Telehealth. It’s the hottest topic in the healthcare and technology sphere at this moment. Countless companies are attempting to jump on the bandwagon and it has almost become a race to see who can get their platform out to users first. Plenty of great contenders have entered the field and are attempting to a gain a sizable market share, but one of our favorites so far in telehealth has been Tyto Care.
Designing any application or device with children in mind can be a challenge. Not only are you dealing with items that must be scaled down from adult sizes, but you also must create a product that can be comfortably and easily used by parents and caregivers. Tyto Care has managed to tow that line with their launch of a comprehensive telehealth solution that combines an advanced, consumer-friendly digital stethoscope, otoscope, thermometer and examination camera with a secure data exchange, clinical repository and live telehealth visits. This allows a face-to-face visit in a doctor’s office to be closely replicated in the home environment, which is a missing link that many telehealth applications commonly face criticism over
Just last week, Tyto Care also released an announcement regarding their partnership with one of Junto Health’s own members, Allied Physicians Group. Tyto Care’s platform will now be made available to all patients of Allied Physicians, which is an incredible step in the integration of telehealth with traditional health systems. In the initial rollout to members, first access will be given to patients with chronic conditions or who face barriers of getting into the office. This is a demonstration of the true potential of telehealth to disrupt the healthcare market.
The CEO and Co-Founder of Tyto Care, Dedi Gilad, spent some time speaking with us about his reason for developing Tyto Care and the future of the company.
Junto Health (JH): What was the motivation behind developing Tyto Care?
Dedi Gilad (DG): As a parent to two children, my daughter suffered through chronic, painful ear infections at a young age. This resulted in countless clinic visits as well as middle-of-the-night and weekend trips to the emergency room, where she was subjected to long waits and exposed to germs. And with all that hassle, the diagnosis and treatment always ended up the same.
I felt there must be a better way to receive an accurate diagnosis from the comfort of home. I partnered with a colleague, Ofer Tzadik, and we created Tyto Care with the goal of replicating an in-person primary care visit anytime and anywhere.
“Tyto” is a genus of owls known for their smarts and excellent perceptive senses including hearing, vision and mobility – characteristics that inspired what is now the suite of TytoCare products and services.
JH: What are your next 3 milestones?
DG: Tyto Care received FDA clearance in November of 2016, a huge milestone that enabled us to officially launch into the market. We are currently rolling out TytoPro™, our solution for professionals to use with patients, through collaboration with health systems, physician groups, telehealth partners, and strategic partners.
Our next milestone is to launch TytoClinic™, our complete, compact telehealth clinic that includes everything needed for a fully functional remote point-of-care clinic. We are demoing TytoClinic for the first time at the ATA conference this month and plan to start rolling it out to customers this spring.
TytoHome™ for consumers is our next big release. We are offering it first through our partners and then directly to consumers. Health systems are already using TytoHome with their patients who require at-home monitoring or want the added convenience of a remote exam and telehealth visit. Our goal is to make TytoHome available more broadly to mass consumers at the end of this year.
Our third key milestone will be to broaden our reach beyond the US market to health systems and consumers in countries that could greatly benefit from 24/7 access to telehealth visits and remote medical exams with a physician. We plan to expand to other regions in 2018.
JH: What is the ideal demographic of a TytoCare user?
DG: The initial demographic for TytoCare was families and parents seeking the convenience and peace of mind of a remote visit, exam, and diagnosis, anytime and anywhere. However, we have found that the ideal demographic of a TytoCare user is much broader than that. Ideal users also include chronic patients, elderly populations and patients who have complex medical issues and need to be monitored closely from home. If a physician can better monitor these patients remotely, they can improve the level and continuity of care, reduce unnecessary and costly visits to the ER, and prevent avoidable admissions and re-admissions to the hospital.
We are also seeing a need for TytoCare among post-surgical or other discharged patients who require frequent monitoring but may have difficulty traveling for check-ups. And of course, TytoCare is also ideal for patients in rural locations who must travel long distances to access quality medical care.
On the professional side, health systems are ideal partners as they have already embraced telehealth but want to add remote examinations to their offerings. They are constantly looking for ways to extend the reach of their specialists and reduce the high cost of healthcare. TytoCare can be used by medical professionals in remote point of care locations like urgent care clinics, traveling nurses, school nurses, and in skilled nursing and long term care facilities to obtain a medical exam for a patient, an expert consult or a second opinion.
JH: Have you thought about how Tyto Care can be used potentially in poorly funded, low resource settings?
DG: Telehealth has great potential for expanding the reach of medical care to those who need it at a lower cost than traditional, in-office medical exams. The challenge until now has been figuring out how to replicate a medical exam and in-office visit from home. With our TytoPro and TytoClinic offerings, health organizations can now create an advanced yet cost effective “point-of-care” offering to reach the mass population in a community setting like remote clinics, schools, home care, etc. This offering can be utilized in a hub & spoke model where a less trained nurse or technician conducts an exam on site and connects to a physician or specialist to diagnose the patient. Doctors can remotely listen to a patient’s heart, lungs, and abdomen, see inside the ear canal and throat, and take a patient’s temperature. Blood pressure, oxygen levels in the blood and other vitals can be measured, allowing for complete remote patient examinations and monitoring. These remote exams and telehealth visits can have a significant impact on the lives of people who previously did not have access to quality medical care.
TytoCare’s built-in guidance technology enables anyone to perform exams and send the resulting data to a physician for a diagnosis. Specialists can also be consulted when needed for expert and second opinion. These features can significantly improve the level of care available to lower-resource and underserved areas, without requiring travel or on-site expertise.
JH: What does success look like for the company?
DG: Our mission is to put health in the hands of consumers by allowing them to have on-demand access to primary care – specifically allowing them to have a clinical quality doctor visit from the comfort of home.
We look forward to seeing TytoCare used by individuals and families at home to connect with a clinician for a medical exam and consult whenever needed. We hope to help transform primary care by improving access to care, increasing quality of care, and reducing costs while also providing convenience and peace of mind for patients at home.