Passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined off the shores of Japan following a coronavirus outbreak on deck, are beginning to disembark and make their way home.
Among them are 12 Israelis, who will receive a state-of-the-art medical checkup – all without physically seeing a doctor.
Once the Israelis return home, they will be taken to the Sheba Medical Center, where they will undergo a series of tests to examine whether they caught the Covid-19 virus that has led to an estimated 2,000 deaths.
In order not to pass on the highly contagious virus, the incoming Israelis will be guided by doctors from afar as to how to perform the medical tests on themselves, using a handheld exam kit developed by Israeli tele-health startup TytoCare.
The home kit wasn’t developed with coronavirus in mind, but its application perfectly suits this kind of emergency.
“It’s a tele-health solution that allows a medical examination from home, and gives the pediatrician or the family doctor the same abilities they have in the clinic also in a virtual encounter,” explains Eyal Baum, director of strategic accounts at TytoCare.
“You start a video chat with your doctor, the doctor speaks with you, connects to the device, takes over it and performs all the necessary checks,” he says.
These include measuring a person’s temperature, listening to their lungs and checking their throat, ears and skin. This could prove particularly useful in the case of the coronavirus, since symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
“Tyto’s abilities are more precise than just taking temperature,” Baum explains.
“They wanted to use Tyto’s instruments to allow their doctors to carry out fever and lung tests and spare the need for the medical team and the doctors to come in contact with the patients,” he says.
“It saves the risk of someone from the medical team becoming exposed to corona, falling ill and spreading the disease.”
TytoCare isn’t currently working with the authorities in China, where many health workers have already fallen ill, but Baum doesn’t rule out cooperation.
“At the moment we don’t have any activity in China,” he says. “But yes, it could definitely be relevant.”