Could a parent's smartphone one day be used to diagnose a child's ear infection? That's the goal of a new technology unveiled at a meeting this week of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Orlando.
The new, smartphone-enabled " CellScope Oto" device provides clear video images of the ear drum that could be sent to a doctor for an e-diagnosis that wouldn't require an office exam.
Researchers who developed the device said early studies show it can accurately diagnose acute otitis media — ear infections — in children. The studies involved 63 children with upper respiratory symptoms who sought care at an emergency department in 2012. Each child was examined with a conventional otoscope as well as with the CellScope Oto, which attaches to a smartphone providing video of the inner ear through an app.
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Of the 49 children diagnosed with an ear infection, researchers found both devices were equally effective in helping doctors make those diagnoses.
"The CellScope Oto allows parents to see what the doctor sees, which helps them to better understand the child's diagnosis and treatment," said researcher Kathryn Rappaport, M.D. In addition, the video images provide a baseline and ongoing documentation of the child's ear infections.
"Now you can have actual video documentation of findings that can be followed over a period of time which can help in diagnosis and treatment decisions," she said.
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