This past week Reuters reported on how Zargis Medical(auscultation software) was cleared as a developer for iPhone apps and more importantly, peripherals for the iPhone.

The following is a quote from Zargis Medical in the article:

The future of healthcare delivery is about connectivity and mobility. Zargis’ expertise in computer-aided auscultation and our advanced medical software platform positions us perfectly to create diagnostic software and peripherals that are a natural fit for smartphones. We intend to improve healthcare efficiency by helping clinicians bring medical technology to the patient, rather than the other way around,” stated Zargis CEO John Kallassy.

If you delve deeper into Zargis Medical, you see how they are heavily vested in diagnostic cardiology software. They have created the worlds first FDA-cleared medial software to identify and classify suspected systolic and diastolic heart murmurs. Of particular interest is how they have integrated their software with the Littmann Bluetooth Electronic Stethoscope Model 3200. In their setup, the stethoscope communicates via bluetooth to a laptop with the Zargis auscultation software.

Continue on for the rest of the story.

Some of the features of this pairing are described in detail at MarketWatch.com. Noteable features mentioned by MarketWatch are:

-Zargis StethAssist(TM) software, included with the Littmann Electronic Stethoscope Model 3200, allows clinicians to visualize heart, lung and other body sounds, play recordings at slow speeds to hear more clearly, and save recordings for comparison to future auscultations.

-StethAssist and Cardioscan recordings and related patient notes are stored electronically and can also be sent to colleagues for a second opinion.

This pairing between Zargis and Littmann happened pretty recently, in late August. You can check out the pairing in more detail on the Zargis website. Right now the pairing of Zargis’ software with Littmann’s bluetooth stethoscope requires a laptop, but with news of Zargis being approved to develop peripherals for the iPhone, one would only think they would take this pairing to the iPhone, bypassing the need for a laptop or PC.

There are a few possible mobile scenarios I can see happening:

1) The bluetooth Littmann stethoscope pairs with the iPhone via bluetooth. Zargis develops an auscultation app for the iPhone that is able to access this connection and use the information to implement the same auscultation capabilities their PC software provides. Basically, the app could enable you to diagnose certain heart murmurs, enhance heart sounds, store murmurs, store other sounds(lungs), and send them to your colleagues.

2) Zargis develops a peripheral stethoscope that connects directly to the iPhone. No bluetooth involved here, and they have an App on the iPhone that works as described in the above scenario.

Either way, if they are able to bring their auscultation software to the iPhone there could be interesting benefits. Some of the different ways I could see this used in the clinic setting are the following:

-This would make their software more mobile and significantly easier to use in a hospital room. -Imagine pre-rounding and being able to save interesting heart sounds you hear to your iPhone, then playing them during rounds for all to hear. This could be great for teaching purposes. -Cardiologists could even save a patients heart sound at every check up, then compare the heart sounds over time.

-Remote clinics could save worrisome heart sounds or lung sounds and email them to cardiologists to get diagnostic results (if the auscultation software isn’t able to identify the heart pathology first)

-EMT or other first responders could use this mobile set up during the ambulance ride to the hospital to send heart sounds or lung sounds to the ED or cardiologist on call.

Will any of this actually play out? I have no clue. But am I hoping it does? Absolutely.