Telehealth company Tyto Care is continuing to expand its platform with the launch of a pulse oximeter to enable people to check their blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) levels and heart rate at home.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated growth in telehealth platforms and at-home medical services like the solutions offered by Tyto Care.
The pulse oximeter device lets doctors remotely monitor patients who are infected by COVID-19 or are at high risk for the virus as well as monitor them when they leave the hospital. Patients can connect the pulse oximeter remotely to the Tyto Care platform.
“We've noticed that pulse oximeters are really important for respiratory disease at home, especially COVID, so that's a key part that we want to add to our home kit and make sure it's available to everyone,” Ophir Lotan, Tyto Care’s vice president of product and customer success, told Fierce Healthcare.
Tyto Care has offered pulse oximeters before in its Tyto Clinic and Tyto Pro offerings, which providers use, but by offering it for consumers in the home, the company wanted to make the device available as part of the consumer’s workflow, Lotan said.
Tyto Care is offering the pulse oximeter to providers, payers and employers and plans to expand to retail in the future. Patients can use it on their own in an asynchronous fashion as well as in a synchronous format during a live telehealth session.
The full Tyto Care platform includes several modular components such as an otoscope for the ears, a stethoscope for heart and lungs and a tongue depressor for the throat. It also lets patients examine the skin, body temperature and abdomen.
Patients check their blood oxygen and heart rate by placing their finger in the pulse oximeter for 15 seconds. They can view their results on the Tyto Care device, and the readings get transmitted to their electronic health record (EHR). Doctors can view the data live during a telehealth visit on the Tyto Care clinician dashboard.
Checking blood oxygen levels is an important piece of data collection and a way to detect COVID-19 symptoms. COVID-19 patients use pulse oximeters heavily, Lotan noted.
Even after the pandemic, Tyto Care sees a use for remote monitoring devices like the pulse oximeter.
“The pandemic will eventually be behind us, yet telehealth will remain a key component in the future of healthcare, providing patients with the best possible remote care and clinicians with actionable insights into their patients’ health,” Dedi Gilad, CEO and co-founder of Tyto Care, said in a statement.
In October the company introduced a diagnostic artificial intelligence (AI) component to its platform. Machine learning (ML) algorithms alert medical professionals to wheezing, stridor and cackles in the lungs or redness and swollen tonsils in the throat.
“The richer that data becomes, the better we can provide AI and machine learning components for provider decision support for population health, and potentially in the future, even for consumer triage,” Lotan said. “The pulse oximeter data just joins that comprehensive and holistic data set that Tyto is already collecting.”
In 2019, consumer electronics giant Best Buy struck a retail partnership with Tyto Care, reiterating the retailer's interest in the healthcare space.
Other companies to recently launch new telehealth capabilities include Hims & Hers, a telehealth startup that went public in a $1.6 billion deal in a merger with Oaktree Acquisition Corp. In addition, K Health has secured new funding for its virtual pediatric telehealth service. The AI-powered K for Parents enables children to get virtual care for free along with an adult membership ($9 per month for unlimited care).
In addition to typical chronic conditions that doctors can monitor, behavioral health is also driving telehealth growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent study of Doctor on Demand data.