Physician viewpoint: Why are we still using stethoscopes? 

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The stethoscope — invented in 1816 — is long overdue for a redesign, according to Davinder Ramsingh, MD, an anesthesiologist at Loma Linda (Calif.) University Medical Center.

"Now, just over 200 years later, it is incredible to think that this technology has not been reinvented — especially when you compare the advances humankind has made in other areas," he wrote in a blog post on Loma Linda's website.

Diagnostic technologies have undergone significant advancements in the medical world, but physicians still use stethoscopes as the primary tool for physical exams, despite their "widely known inaccuracies," Dr. Ramsingh noted.

He said point-of-care ultrasound could prove a more effective alternative to stethoscopes for physical exams. Clinicians have primarily adopted POCUS for use in emergency department settings, but Dr. Ramsingh said the technology is starting to emerge in other care settings.

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