Telemedicine is one of the fasting growing areas in medicine. Regardless of their location, it allows matching a provider with a patient, or an expert consultant.
Telemedicine systems have advanced greatly in the last few years, with much improved video quality.
However, the audio quality is still problematic for both verbal communication between the participants and for internet-enabled stethoscopic sounds.
- Telemedicine is often being conducted in “hostile” audio environments. Background noise can exceed 70 dB. Telemedicine terminals are often in rooms made of materials with poor acoustic properties. (e.g. tiled walls)
- The audio hardware (microphones and speakers) is often low grade.
- The communications (internet, telephone) bandwidth may be low.
- These challenges combine to reduce the level of intelligibility.
Additionally, in systems that allow auscultation (internet-enabled stethoscope)
- The playback hardware (speakers) may be unable to produce the low frequency sounds of the heart and lungs.
- Raising the volume to maximum output only results in distortion.
- Some internet-enabled stethoscopes have a very low sampling rate of 2k samples per second (standard music is 44.1k).
Bongiovi Medical Digital Power Station (MDPS™) can effectively address these issues, resulting in a superior telemedicine experience, with improved voice communication and auscultation. See examples below, or click on the following link that best suits your needs:
Examples of Bongiovi MDPS in Action
BMHT conducted an independent pilot study on a major university medical center’s telemedicine system. We intentionally created a non-ideal listening environment that replicated real world usage of the telemedicine systems. Intelligibility was measured using the ANSI Modified Rhyme Test (ANSI/ASA S3.2-2009, “Method for Measuring the Intelligibility of Speech Over Communication Systems.
Below are the results of the pilot study:
|Without MDPS||With MDPS||% Improvement|
This video demonstrates how MDPS can improve intelligibility for Telemedicine Systems:
Many telemedicine systems rely on laptops for the clinician’s communication endpoint. Small speakers and workplace listening environments make listening to quiet biological sounds very challenging. The MDPS algorithm is capable of making heart and lung sounds audible on laptop speakers as demonstrated in these videos: