Sanford begins offering in-home high-tech visits

June 3, 2019

With a home kit and an app, Sanford Health is starting to connect patients and providers with a way to conduct health exams from home.

It’s thanks to a relationship with Tyto Care, which was founded in Israel and offers what Sanford calls the first all-in-one modular device and telehealth platform for on-demand, remote medical exams.

The partnership enables Sanford patients to remotely perform live, guided physical examinations with a Sanford doctor using the TytoHome exam kit and app, and receive a diagnosis and prescription if needed.

The TytoHome kit, which costs $299, includes a camera, basal thermometer, otoscope and stethoscope adapters and a tongue depressor.

Tyto Care’s handheld modular examination device checks the heart, lungs, skin, ears, throat and abdomen, and measures body temperature to enable remote diagnosis of acute care situations.

A corresponding app is downloaded to a tablet or smartphone, and a patient typically is connected to a Sanford provider – a physician or nurse practitioner – in fewer than 20 minutes, according to Dr. Josh Crabtree, senior vice president of clinic operations.

“There might be some patients in our system who remember house calls back in the day, and this is really a way that we’re reinventing or almost bringing back the house call,” he said.

Conditions that could be diagnosed through TytoHome include ear infections, sinus infections, cold and flu, aches and pains, rashes and pink eye, he said.

“And we can work through our EMR (electronic medical record) to get the right prescription or treatment plan to the patient. Or sometimes we really think it’s more than we should handle with the virtual visit and you should see a doctor.”

Sanford has been piloting the service with its own staff as well as employees of Premier Bankcard and Best Buy in Minneapolis.

“We’ve gotten significant positive response,” Crabtree said.

Sanford staffs the home virtual visits with eight to 10 providers.

“Sometimes they’re based in their acute care clinic, and we’re available 24/7, so sometimes we’re doing that in their own (providers’) homes,” he said.

The kits are for sale at Best Buy stores within the Sanford footprint, including Sioux Falls, as well as through Sanford’s website and in its home medical equipment sales locations. A health savings account can be used to pay for them.

Each virtual visit is $59 and available to anyone. Sanford Health Plan is working toward covering them for its members, Crabtree said.

Sanford is the exclusive TytoHome provider in the region, spanning South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.

“We’re always looking to deliver on our experience for patients and deliver on new technology and ways we can maybe push the boundaries of how we can provide care,” Crabtree said.

“I think, especially in our pediatric population, this could be a real benefit. And there are benefits for our older population as well.”

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Sanford begins offering in-home high-tech visits

With a home kit and an app, Sanford Health is starting to connect patients and providers with a way to conduct health exams from home.

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