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Thinking of Going Digital? Four Things to Consider Before Making a Purchase

Written By: 
Marc Blitstein / President & CEO

For as far back as I can remember, futurists have predicted the demise of the acoustic stethoscope. With the arrival of some very capable digital stethoscopes that prognostication seems even more convincing today. But is it really?  The market leading digital stethoscope does have a lot to offer. But it’s not for everyone. In fact, a very convincing argument can be made that it’s not the right solution for the majority of healthcare professionals – including cardiologists.

A good quality acoustic scope from a reliable, proven manufacturer like ADC may still be your best choice for auscultation. If you're thinking of going digital, consider these four questions:

  1. Do you really need it?

The scope’s primary role in cardiology is to determine if additional, more advanced examination (think EKG, echo, or even more involved procedures) is needed.  While the amplification and cloud based diagnostic capabilities of the digital scope are impressive, a skilled professional with a well-made acoustic scope can generally make the same determination. It’s unlikely that a digital scope, no matter how sophisticated, will mitigate the need for additional testing if deemed necessary by the practitioner. 

  1. Is it a practical purchase?

The more complex the instrument, the greater the likelihood it will eventually need costly service, or outright replacement. Used daily, scopes often take a beating. No matter how well made a digital scope is, its durability can’t compare to an acoustic model. Plus, the leading digital scopes are covered by just a two-year warranty, so costly service may come sooner than you think (with repair times likely to be longer given the types of components involved).

Another unfortunate reality, if you’ve been practicing for any length of time, is that scopes can go “missing.” That’s always painful but lose a $400+ scope and you’ll be miserable for a long, long time.

  1. Will it stand the test of time?

Most digital products get upgraded on a regular cycle, all to get you to buy the next must-have version. The digital scope leader is on their third model in about eight years; do you plan to keep up with the newer models or are you OK with using legacy technology when the next version arrives?

  1. Is it a good value?

The leading digital scope is at least twice as expensive as our costliest cardiology scope. We make 4 models priced from about $100 to $200 all covered by a lifetime warranty, complimentary refurbishment, and free parts forever. Which means you buy it just once – and the rest is on us.

If you’re thinking about a digital stethoscope we encourage you to give our acoustic Adscope Cardiology line a look. You’re likely to find one that offers everything you truly need. Check out our complete line of Adscope Cardiology Stethoscopes or our side-by-side comparison, Which Cardiology Scope Is Right for Me