Electronic Stethoscopes - Standards


At the release of this toolkit, clinical standards are not routinely published. If there are standards that you feel we should include, please contact us.

Transmitting Serial Data

While many VTC devices independently support sending serial data, there is not currently cross compatibility between manufactures. Some variable that are necessary to keep in mind when transmitting serial data are physical cable type, port connections utilized on the VTC unit, type of call (point to point or bridged), and various call aspects such as baud rate, bit rate, etc. Manufacturers generally provide guidance to users on their standards for transmitting serial data in their user guides and product information. Utilize the links below to obtain information from each manufacturer about the standards that pertain to their product.  Note that the following PDF "Portfolios" must be downloaded and viewed on Adobe Reader; the files cannot be viewed in a web browser.

Transmitting Audio Output Data

Audio output data transmission is a hallmark feature of the electronic stethoscope. There are multiple ways in which audio output data can be transmitted, and the ways vary depending on manufacturer. In general, the data is transmitted via a cable from the audio output port on the electronic stethoscope. There is no real standard in audio data transmission cables, they vary by manufacturer. A user can connect the audio output cable to both a computer work station and to the audio input port on a video conferencing unit to transmit data.

When the computer work station is utilized, it is utilized in conjunction with a computer software program. The general process for which this data is handled by the computer and various software programs is fairly standardized. This topic is explored further in our documentation.

When the audio is streamed from the audio output cable into the audio input port on the VTC, the VTC unit itself is used as a codec to encode and decode the data and allow for its transmission over a network. There are no real standards that are currently documented related to standards for streaming audio data. The TTAC team did test this for feasibility and compatibility between multiple VTC units and in multiple call configurations with mixed results. There were many variables that had to be accounted for when making these types of connections, to include: cabling configurations, VTC unit setting, physical port selection on the VTC, call configuration, and audio output configuration. We believe with some industry standardization, this could be a very useful means of transmitting the audio data obtained from using electronic stethoscopes in Telehealth. The other benefit of being able to stream audio data through VTC units is the fact that users would not have to utilize two more costly serial data units, which could lead to cost savings.