Otitis Media is the #1 reason for antibiotics in children and the #1 reason for surgery in children. Current diagnostic methods are decades old, highly subjective, and extremely ineffective; clinical studies consistently show diagnostic error rates averaging 50%. As a result, patients often receive the wrong treatment and are referred to physician specialists more often than needed. As every parent can attest, recurrent middle ear infections are absolutely ubiquitous and have a huge negative impact on children and their families. Very nearly every child in America (93%) will suffer at least one instance of a middle ear infection severe enough to see a doctor, and the vast majority of those children will suffer repeat occurrences, up to a dozen ear infections or more in childhood.
Overdiagnosis of Otitis Media is rampant; the CDC estimates that antibiotics are prescribed in approximately 85% of cases, yet should be prescribed in 25% of cases, or less. Overprescription of antibiotics not only exacerbates the societal problem of development of antibiotic-resistant superbugs and significant individual side effects for the child such as diarrhea and stomach pain, but we are now coming to understand that giving an antibiotic too early or too often is actually making matters worse for the child. In these cases, the child’s natural immune system response to the ear infection is suppressed, such that the child does not develop the antibodies needed to fight the infection, which then predisposes the child to the next infection, and the next, and the next.
In 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics 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. The problem is that, with current tools, the diagnoses are rarely unequivocal, especially in the difficult differentiation between viral and bacterial infections. Thus, the physicians were given very clear guidelines, but no good tools with which to comply.
The OtoNexus ultrasound device 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 summary, 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, while having a very positive effect on children and their families.
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.