Smart thermometer and connected health company Kinsa has launched a new wireless version of its device, called Kinsa QuickCare, after securing FDA clearance last month.
“Partly, this is our response to the fact that the headphone jack is gone,” Kinsa CEO Inder Singh told MobiHealthNews. “The first version of our stick was corded and connected to the headphone jack, so our answer to that is a wireless, Bluetooth Low Energy product.”
The QuickCare thermometer can read temperature in eight seconds — down from 10 seconds for the old model. It preserves most of the software features in the original Smart Stick, including Kinsa’s partnership with Sesame Street and the bubble game that was introduced with the original device to distract children while the thermometer does its work.
QuickCare also has a screen that displays the temperature, allowing it to be used even without a smartphone. But the app is still where much of the value of the device lies; along with showing the temperature reading, it displays what Singh calls “Moment of Need” opportunities.
“Our product doesn’t just answer the question ‘What’s my temperature?’” he said. “It really answers a broader set of questions. How do I get better? Is what I have severe?”
In addition to enhanced symptom checking and fever information, the app now includes medication reminder functionality as well.
As well as selling the device online and in stores via Amazon, Best Buy, CVS, and Buy Baby Buy, the company is giving free versions of the product away to about 400 schools with the support of Lysol and Children’s Tylenol.
Kinsa’s use of the headphone jack, rather than wireless, was an intentional choice when the device first launched in 2013. It allowed the company to build an accurate digital thermometer very cheaply in order to get a lot of units into the world — which would allow the data from the products to serve as a realtime health map.
When Apple killed the headphone jack in September 2016, Kinsa had to ditch that plan, but luckily a lot else has changed in the meantime. Now Kinsa is able to offer the connected version for $19.99 — just 5 dollars more than the Smart Stick.
“Before we were just trying to get the critical mass to get the number of sensors out there so we could achieve our mission,” he told MobiHealthNews. “Now that we’re achieving our mission, in an ironic twist of fate, we can actually decrease the price of the product a little bit and not be concerned about the margins, because we’ve got this data for sale.”
Singh spoke with MobiHealthNews about the data side of Kinsa’s business last month. This year, the company has been able to track the flu with comparable accuracy to the CDC. That data was just published yesterday in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.