• The technology described in this briefing is the TYM smartphone otoscope. It is used for the imaging and videoing of the external ear canal and eardrum.

  • 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‑UK 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.