device, which is inserted into the rubbing tubing of a traditional stethoscope (soon to be almost 200 years old!) and wirelessly transmits heart information for analysis, has received FDA approval and is now accepting orders.
It's not cheap, the cost is $199 to start, but the first CD burner was 1X and cost $5,000, so a high-cost for a stethoscope insert of this kind is expected. On a value basis today, a traditional stethoscope still beats it, but it's a Big Data world and in the future a doctor would be able to summon patient's heartbeat data from 2015 on - for young people it could encompass their whole lives. Since it is digital it could also be sent to a specialist immediately if needed - removing the necessity of another visit. The big differentiater from other competing products is the link to a smartphone wirelessly.
For investors, the FDA stamp of approval wasn't expensive; the company, founded by three recent University of California, Berkeley graduates, only raised $2.8 million in venture capital, reports Sarah Ashley O'Brien for CNN. For patients, there is a fast payoff as well. As we noted in "The stethoscope is about to celebrate its 200th birthday and it s about to say goodbye", it takes decades for a doctor to really understand the nuances of heartbeats the way a cardiologist might, but this digital version makes that much easier.