Case Study | Digital Auscultation for Vulnerable Populations

Summary: Telehealth venture uses Eko DUO to help prevent unnecessary hospital visits for vulnerable populations like the elderly and disabled, while delivering the same expert, quality care they deserve. 
StationMD Logo  image

The Problem

The founders of StationMD worked at an emergency room next to a facility for developmentally disabled individuals. On a daily basis, patients from the home would end up in the ER for minor issues that did not require urgent care. The visit was often grueling and traumatic for the patient, as well as disruptive and costly for both the ER and the care facility.

The founders decided to launch a new telehealth venture to prevent unnecessary transfers to the hospital, but deliver the same expert, quality care to vulnerable populations like the elderly and disabled. StationMD created its own secure video conferencing system, capable of integrating with any patient group or facility in the country. It staffed the service with board certified physicians available to patients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Now it needed a sophisticated diagnostic tool to allow doctors to auscultate in real time. The device not only needed to work well and reliably, but also be very user friendly.

The Solution

The first digital stethoscope StationMD tried required an update every few months that caused significant delays. It also had connectivity issues. The second had a design limitation that interfered with the clinician's ability to communicate with the staff member conducting the physical exam. Then, StationMD found Eko.

The Eko DUO is a 2-in-1 digital stethoscope plus handheld ECG. Through the Eko Telehealth platform, the device streams heart, lung, and bowel sounds in real time. StationMD found that the DUO solved its diagnostic tool problems. It had a strong Bluetooth connection, was straightforward to set up, and allowed clinicians to hear the patient and caretaker. It also captured high quality sounds and data. The DUO is now standard in every station StationMD sends to care facilities and even private homes.

"Our specific population is at high risk for bowel obstruction and pneumonia, and having the DUO and Eko Telehealth are key. That's why we use this tool with almost all of our clients. We need the technology and we need it to work all the time. Eko does that."

Deven Unadkat, DO, FACEP
StationMD Chief Medical Officer and Founding Partner

StationMD's complete telemedicine solution includes:

  • StationMD Telemedicine Platform
  • StationMD quality metrics and data dashboard plus EHR
  • Eko DUO (digital stethoscope + handheld ECG)
  • Eko Telehealth Platform

The Outcome

Eko DUO and Eko Telehealth have helped StationMD prevent countless traumatic trips to the hospital. Patients are also safer when diagnosed and treated from the comfort of where they live. Each trip to the hospital comes with the potential of being exposed to dangerous infectious diseases. Financially, there are also significant savings when patients can avoid the ER.

In particular, Eko DUO helps diagnose 2 common problems among StationMD's specific population: bowel obstructions and aspiration pneumonia. Clinicians remotely listen to bowel sounds to gauge whether further imaging is needed. Listening to lung sounds can lead to an early diagnosis of pneumonia, allowing immediate treatment.

The ECG rhythm strip on the DUO is employed when a patient's heart rate is fast. The data collected adds another piece of the puzzle to what the patient is presenting with. The more pieces of information, the higher the likelihood StationMD can prevent that trip to the hospital.