Used for the imaging and videoing of the external ear canal and eardrum

Medtech innovation briefing

NICE has developed a medtech innovation briefing (MIB) on the TYM smartphone otoscope for imaging and videoing the external ear canal and eardrum. The MIB is designed to support NHS and social care commissioners and staff who are considering using new medical devices and other medical or diagnostic technologies.


  • The¬†innovative aspects¬†are that it allows the user to capture images and videos of the external ear canal and eardrum. These can then be shared between healthcare professionals and stored in the patient’s record.
  • The intended¬†place in therapy¬†would be as a replacement for standard otoscopes in adults and children who need an ear examination. It would most likely be used in primary care.
  • The¬†main points from the evidence¬†summarised in this briefing are from 1¬†validation study in Nepal including a total of 56¬†patients in an outpatient screening setting. This study found the TYM¬†smartphone otoscope to be as effective as standard otoscopes in helping decide whether to refer the patient to an ear, nose and throat specialist.
  • Key uncertainties¬†around the evidence are that it is based on 1¬†small non‚ÄëUK study including a population with high prevalence of ear disease. There may also be issues around data sharing and IT infrastructure that would need to be considered.
  • The¬†cost¬†of the TYM¬†smartphone otoscope is ¬£107.50 per unit (excluding VAT), with an additional ¬£0.06 in consumables per examination. The user can provide their own compatible Apple iOS smartphone or purchase a refurbished one for ¬£141.70. The¬†resource impact¬†could be an increased cost to the NHS but this might be offset if the device provides quicker diagnoses and fewer referrals from primary to secondary care.

For more on the MIB for TYM smartphone otoscope for imaging and videoing the external ear canal and eardrum is available on the NICE website.

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