Stethee, the world’s first stethoscope built with an artificial intelligence (AI) system will be produced in Malaysia through a collaboration with M3DICINE, an Australian private medical device design and manufacturing company.

After 200 years of stagnancy, the stethoscope has finally evolved from the traditional tube with earpiece to a handheld wireless device, which changes the way medical practitioners perform auscultation altogether.

A proud moment for Malaysia

This state-of-art stethoscope is proudly made in Malaysia for the global market through a strategic partnership between the Health Ministry, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), Collaborative Research in Engineering, Science and Technology (CREST), and M3DICINE, and was facilitated by the Telemedicine Development Group (TDG).

Stethee will not only help medical practitioners to listen to the heart and lungs with detailed and accurate analysis, but will also “empower remote and rural healthcare through simple and yet precise surveillance and detection of heart and lung diseases.

The potential for Stethee to be used in remote and rural areas of Malaysia is enormous and endless, bringing high-quality healthcare to the urban and rural areas instantly,” asserted Director-General of Health, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

A joint statement stated that M3DICINE had chosen Malaysia as its production base after careful evaluation of several locations, which included Taiwan, South Korea and China.

“We are proud that M3DICINE has made Malaysia its production base for this high-technology product, reflecting its strong confidence in our capabilities,” said CREST chairman and MIDA CEO, Datuk Azman Mahmud.

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A cutting-edge innovation

Stethee was designed “to work as easily as a traditional stethoscope, allowing users to listen to heart and lung sounds with sophisticated amplification and filtering technology,” described Dr Noor Hisham.

The recordings can be transmitted to a smart device such as a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth technology, and analysed to build a personal biometric signature for each patient, and detect the presence of heart or lung diseases.

Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics (AIDA), the technology platform behind the Stethee AI engine, also automatically tags geo-location and aggregate environmental data (temperature, humidity, pollen count, pollutant index) for analysis by healthcare professionals.

AIDA analyses this data (which is encrypted and anonymised) and is able to provide doctors, vets and healthcare professionals with quantitative clinically actionable data.

The Stethee system has three core products – the Stethee Pro, Stethee Vet and Stethee Edu.

Currently, the Stethee Pro stethoscope is undergoing clinical evaluation by a group of medical practitioners and clinical researchers at the Clinical Research Centre (CRC), Perak.

Collaborative efforts open doors to endless opportunities

The Telemedicine Development Group (TDG), co-chaired by Dr Noor Hisham and Dato Sri Dr Halim Shafie, Chairman of the Malaysian Communications & Multimedia Commission (MCMC), provides a platform for digital innovation, digital health services ecosystem and collaborative partnerships – which will put Malaysia on the world map as a medical device hub.

“I look forward to more disruptive technology from our digital healthcare technology innovators, as we embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution where the fusion of technologies blurs the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

Meanwhile, the venture would not only increase export earnings for Malaysia, but also provide business and job opportunities for the country, according to Azman.

“The project augurs well with our drive towards embracing the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) – and we encourage more companies to explore similar mutually beneficial collaboration towards cementing Malaysia’s reputation as a country, which can churn out innovative and creative products and services,” expressed Azman. MIMS

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