Tyto Care adds diagnostic AI component to at-home telehealth kit

At-home medical kit maker Tyto Care has rolled out artificial-intelligence-powered features to enable its telehealth platform to perform diagnostic capabilities.

The Tyto Care product consists of an app and a mobile device with modular attachments for various types of exams, including an otoscope for the ears, stethoscope for heart and lungs and a tongue depressor for the throat.

Doctors guide patients through exams in the TytoApp. The solution also lets clinicians and patients share exam data and schedule visits.

“The diagnostic support solution builds upon this by automatically detecting certain abnormalities in lung and throat exams, and alerting users and clinicians to the abnormality’s presence,” Dedi Gilad, CEO and co-founder of Tyto Care, told Fierce Healthcare. “This provides the clinician with further information to make a better-informed diagnosis remotely and enables the patient to understand the potential urgency of their concern.”

The new AI features, announced Tuesday during the HLTH 2020 virtual conference, will enable healthcare professionals to perform remote triage of primary and chronic health issues as well as diagnose primary and chronic conditions.

Machine learning algorithms will let the diagnostic support solution detect abnormalities in the lungs such as wheezing, stridor and crackles as well as throat symptoms like redness and swollen tonsils, according to the company.

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“The solution will improve the quality of remote triage for common primary and chronic health issues,” Gilad said. “If an exam indicates any abnormalities, the patient will be alerted and can better determine how urgently they should consult a healthcare provider. The detection will also enable clinicians to better assess urgency and make more informed diagnoses.”

Tyto Care has requested approval of the diagnostic platform from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The company expects the FDA to approve the AI diagnostic tool by the middle of 2021. The federal agency approved the existing Tyto Care device in 2017. Co-founders Gilad and Ofer Tzadik consulted with pulmonologists and general practitioners while developing the new decision support features.

Although AI was already part of the company’s solution, it will now use data from clinical literature as well as more than 450,000 exams in the last year to develop the ML algorithms for decision support, the company said. Tyto Care uses past exams to test the algorithms, and the data help doctors detect abnormalities in lung and throat exams.

With more clinicians using telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic as patients avoid doctors' offices, the ML algorithms will provide critical insights to improve remote care, according to Tyto Care.

With demand for virtual care soaring, Tyto Care has raised $50 million in a funding round led by Insight Partners, Olive Tree Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures LLC.

The company also recently expanded its home health care device partnership with telehealth giant Amwell.

The two companies first partnered on remote exams in 2016. Now, Tyto Care and Amwell are pairing the TytoHome handheld examination device with Amwell’s telehealth platform with the goal of improving provider examinations and diagnoses of patients during virtual visits conducted on Amwell's platform, the companies said.

The need for a positive or negative COVID-19 diagnosis provided an urgency to create the diagnosis support features, according to Gilad.

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“COVID-19 accelerated the awareness and use of telehealth, and a natural next step was the development of the diagnostic support solution for throat and lung exams due to the nature of the virus,” Gilad said.

Gilad and Tzadik co-founded Tyto Care in Israel in 2012, and the company now also operates headquarters in New York City. It works with more than 100 major healthcare systems, health plans and partners throughout Asia, Europe, Israel and the U.S. Tyto Care performed more than 200,000 telehealth visits last year.

Tyto Care has telehealth agreements with retailers such as Best Buy, which sells the TytoHome Remote Exam Kit for $299. In 2019, TytoHome made Time’s list of the 100 best innovations.

In future iterations of the platform, Tyto Care plans to offer automatic self-diagnosis tools, including remote monitoring and lab capabilities, Gilad said.