The U.S. National Library of Medicine says that ear infections are one of the most common illnesses in babies and young children. In fact, more than 3 out of 4 kids have had at least one ear infection by 3 years of age and around 30 million medical visits annually in the U.S. are due to possible or real pediatric ear infections. Now though, rushing a child with a possible ear infection to the pediatrician could become a thing of the past with a new device from CellScope. CellScope is a mobile-health startup based in San Francisco, and their first product, currently in pilots across the US, is a smartphone-enabled otoscope that allows for remote diagnosis of pediatric ear infections. This is good news for parents, because as most of us know, nothing is worse than taking a non-sick kid to the pediatrician only to have them catch a bug while there and end up really sick. CellScope has benefits for sick kids as well, because it allows your doctor to diagnose and treat ear infections remotely, thus avoiding having to bundle up a sick, cranky kid and transport them.

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Shown above - images of the ear taken with CellScope's ear infection device

How does CellScope work?

Parents simply attach the clip-on otoscope to their smartphone and then take images of their child’s eardrum. Then upload the images plus some symptoms onto a HIPAA compliant web platform. Your pediatrician can then check out the images and symptoms remotely, diagnose an ear infection (or other issue) and even call in a prescription for antibiotics, while you stay at home and care for your child. CellScope notes that this device may help parents miss less work and could potentially cut down on late night emergency room visits. The company also has a innovative clip-on dermascope in the works which will allow parents to capture and transmit high-magnification, diagnostic-quality images of a child’s skin from home so that a pediatrician can diagnose issues such as skin rashes and skin irritation. It doesn’t appear that CellScope’s ear infection diagnose tool is available yet to consumers, but you can sign on to receive updates at the CellScope website.

+ CellScope