New cell phone ear scope could mean diagnosis from home

AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s not always easy to find time to get your children to the doctor, but a new device for your smart phone could save you the trip. The small piece of technology could wind up making a big difference for parents of children prone to ear infections.

“Everything checked out good,” said Starr Martinez following a routine checkup for her 9-month-old twins. “They’re healthy and growing.”

Dr. Bradley Berg at Scott and White Clinic in Round Rock used a new device, called a cell scope, when checking the twins’ ears.

“It’s a very new technology,” said Berg. “It hasn’t been out a long time. I don’t think a lot of providers know about it yet.”

The scope attaches to an iPhone, over the camera lens, and works just like the typical ones a doctor uses, except the app saves the images or video you take. The new device could allow parents to stay at home with their sick child and focus on keeping them well.

“You take a picture of your child’s ear at home and then you upload that video or photograph to your medical provider’s website,” said Berg, “And they can log on and look at it and say, ‘Your child has an ear infection,’ or, ‘No, they don’t.'”

That can save busy parents a trip to the doctor’s office.

“It’s easier if we can do this,” said Ivan Martinez.

The cell scope attachment costs $79 and the iPhone app is free to download.

As technology advances, more patients can take advantage of laws allowing the practice called telemedicine. Texas has specific rules, though, and you will still occasionally have to visit a doctor’s office. For example, you still have to follow up with a doctor in person at least once per year.

The American Telemedicine Association says to get prescriptions virtually, doctors must have met with a patient beforehand. Out-of-state physicians can apply for a full license or telemedicine permit to practice virtually in Texas. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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