Reno startup Hummingdoc develops stethoscope that connects to smartphones to assist in telemedicine
November 21, 2016
One of the most basic diagnostics medical professionals perform is to listen to a patient’s heart and lungs through a stethoscope. One local startup is making it possible for patients to convert their smartphone into a stethoscope in order to remotely perform these diagnostics from the comfort of one’s home.
“Basically what we are trying to do is humanize medical products,” Dr. Paul Park, co-CEO and founder of Reno startup Hummingdoc, said.
Hummingdoc makes home health devices for smartphones to help facilitate telemedicine. Park has created a stethoscope adapter, called hummingdoc flip, that allows users to record heart and lung sounds on their smartphone. The recording can then be sent to medical professionals to be evaluated.
To use the device as a stethoscope, users place the microphone from an Apple EarPod headset into the hummingdoc flip and plug the headset into the smartphone. It is then able to record the sounds via a third party application called Stethoscope. Park is currently working with a programing intern to develop their own app to be used with the technology.
As telemedicine becomes more prominent, devices such as these can help doctors provide better care for patients remotely.
“This is going to be the wave of the future,” Park said about telemedicine. “There is so much we can do remotely but there are still many limitations.”
He hopes that devices like hummingdoc flip can reduce some of these limitations as well as reduce wasted time and costs in the medical industry.
“What I see is a lot of inefficiency in the healthcare industry and I want to streamline it,” he said.
Park manufactures the hummingdoc flip devices through the 3-D printers at the DeLaMare Library on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. It comes in three different colors and can be purchased on the company’s website for $75.
Park is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine where he earned both his doctorate of philosophy in cell/cellular and molecular biology and later a his doctor of medicine degree. He then became interested in neurosurgery and went on to study at the Mayo Graduate School. While spending 10 months in Cambodia teaching neurosurgery residents from the University of Health and Sciences of Cambodia, he became interested in entrepreneurship.
Park said that he was inspired by seeing a country that had been really devastated by war and poverty working to rebuild. There he met several entrepreneurs including some who were working to take people out of trafficking and incorporate them back into the community.
“That was really powerful for me,” Park said.
Later, Park had a friend working abroad as a missionary email him about some medical symptoms he was experiencing. However, Park found it difficult to properly diagnose him without listening to his heart.
“That really sparked my interest in telemedicine,” he said.
Eventually, he went to work for a personalized medicine startup company called Cipheorme, Inc., in Silicon Valley. There he learned more about entrepreneurship, fundraising and networking.
“It is hard to know what it takes to be an entrepreneur until you do it,” he said.
This past July, Park decided to pursue Hummingdoc full time. He currently works with a team of four others developing the startup.
Hummingdoc is based out of UNR’s Innevation Center in downtown Reno.
“It has been great,” Park said about the co-working space. “There are a lot of smart and talented people that I can learn from.”
He is also part of EDAWN’s Summit Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) program. VMS connects local entrepreneurs to mentors to provide support and resources to entrepreneurs in the startup community.
“It is really essential for startups to have good mentors and advisors,” he said.
Hummingdoc flip is just the beginning of personalized healthcare products that Park hopes to develop.
“We are working on creating other products that consumers want and need,” Park said.
Hummingdoc is not the only company working to create home health devices for smartphones.
“This is a very new industry but we already have competition,” Park said.
Park identified other companies, such as CliniCloud based out of Australia, as part of their competition. Nevertheless, Park is excited about how the startup is advancing.
“Who knows where it is going to go,” he said about Hummingdoc. “The story is evolving and things are happening.”
He hopes that the startup can be a way for him to create quality jobs in the Biggest Little City.
“My vision is for this company to be a success story for Reno,” Park said.