Will the iPhone Replace the Stethoscope?

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The stethoscope is a staple in any child’s dress-up box and the one piece of equipment that says, “trust me, I’m a doctor” more than any other. But all this could be changing with the introduction of an iPhone app.

More than 3 million doctors have downloaded the app- invented by Peter Bentley, a researcher from University College London- which turns an Apple iPhone into a stethoscope, allowing you to measure heart beat. Last week a free version of the app was introduced, which is now being downloaded by more than 500 users a day.

Experts are saying the software is a major advance in medical technology and enables doctors in remote areas to access specialist advice. “Everybody is excited about the potential of the adoption of mobile phone technology into the medical work place, and rightly so,” said Bentley, who initially developed the app “as a fun toy.”

There are nearly 6,000 applications related to health in the Apple App store. Eighty percent of doctors say they expect to be using a smart phone by 2012, and some medical schools are even issuing students with them. Georgetown University, the University of Louisville and Ohio State University and among those requiring undergraduates to use one. It looks like doctors’ bags will be getting much lighter in years to come. Check out a how-to video below.  (via the Guardian)


-Frances Perraudin