ThinkLabs founder on healthcare innovations: ‘Convenience always wins’

As the COVID-19 crisis began sweeping through the country this spring, hospitals sought a way for clinicians to treat infectious patients while maintaining distance from them if possible.

In that way, ThinkLabs founder Clive Smith told Healthcare IT News, smart devices that measured vital signs remotely, including from outside the exam room, became “essentially personal protective equipment.”

Particularly when hospitals were overwhelmed with patient numbers, said Smith, “doctors needed to be a safer distance from patients.” 

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Smith pointed to the high number of healthcare workers who have been infected, sometimes fatally, with coronavirus. Because of that, he said, “there was an incredible urgency” around getting useful devices into the hands of clinicians.

ThinkLabs, which produces a digital stethoscope, is among the companies whose monitoring devices saw a new use case during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Smith, the company moved quickly to pivot around providers’ emerging needs, such as the ability to use the stethoscope, even while they were wearing a full protective hood or to listen to a patient’s vitals on loudspeakers from outside the room.

But even with COVID-19-fueled innovation, he said, medical devices