For several years now I have been following the exploits of the endoscope-i team. A couple of consultants in ENT with some programming help took the idea that an iPhone has a nice camera and comes in a small package and have developed a tool that allows a user to better examine an ear.
Traditionally GPs examine ears with an otoscope that have disposable tips. These give an okay view into the ear canal but only one person can see at a time and it’s not easy to teach with or take images and ask for help. I actually have a Welch Allyn digital otoscope which isn’t bad – others in the room including the patient can watch on the screen but its quite unnatural to use despite looking like the usual device and the resolution isn’t very good and they haven’t sorted out the workflow of using it.
Well, the endoscope-i uses a top quality rigid endoscope that consultants use in clinic. This allows a much better examination of the ear though feels a little scary to use at first and you worry you could perforate the drum. Using a custom adapter you connect your iPhone to it and the camera shows you what you can see down the endoscope. Because you are looking where you are placing it’s much more natural than the Welch Allyn method. the software they have written does all sorts of clever things to help you and you can take pictures or video.
Here is a video of my ear!
They have also developed a secure method of giving you advice about what you are seeing. While the idea might be to use the endoscope routinely getting a better view – they are quite expensive and one of their ideas is that each practice has one and one person trained to use it. If a GP or other finds an ear problem they want advice on – the patient is seen again and video examined and the video is sent for an opinion. Of course, this might work wonders in remote locations but if the price was right it might save referrals and a lot of travelling and time.
Their website is very informative and Mr Ajith George is a great speaker.