3M rockets mobile health to International Space Station

By Brian Dolan
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Kibo

Kibo at the ISS | Source:NASA

3M has worked with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to equip its astronauts with the 3M Littmann Scope-to-Scope Tele-Auscultation System on-board at the International Space Station (ISS). The system will allow physicians on the ground to hear the actual heartbeat of astronauts in space in real-time.

JAXA will use the system for coronary tone data collection in a series of autonomic nervous activity rhythm experiments set to be carried out onboard the ISS. The tests will include linking Earth-based medical professionals with the astronauts. They will take place in "Kibo," which is Japan's first manned space lab.

“For astronauts to be able to send heart and body sounds in real-time from space with the same sound quality and clarity as if the physician on Earth was in the same room, is a real step forward for telemedicine and for patient care in all areas, especially when we apply this technology in rural and underserved areas," Ingrid Blair, vice president of patient assessment, 3M Infection Prevention Division stated in the company press release.

3M describes the system like so: "At the patient site, the Scope-to-Scope Software digitally captures heart sound with a state-of-the-art sound sensor, wirelessly transfers the sound to software using the Bluetooth enabled Littmann Model 3200 electronic stethoscope, and sends the sound across the Internet securely. At the consultant site, the sound is delivered to the eartips of the consultant who hears the patient's internal sounds as if the patient were in the room."

In mid-Novemeber last year 3M first unveiled the Littmann Scope-to-Scope Tele-Auscultation System, which enables physicians to remotely listen to patients. According to 3M: “Using Bluetooth connectivity, the system transfers in real time audio gathered on one Littmann Model 3200 stethoscope to another anywhere in the world.”

That should now include those orbiting this world, too.

NEW 3M LITTMANN® SCOPE-TO-SCOPE TELE-AUSCULTATION SOFTWARE TRANSMITS FROM SPACE

First system of its kind used by Japanese Space Program at International Space Station

ST. PAUL, Minn., March 9, 2011 — Designed with remote applications in mind, the 3M™ Littmann® Scope-to-Scope Tele-Auscultation System is finding itself beyond this world, literally, as it is being utilized on-board the International Space Station (ISS) by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Physicians on the ground will be able to hear the actual heartbeat of astronauts in space in real-time utilizing the 3M™ Littmann® Electronic Stethoscope Model 3200 and telemedicine software package.

“It is exciting to see our technology work across the galaxy,” said Ingrid Blair, vice president of patient assessment, 3M Infection Prevention Division. “For astronauts to be able to send heart and body sounds in real-time from space with the same sound quality and clarity as if the physician on Earth was in the same room, is a real step forward for telemedicine and for patient care in all areas, especially when we apply this technology in rural and underserved areas.”

JAXA planned to use the system for coronary tone data collection, as a supporting device for autonomic nervous activity rhythm experiments while on-board the ISS. It will be used as a space medicine experiment device linking Earth and Space with voice and speech utilizing the telemedicine software. The tests will be conducted in “Kibo,” the first Japanese manned space laboratory.

Available in the U.S. since November 2010, the Littmann® Scope-to-Scope Tele-Auscultation System allows clinicians to transfer digitally captured patient sounds in real-time, from one stethoscope to another. In tandem with the innovative Littmann® Electronic Stethoscope Model 3200, the software is transforming the tele-auscultation experience so clinicians can consult with colleagues in real-time, across data networks, anywhere in the world or outer space.

A time and money saver for both healthcare providers and patients, telemedicine has grown rapidly across the United States. More and more physicians and health systems are seeing the benefits of offering their primary services to an even broader population, who wouldn’t otherwise have easy access. A recent study by Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics found that the rapid electronic review of children’s heart images by specialists nearly 200 miles away allowed for earlier diagnosis and treatment of potentially serious pediatric heart problems.

The Littmann® Scope-to-Scope Tele-Auscultation System is currently being used in the U.S.and will be available in Japan in fall 2011. The Littmann® Model 3200 Electronic Stethoscope is currently available in 45 countries around the world, including Japan.

The Littmann® Model 3200 electronic stethoscope features ambient noise reduction technology, which eliminates approximately 85 percent of distracting background noises without filtering out critical body sounds, 24 times the sound amplification even in the most challenging environments, frictional noise reduction technology that reduces handling sounds from the chestpiece, and extended sound range frequency. Paired with the highly performing, reliable and comfortable Littmann® Model 3200, the easy-to-install Littmann® Scope-to-Scope Tele-Auscultation System enables equal access to world-class patient care.

About 3M

3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the innovation company that never stops inventing. With $27 billion in sales, 3M employs about 80,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 65 countries. For more information, visit www.3M.com or follow @3MNews on Twitter.

About 3M™ Littmann® Stethoscopes

3M™ Littmann® Stethoscopes is a global leader in auscultation technology – providing innovative solutions to improve patient care. Littmann stethoscopes are trusted worldwide for precision, acoustical superiority, reliable design and exceptional performance, helping clinicians detect difficult-to-hear body sounds and advance patient care. As part of the 3M Infection Prevention Division, Littmann® Stethoscopes, with its system of people, products and processes, remains a trusted partner committed to helping healthcare personnel improve the ease of detecting difficult to hear body sounds and ultimately, improve patient outcomes.

For more information on 3M™ Littmann® Stethoscopes, please visit www.littmann.com/us.

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