Seattle's Child

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Ear infections

Jane Zhang demonstrates the Remmie on her son, whose frequent ear infections inspired her invention.

Ear infections: A new tool to help parents cope

Seattle scientist's invention tracks symptoms, sends data to doctor.

A local scientist/mom has created a device she believes will save families time, money and frustration when dealing with the ear infections common in young kids.

Jane Zhang, a biomedical engineer and University of Washington professor, is launching Remmie, an ear-nose-throat monitor and smartphone app. The idea is that parents or caregivers can track their child’s ear infection symptoms and transmit them to a health-care provider during a virtual visit.

The innovation was inspired by Zhang’s 2-year-old son’s frequent ear infections and the accompanying doctor visits and multiple rounds of antibiotics.

“When kids are sick, we want to understand what’s wrong immediately, but have very limited symptom information to support decision-making,” Zhang explained. “This can result in either frequent or unnecessary doctor’s appointments or waiting until a child’s symptoms dramatically worsen.”

The Remmie looks a bit like the electronic thermometers common in our homes. It can make images of the eardrum and, according to information from the company, can also help track symptoms related to the common cold, flu, sinusitis, some allergies, sore throats and strep, pink eye, hand-foot-mouth disease and some toothache.

Parents can connect to a telemedicine service linked to Remmie or to their own provider via Zoom.

Remmie is registered as a medical device with the federal Food and Drug Administration and is sold online at Remmie Health for $149. Note: It is not to be used on children under 2.

 

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About the Author

Julie Hanson

Julie Hanson is the website editor for Seattle's Child. She is a longtime journalist, South King County resident and mom to a 12-year-old girl.