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Implications for the design of a digital stethoscope for anaesthetic preadmission consultations

Kraal, Ben & Popovic, Vesna (2010) Implications for the design of a digital stethoscope for anaesthetic preadmission consultations. Australasian Medical Journal, 3(8), pp. 440-444.

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Abstract

Background This research addresses the development of a digital stethoscope for use with a telehealth communications network to allow doctors to examine patients remotely (a digital telehealth stethoscope). A telehealth stethoscope would allow remote auscultation of patients who do not live near a major hospital. Travelling from remote areas to major hospitals is expensive for patients and a telehealth stethoscope could result in significant cost savings. Using a stethoscope requires great skill. To design a telehealth stethoscope that meets doctors’ expectations, the use of existing stethoscopes in clinical contexts must be examined.

Method Observations were conducted of 30 anaesthetic preadmission consultations. The observations were video- taped. Interaction between doctor, patient and non-human elements in the consultation were “coded” to transform the video into data. The data were analysed to reveal essential aspects of the interactions.

Results The analysis has shown that the doctor controls the interaction during auscultation. The conduct of auscultation draws heavily on the doctor’s tacit knowledge, allowing the doctor to treat the acoustic stethoscope as infrastructure – that is, the stethoscope sinks into the background and becomes completely transparent in use.

Conclusion Two important, and related, implications for the design of a telehealth stethoscope have arisen from this research. First, as a telehealth stethoscope will be a shared device, doctors will not be able to make use of their existing expertise in using their own stethoscopes. Very simply, a telehealth stethoscope will sound different to a doctor’s own stethoscope. Second, the collaborative interaction required to use a telehealth stethoscope will have to be invented and refined. A telehealth stethoscope will need to be carefully designed to address these issues and result in successful use.

This research challenges the concept of a telehealth stethoscope by raising questions about the ease and confidence with which doctors could use such a device.

Impact and interest:

1 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 37972
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: design, digital stethoscope
DOI: 10.4066/AMJ.2010.404
ISSN: 18361935
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300) > Design Innovation (120302)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300) > Design Practice and Management not elsewhere classified (120399)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Design
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Please consult the authors.
Deposited On: 18 Oct 2010 12:09
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 00:20

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