On Wednesday, the FDA approved a piece of medical technology produced by Eko Devices known as “Eko Core”. Eko Core is inserted into a traditional stethoscope, and creates a digital recording of a patient’s heartbeat. The recordings a sent via Bluetooth to Eko’s web portal on the doctor’s computer. Focused on in the article is the ability for doctors to monitor and chart heartbeats over the course of a patient’s lifetime.
I think the ability to record and chart the heartbeats of patients can help with early diagnosis and prevention of heart problems. When the heartbeats of thousands are charted, doctors could more easily compare their heart to others and have a better understanding of their patient’s standing in heart health. If an irregularity of the heart is thought to be occurring there would be no need to go see a specialist, for your doctor could send the audio of your heartbeat along with other information straight to the cardiologist and provide feedback with greater speeds. The technology also takes away from the human error on the side of doctors, by giving them the audio files from previous visits on the patient, and the doctor not having to recall upon a fading memory of a brief listen to a heartbeat on a stethoscope.
Though the data will be stored on the web, the information if hacked would only give a reading of the heart health of an individual. The only foreseeable problem would the altercation of a file to show declining heart problems, or the complete deletion of the file, which could be solved by having backup servers offline. If someone wanted to alter your health records, they would be altering a lot more than just your heart readings, and doing so for your whole health files.
I see no downsides to the impact this technology has when it comes to benefiting patients and making the jobs of doctors more efficient. Doctors all over will soon be using some form of technology along the line of Eko Core to streamline a part of a visit to their office, and provide more accurate feedback in a shorter time by pulling up a chart from a large database.