Otitis Media is the #1 Indication for Antibiotics and the #1 Reason for Surgery in Children
Nearly every child in America (93%) will suffer at least one middle ear infection (otitis media) severe enough to see a doctor, and most will suffer repeat occurrences, up to a dozen or more in childhood. The painful episodes are difficult for children, parents, and caregivers. Yet current diagnostic methods are inaccurate and ineffective. Clinical studies show diagnostic error rates averaging 50 percent, particularly in the key differentiation of whether or not to prescribe an antibiotic. As a result, patients are often given the wrong treatment and are referred to specialists more often than necessary.
Overdiagnosis is Rampant — and Dangerous
- The CDC estimates that antibiotics, prescribed in 85% of cases, should be prescribed in just 25% cases, or less.
- Unnecessary antibiotics are encouraging development of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs."
- Unnecessary antibiotics increase the likelihood that children will experience negative side effects, including diarrhea and stomach pain, and the development of personal resistance to antibiotics.
- Giving antibiotics too early or too often has been found to suppress the ability of the child's natural immune system to combat the infection, predisposing the child to subsequent episodes of Otitis Media.
Under diagnosis is Equally Dangerous
- Under diagnosis can lead to surgery and to permanent hearing loss
- Many cases of otitis media are asymptomatic; they can exist undetected for months or years, resulting in significant damage to the middle ear
- Antibiotics are often prescribed to avoid these severe consequences because with today's technology "we just can't be sure"
New Guidelines Seek to Reduce Antibiotic Use
The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued strong new guidelines for the diagnosis, treatment and management of Acute Otitis Media. These guidelines focus on reducing the use of antibiotics and increasing scrutiny on accuracy in diagnoses, stating, among other things, that antibiotics should only be prescribed when the diagnosis is unequivocal. Unfortunately, with current tools and techniques, the diagnoses are rarely unequivocal. The guidelines are well intentioned, but current diagnostic tools don't help physicians tell the difference between viral and bacterial infections.
Further, in 2015, the White House set a goal to cut the number of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions in half by 2020 as part of a plan to combat drug-resistant bacteria known as “superbugs.” In light of this mandate, the OtoNexus device is especially relevant.
OtoNexus Will Help Improve Outcomes and Reduce Health Care Costs
The OtoNexus ultrasound device, invented by OtoNexus founders George A. Gates, M.D. (Emeritus Professor, University of Washington and former director of the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center at the UW) and Mark A. Moehering, PhD, will allow practitioners to increase the quality of care they provide to patients and improve outcomes by:
- Greatly improving diagnostic accuracy and certainty
- Reducing unnecessary prescriptions of antibiotics
- Reducing antibiotic side effects and cost of their treatment, as well as societal effects such as the development of drug-resistant bacteria
- Speeding assessment time (while improving accuracy)
- Reducing unneeded specialist referrals and increasing quality of needed referrals
- Reducing repeat infections
- Reducing surgeries through earlier and better diagnoses
In addition to improving patient outcomes through improved diagnostic accuracy, the OtoNexus device will have an enormous impact on reducing health care costs for this very common and highly disruptive medical problem.
Articles, White Papers and Videos... Learn more the diagnosis and management of Otitis media; the international movement to reduce resistant strains of bacteria due to the overuse of antibiotics; the new American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines on the management of Otitis media; and more... (Read more)
* Please note that this device is not yet cleared by the FDA or licensed by Health Canada. These steps will be completed prior to offering the device for purchase.