Connected medical devices designed for remote telehealth may be just as effective as conventional instruments during some examinations, a recent study has determined.
In a study of 137 children aged 2 to 18 who were seeking care from the emergency department of a tertiary care facility, doctors at Schneider Children’s Medical Center and Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv evaluated the use of digital health company TytoCare’s handheld device and telehealth tools in comparison to physicians using conventional examination tools like stethoscopes or otoscopes.
Israel-based TytoCare, which was founded in 2012, recently received FDA clearance for its digital stethoscope, and offers several FDA Class 1 devices: a connected otoscope for ear examinations, a high-resolution camera, and a thermometer that is placed on the forehead for a reading. The devices pair with smartphones to capture, store and share data via a cloud-based telehealth platform with video conferencing.
In the study, one doctor used conventional tools to perform the examinations of patients’ ears, heart, lungs, throat, skin and temperature, and a second physician looked at data captured by the TytoCare system remotely. Both results were compared and analyzed using standard statistical tests for agreement, and TytoCare’s user experience was also evaluated on a scale of one to five. TytoCare performed similarly to the conventional tools and was found to have no adverse effects, the researchers say.
“The results are clear – examination findings achieved with TytoCare are on par with those reached by conventional examination tools,” Dr. Yehezkel Waisman, Director of Emergency Medicine at Scheinder and one of the study’s leaders, said in a statement. “Beyond that, the quality of the readings as well as the overall user experience received positive ratings from physicians, a great testament to the solution’s promise to provide accurate and confident diagnoses via telehealth technology.”
TytoCare considers itself more of a tech company than anything else and does not plan to offer clinical services on its own. They offer two telehealth platforms: TytoHome for consumers, which people can use to connect to clinicians for remote visits, and TytoPro, which allows clinicians to capture and share remote examination data, consult with specialists, or get a second opinion. In November, they teamed up with telemedicine provider American Well to combine video telehealth visits with remote examinations. With the partnership, TytoCare’s examination platform was integrated into American Well’s telehealth platform, and TytoCare’s customers have access to the network of healthcare providers who use American Well’s platform.
“By providing reliable, remote examination data, TytoCare delivers the missing link in telehealth, expanding the ability of physicians to reach confident diagnoses miles away from their patients,” TytoCare CEO and counder Dedi Gilad said in a statement.