Even in pre-Covid days, I always hated sitting in a doctor’s waiting room just thinking about the “bonus” rotovirus we were probably contracting on top of the ear infection we were there to treat. That’s a big reason I am so excited about the TytoCare Medical Exam Kit.
This incredible new technology is a small handheld device that provides the the tools for a more accurate medical exam, all done from the comfort of home — or your hotel room, or campsite, or Grandma’s house 500 miles away.
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What I really like about the TytoCare kit and their free TytoApp is that it allows you to provide real useable data and information to a licensed medical clinician, and not just a description of symptoms.
Because, let’s face it, our child’s description of their ear feeling “ouchy” can be less-than-helpful to a doctor on the other side of a computer screen. And, try as I may, I cannot hear how my kids’ lungs sound by pressing my ear up to their chest.
You can listen to a child’s (or parent’s or partner’s) heart or lungs; use the camera to better show a funky rash or potential pinkeye to a medical professional; add a reusable otoscope adapter to the device’s camera and film the inside of their ears to look for infection; or use the tongue depressor adapter to see down their throat just like if they were sitting on that crinkly exam table paper.
Then, you can upload data for a clinician to review, either before your appointment or in real time. Consult with a clinician via the free TytoApp, and they’ll be able to better advise whether the symptoms can be treated with a prescription that they’ll phone in, or maybe just some rest and chicken soup is all that’s needed.
For parents, I think it’s just genius. The idea that my sick and miserable child doesn’t even need to leave their comfy bed to get a reasonable diagnosis is incredible — especially these days.
And as a mom of multiple kids, I really appreciate that you can get help for your own bad head cold without having to drag a couple of rambunctious toddlers out the door with you.
I’d say the one bummer is that my kids’ beloved pediatrician and my own trusted GP are not currently in the TytoCare network. Still, as with pretty much all telemedicine providers, I can use the secure portal on the app to confidentially send my doctors the results of an exam and follow up with them later.
However there are a lot of on-demand clinicians in the TytoCare network, which is fantastic when it’s 11PM on New Year’s Eve or early Sunday morning. Many insurance providers will even cover exams with your regular co-pay.
If you do have to pay out-of-pocket, your expenses are approximately $59 a visit — that’s barely over my normal insurance co-pay! You may even be able to use your HSA/FSA account to pay for your visits and the TytoCare Medical device itself.
I definitely advise you to check out TytoCare’s helpful video tutorials so you can practice with the device before you really need to use it. If you’re using it for kids, I’d use it to make a fun game out of it with young kids so that they were familiar with the small otoscope or tongue depressor before an actual visit.
And while TytoCare doesn’t do it all — there’s no urine or strep tests available yet — some of their partner doctors are using it successfully with diabetes and high-blood pressure patients. So it is worth asking your doctor if that is available to you. And, as much as we would all love if it came with Covid tests, it does not. However their clinicians can use your exam to listen for chest congestion and other symptoms to see if an in-person follow up is warranted.
The free TytoApp is compatible with most newer iOS and Android devices while the TytoCare Medical Device Kit is currently on sale at BestBuy for $224.99. Not cheap, but being able to avoid a pediatrician office this winter? During Covid? Especially with young kids? Now, that is priceless.
This is the future I’ve been waiting for; I’m just salty that this wasn’t around when my kids were little.
Thank you to TytoCare for sending us a device to test out (and to confirm that my blocked ear was not infected), though we were not compensated for this review.