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Easing care for pediatric ear infections


Children’s TYLENOL®

Sponsored content from Children’s TYLENOL®

Pediatric ear infections are a leading cause for doctor visits, and they can disrupt a family’s everyday routine. SmartBrief spoke with Eleanor Small Ph.D., a research and development manager for product development with Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health Self-Care Pain Franchise, to learn more about SmartCheck from Children’s TYLENOL®, a digital ear scope that helps make ear infection care more manageable for clinicians, caretakers and children alike.

Ear infections are one of the most common reasons caretakers bring children to the doctor, and according to JAMA Pediatrics, approximately half of all children will experience one or more ear infections by the time they’re 2 years old. How can a telehealth tool such as a digital ear scope make it faster and easier for caretakers to deal with ear infections and get treatment for their children?


SmartCheck™ from Children’s TYLENOL® can help caretakers record a video of their child’s ear canal and eardrum and share it with their healthcare professional or a telemedicine service, enabling 24/7 access to expert ear care. Sending visuals this way can allow clinicians to examine a child’s ears through a recording done at home. As an aunt of a 2-year-old nephew and based on the feedback from our caregiver product-use studies, I know this can be a priceless benefit for caretakers allowing parents to feel confident in taking the appropriate next steps in receiving treatment for their child.

How does the tool help doctors streamline and optimize care for their patients? 

SmartCheck™ can help clinicians in remote triage and care decisions because it enables caregivers to provide high-quality video recordings or images of their child’s eardrum to the healthcare professional at any time from the comfort of home. It empowers caretakers to take an active role in their family’s health by helping to facilitate conversations between them and their child’s healthcare professional when potential ear infection symptoms appear. One aspect that I also think is beneficial for clinicians is the potential for SmartCheck™ to help increase follow-up compliance because recordings can be captured from home, instead of caretakers having to take additional days off of work and trip to an office. In addition, SmartCheckkeeps a recording history, enabling caretakers to review past recordings with their healthcare professionals to compare and track over time. This can help clinicians educate their patients’ caregivers on what to look out for, especially for patients with chronic ear infections.

How does the device work?

It works similar to the doctor’s otoscope, the device used to look inside the ears. Smartcheck™ uses magnifying lenses, a single AAA battery, and disposable specula tips. Caretakers will first download the SmartCheck™ app on their smartphone and complete the set-up wizard, which takes them through safety and how-to videos, guiding caregivers through every step from attaching the digital ear scope to taking their first practice recording. Caretakers attach the specula tip and slide the scope over their phone camera. The app walks through a safety checklist, including guided audio instructions to take a recording of their child’s eardrum. The patented Eardrum Finder and navigation arrow can help caregivers confidently navigate and capture a recording. The caregivers are reminded to review recordings and share the video or images with their healthcare practice or telemedicine provider. Users should always read and follow the product’s instructions for use for more information. SmartCheck™ reminds caregivers to practice using the device on another adult and then their child when they’re healthy and calm. Healthcare professionals can help encourage users to record, review and retry. This way, caretakers and their child will be familiar and comfortable using the device when symptoms do arise.

Providing convenience and options, as well as meeting patients where they are, have become paramount in healthcare. How do digital tools such as an ear scope promote that effort?

The goal of SmartCheck™ is to facilitate communication between caregivers and their child’s clinician. SmartCheck™ can give caretakers a sense of comfort and convenience by not having to deal with the challenges of taking a child to the doctor’s office – travel time, coordinating schedules, juggling multiple little ones, and sitting in busy waiting rooms. Children may be less anxious during the ear exam because it’s being conducted by someone they know and trust in an environment that is comfortable for them. My sister just had her first child, and building confidence in yourself and a strong connection with your child’s healthcare practice is important. I am excited that there’s now an option for my sister, and other hardworking caregivers like her, that can help balance her work schedule while still prioritizing my nephew’s health when the dreaded ear infection symptoms start.

Why might healthcare professionals recommend SmartCheck to their patients and their caretakers? 

SmartCheck™ can offer clinicians a trusted alternative to in-person visits for suspected ear infections because of the quality of the recordings and the many ways that are available for caregivers to share recordings as videos or images. From being able to provide meaningful visuals to tracking ear health over time, there are many benefits to having your patients add SmartCheck™ to their family’s wellness toolkit. Most importantly, it can help enhance conversations between clinicians and caregivers, ensuring education and healthcare professionals’ experience are incorporated into home healthcare decision-making.

Eleanor Small, Ph.D., is a research and development manager for product development with Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health Self-Care Pain Franchise, which focuses on meeting consumer needs for over-the-counter pain relief with iconic brands such as TYLENOL®. Small is the leader behind product design and development, scale-up, launch, and life-cycle management of new and current products.

Learn more about SmartCheck™ from Children’s TYLENOL®.