Ebola presents a unique challenge for auscultation. With CDC calling for full body coverage, how does the clinician place stethoscope eartips in the ears for listening? Auscultation at the bedside with a conventional style stethoscope with tubing becomes impossible.
Thinklabs One solves the problem, as was discovered by teams that have used Thinklabs One on their Ebola patients at multiple centers in the USA including Bellevue Hospital in New York and Nebraska Medical Center, where the Thinklabs One has been used on Ebola patients.
Thinklabs One's unique stethoscope design allows healthcare workers to perform ausculation while being protected in an isolation environment, and can be used with protective covers in the ED to reduce contamination when pre-screening admissions.
The One can be used directly using earbuds or headphones, via bluetooth transmitters within the isolation room or to a consultant outside the room, connected to a loudspeaker, or send sounds via email or instant messaging on iPhone or iPad.
Biocontainment teams are using the One in a unique way:
Personnel are donning disposable earbud headphones prior to covering the face and body.
The earbud/headphone cable is then snaked out of the protective clothing, to be connected, external to the clothing, to the Thinklabs One Digital Stethoscope.
The clinician can then listen clearly to patient sounds while being fully suited up.
They can optionally record sounds on iPad for transmission for second opinions outside the BCU. Bluetooth transmitters can be used to transmit sounds to consultants outside, to minimize the number of clinicians who have to be tracked or exposed.
When personnel remove clothing and equipment, the headphones are withdrawn/pulled from under the clothing and discarded with other contaminated equipment and clothing. Any wiring that was outside the clothing is drawn away from the user, never touching skin.
Thinklabs One stays inside the BCU for re-use.
If you are treating, or preparing to treat, Ebola patients, please let us know, or add a note to your order. We are developing a knowledge base specially for Ebola preparedness so that we can share the experience in our user community.
User experience, treating actual Ebola patients using the Thinklabs One, is building this knowledge base on a daily basis and we'd like to keep you up to date.
The image above illustrates the general approach used by physicians at Nebraska Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital in the treatment of their Ebola patients.
The earbud headphones are placed inside the PPE and the cable threaded out from under the protection. The cable is threaded through without compromising the protection, which would be impossible with conventional stethoscope tubing. The wiring is shown hanging loosely in the above image, however this is for illustration only. In practice, the cable is more tightly secured to ensure protection and threaded around the various layers of PPE, to emerge from the protective layers.
The earbud cable can be connected directly to the One, or via an extension cable, available from Thinklabs, so that the distance to the patient can be extended.
Once auscultation has been done, usually when the physician first enters the "hot zone", the cable can be tugged on to induce the earbuds to fall out of the ears, so that the physician can go about her work without having the earbuds inserted.
When doffing the PPE, the earbud cable is withdrawn away from the physician to ensure that any contamination that might be on the end of the cable moves away form the clinician.
The stethoscope itself, shown in the clinician's hand, stays in the isolated area with the patient.
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Hear the Public Radio interview with Clive Smith, CEO of Thinklabs, about the use of Thinklabs One for Ebola. Click here