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Analysis

Telehealth Device Puts Power of Medical Exam Into Consumer's Hands

By Mandy Roth  
   April 18, 2019

Tyto Care digital kit is available through Best Buy and participating health systems.

The physical divide between telehealth providers and consumers has now been compressed thanks to TytoHome, a handheld device that enables patients to conduct remote exams from their home and transmit the data through a smartphone.

Manufactured by Tyto Care, the digital kit is now available through BestBuy.com, as well as from participating health systems, including Ochsner Health System, based in New Orleans, and Sanford Health, headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Most kits purchased directly through Best Buy will connect consumers to physicians at LiveHealth Online, setting up a national caller base for the telehealth provider.

The TytoHome portable examination device features a touch screen that guides patients through the exam process and has attachments that capture digital heart and lung sounds; body temperature; and images of the skin, ears, and throat. The data can be used during live video encounters with physicians or stored on a mobile app and forwarded for review by a clinician at a later time. An online video demonstrates how the product can be used.

The platform also allows for simple integration with electronic health records, third party exam tools, and other telehealth platforms.

"Our patients want to do virtual care, and they just want to make sure that the providers can do everything that they need to do over video [as well as they can] in person," says Jennifer Humbert MSN, MHA, RN, director of telemedicine, development and solutions at Ochsner Health System. "This device really helps bridge that gap."

Ochsner Telehealth Patients Purchase Nearly 400 Kits in Six Weeks
 

Last November the health system launched Ochsner Anywhere Care, an urgent care telehealth program, which has signed up 10,000 individuals. The kit was made available to Ochsner employees six weeks ago. Ochsner kicked off a digital and radio advertising campaign April 1 to promote the kits to consumers. Humbert says 350 to 400 kits have been sold at $299 apiece.

The early sales trends are promising, says Humbert. "It was enlightening to us that people want to do this type of care in their home." Parents and families are the primary targets, she says.

The kits give patients another way to access care at the health system, she adds. Because the telehealth program uses American Well's platform, there are no geographic boundaries; Ochsner Anywhere Care serves patients in all 50 states.

Individuals are not required to purchase the kits to use Ochsner's telehealth service. The device is designed to further enhance the experience between the patient and the provider "to create the best connections," Humbert says.

Most Best Buy Device Purchases Will Direct Consumers to LiveHealth Online
 

While TytoHome also is available through Best Buy, patients cannot use it to connect with just any physician. Kits sold through the retailer connect consumers in most states to LiveHealth Online, which also uses the American Well platform. Residents of Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota who purchase the kit through the retailer will receive services through Sanford Health.

According to a news release issued by Tyto Care, each TytoHome telehealth visit made through a device purchased through Best Buy will cost no more than $59—and potentially less—depending on the type of visit and/or the user’s health insurance plan.

"We're excited to partner with Best Buy, LiveHealth Online, American Well, and regional health systems to extend our on-demand telehealth platform across the U.S., enhancing primary care delivery," said Dedi Gilad, CEO and co-founder of Tyto Care in the release. "Tyto Care is combining increased convenience and accessibility with the power of a trusted retailer, health care providers, insurers, and employers to deliver consumers the best that telehealth has to offer.”

As more non-traditional players enter the healthcare arena, it appears that Best Buy is making its own interesting moves. According to the news release, "The partnership is the latest example of Best Buy’s growing commitment to the health space and its dedication to improving the lives of its customers through technology. Last year, the company also acquired GreatCall, a leading provider of connected health and personal emergency response services to the aging population."

Mandy Roth is the innovations editor at HealthLeaders.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Tyto Care


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Digital device enables patients to conduct remote physical exams from home.

Kits sold through Best Buy will direct most consumers to physicians at LiveHealth Online.

Participating health systems include Ochsner Health System and Sanford Health.

Kit helps bridge the gap between video and in-person care


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