Parents can now use their iPhones to diagnose their children’s earaches thanks to an iPhone app. All you need is the app plus an otoscope, an instrument that slides right onto the phone and connects with the phone’s camera and has a small magnifying glass.
To diagnose an earache, a parent needs to hold the iPhone otoscope to the ear and use it to record a video, which can then be sent to a doctor. Then, in theory a doctor can diagnose from the images and videos sent to them, whether the child has an ear infection or not and if they need to come in to the surgery or not. This will be particularly useful in America where healthcare isn’t free and could save a lot of people both time and money as an ear infection is one of the most common reasons for a visit to the pediatrician, according to ABC local news.
Medical student, Kathryn Rappaport told reporter Margot Kim from ABC, “We are looking to see if the images we can get from this device are of diagnostic quality”. In a clinical trial, researchers found that the photos taken with an iPhone were at least as good as photos taken with the standard medical instrument, according to that report.
In the same article by ABC, Pediatrician, Dr. Andi Shane also claimed that the new technology is a lot more advanced and could hopefully even reduce the use of antibiotics where necessary, which would help reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance.
A company called CellScope is currently developing iPhone otoscopes and is also developing a similar device for diagnosing skin conditions.