A novel stethoscope design that enhances the safety of a healthcare professional’s working environment while improving the quality of care.

The Need

Stethoscopes used by physicians and nurses have been known to present unsuspecting hazards and inconveniences to both health care workers and their patients. The binaural stethoscope developed in the early 1960s remains the most popular design used by health care professionals, however it has several disadvantages. Due to their cumbersome length, stethoscopes are frequently worn around the neck, often leading to poor patient care such as the accidental hitting of patients. The safety of healthcare providers is also at risk using the binaural stethoscope. Patients with dementia or violent tendencies could use the stethoscope to choke or strangle the health professionals who care for them. A compact solution, to keep the stethoscope in a more convenient location is necessary.

The Market

Health care professionals rely on stethoscopes in their daily practice.

  • Acoustic stethoscopes remain the most popular stethoscope in use by health care providers including physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, and emergency medical technicians.
  • An anecdotal survey of health care providers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center gave positive remarks on the prototype‚Äôs user-friendliness
  • The global stethoscopes market is expected to reach $359.4 million by 2018 (Companies & Markets Research)

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, led by Timothy Phillips, R.N., developed an improved stethoscope design which is compact, user-friendly, and provides several advantages over the conventional design utilized widely by many health care providers.

  • Flexible and telescopic tubing mechanism
  • Decreases risk of patient and healthcare provider injury
  • Compact design encourages convenient carry in lab coat or scrub pockets as opposed to wearing stethoscopes around the neck
  • Interchangeable tubing design allows for direct replacement of worn parts

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