According to a recent study from medical students at Emory University, a smartphone-enabled otoscope can provide clear, transmittable images of the ear drum, which in the future could for ear infection diagnosis without a visit to the doctor's office.
The study, "Comparative Assessment of a Smartphone Otoscope for the Diagnosis and Management of Acute Otitis Media," looked at how a smartphone otoscope attachment and app effectively diagnosed ear infections in children. What the researchers found was out of 63 children with upper respiratory symptoms who sought care at a single, major urban emergency department (ED) between May and December 2012, forty-nine were diagnosed with AOM.
According to researchers, there was no difference in diagnostic quality or confidence ratings between devices by independent physicians who viewed the images captured by researchers. The app allows practitioners to view a child's ear tympanic membrane. All but five percent of the parents responded favorably to viewing the image and said they would feel comfortable operating the attachment and app on their own.
"The CellScope Oto allows parents to see what the doctor sees, which helps them to better understand the child's diagnosis and treatment," stated lead study author Kathryn Rappaport, M.D. "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.”