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Diagnosing ear infections using your iPhone? Not so far-fetched

As a parent, the iPhone has been a godsend - helping me with everything from taking cute photos and videos to keeping up with doctor’s appointments and playdates to providing much-needed entertainment on long car rides. Well, it looks like I can add "checking for ear infections" to that list. A simple attachment would transform my phone into an otoscope, as explained by an article on

The peripheral attaches to the top of an iPhone and provides a 10x magnification. Using CellScope’s web platform, users can upload captured images and pediatricians can remotely assess the severity of the infection. Doctors can then provide a diagnosis, prescribe antibiotics, or recommend the child be brought into the office for a more thorough examination. Additionally, the images enter into the patient’s electronic medical records, so any susceptibilities to infection can be tracked through image comparison throughout the childhood years.

Ear infections are the most common reason children are brought to the doctor. Having this technology available could reduce health-care costs attributed to those visits and give parents a more hands-on role in their child’s health. "It seems pretty obvious that this sort of thing is going to happen… 5 years from now, 10 years from now, people will be able to do diagnosis from home. Patients will have more control over taking data and being a participant in their healthcare delivery,” Erik Douglas, co-founder and CEO of Cellscope, tells Forbes.

The story mentions that pediatricians in the Bay Area and Atlanta are already testing the device and that clinical trials are underway to test its accuracy. Considering both of my girls recently had a bad case of the sniffles (ear infections often follow colds), I could definitely see myself giving this a try. And the idea that I could do a medical diagnosis on my phone? My inner Trekkie is doing cartwheels right about now.

Previously: Stanford medical residents launch iPhone apps to help physicians keep current on researchSchool of Medicine alumni association partners with Doximity to test first-of-its-kind smartphone appUsing an iPhone as an imaging device in developing countries and Mobile phone app helps manage diabetes
Photo by Steve Johnson

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