Dr. Andrew Lin and Dr. Hon Weng Chong, founders of StethoCloud, have designed and built an inexpensive smartphone stethoscope that can be used by parents and doctors alike. The device is easy enough for a parent to use at home and cheap enough so that a doctor can use it in the developing world to diagnose diseases like pneumonia. The Company started from a winning entry into the 2012 Microsoft Australian Imagine Cup – a student technology competition. StethoCloud has come a long way since their first prototype and Andrew has answers to some of our questions below.
A: How did you decide to create a modern stethoscope?
AL: As doctors, Hon and I have always believed that in the future, an explosion of data will help medical professionals make better informed decisions, with far more leverage on their time than today. For this to happen, we realized that we needed prolific sensors that can collect the data required. We decided on the stethoscope because the data is extremely rich, containing powerful diagnostic information, which can diagnose a broad range of respiratory and heart conditions. Initially, we entered Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition as a student project, where we focused on pneumonia.
A: What is the vision and mission of StethoCloud?
AL: Connected diagnostic devices for consumers, and a software platform to help drive in-home healthcare delivery.
A: Who is your target audience for the product?
AL: Initially, we plan to market our product to parents of young children. This is because respiratory illnesses are extremely common (e.g. croup, bronchiolitis, asthma) and a connected stethoscope will become a valuable tool that can help parents get advice remotely, especially on transient events such as asthma attacks. Beyond this, the tool is also useful for those with chronic illnesses or under care.
A: What are the main differentiators of StethoCloud versus what is currently available in the market that makes it such an industry game changer?
AL: We have designed the device for consumers and the interface is easy to use. It will be much cheaper than existing devices. In the future, we plan to roll out algorithms that provide analytics and help with decision support.
A: How will StethoCloud work with other applications to paint the picture of health for an individual?
AL: It’s early days, but we plan to develop APIs to allow cross-platform integration.