A group of MBBS students from AIIMS, in collaboration with IIT-Delhi, has developed a unique broadcasting stethoscope to help students learn the auscultation technique — listening to sounds from the heart, lungs and other organs for diagnosis — and assist faculty in mass teaching.
“While teaching, the patient faces discomfort if students use the stethoscope one by one, to understand the variation in sounds. But with the broadcast stethoscope, we can teach 10-15 students at once, allowing them space to discuss the interpretation of the sounds. This is an innovative approach which makes it easier for patients and students to study auscultation. It is surprising that no one thought of it earlier,” said Dr Vineet Ahuja, associate dean, research, AIIMS.
The device, which can be attached to a normal stethoscope, is in the testing phase and will soon be available in the market for less than Rs 10,000.
Talking about the need for such an innovation, Tamoghna Ghosh, one of the AIIMS students behind the innovation, said, “In a cardiology class, only one student can listen to the heartbeat at a time using the normal stethoscope… It takes time. This device will change it.”
Dr Rajeev Kumar, associate dean, academics, AIIMS, said, “Whenever the doctor wishes to transmit the sound, he/she can attach the device to his stethoscope…” Students from AIIMS spent four weeks at IIT-Delhi as part of an exchange programme, working with engineering students and teachers, to develop the device. In a first, AIIMS has initiated an exchange programme with three other universities — Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi (IGIB); University College, London and University of Cologne, Germany.
Officials said this was the first time that a structured programme has been started by the institute. “Students have been sent to five different places for innovation and training programmes. A curriculum was drawn up for the purpose,” said Kumar. “This will continue in the coming year too. For the first time in an exchange programme, our students came up with this innovation,” he added.
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