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MobileOptx uses medical device innovation to bring endoscope and iPhone together

A medical device entrepreneur with several years experience working with medical device startups has collaborated with a couple of physicians to develop a way to attach the  smartphones to endoscopes to give physicians more mobility when they use these medical devices. In a phone interview with MedCity News, MobileOptx CEO Jodi Cook talked about some […]

A medical device entrepreneur with several years experience working with medical device startups has collaborated with a couple of physicians to develop a way to attach the  smartphones to endoscopes to give physicians more mobility when they use these medical devices. In a phone interview with MedCity News, MobileOptx CEO Jodi Cook talked about some of the challenges the team faced to bring the physician inventors Natasha Mirza and Dr Jason Brant’s concept to market. The company is a spinout of University of Pennsylvania‘s UPStart’s incubator at the Center for Innovation at Penn and University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine .

MobileOptx‘s approach is interesting because most of the time it is the sexy medical device design or mobile app that grabs the attention rather than a do-hickey that joins them together. Smartphones, particularly iPhones, are a growing presence in the physician’s office. There is also an increased interest in making medical device that typically depend on a computer screen more mobile. That’s created the demand in medical device innovation that can meet that demand.

Cook points out that among the things the device needed to accomplish, it was critical that the holder aligned the endoscope and smartphone camera correctly. It also had to be held just as easily by men as women so it was tested by both.

Mirza is a professor in the Otolaryngology department at Penn’s medical school, and Brant is doing a fellowship with the department.

Although Mirza had developed the concept for the attachment, it took a few iterations with the help of engineers to move from the initial prototype to get the best version. “We had 10 potential ideas and we took three forward, and settled on this one rather quickly,” Cook said.

The company is bootstrapped and to keep it that way, it took on some of the assembly work that it would have otherwise contracted a manufacturer to do. In the room above Cook’s garage, she hosted an assembly party on Labor Day weekend to put the kits together.

Although the company is generating revenue through a mix of providers and medical school residency programs, it needs “an angel-size” fundraise to help the business grow.  The company is getting ready to pitch at the IMPACT conference next month. Through Cook’s contacts, the company has progressed to the point where it can demonstrate a market for its device. Although the company’s focus has been in Ear Nose and Throat, it also sees applications for urology, gynecology and emergency medicine.

Small physician practices like it, said Cook. In addition to its functionality, the hybrid device could help improve workflows since it offers a useful way for nurse practitioners to gather  information about the patient that the doctor can watch back later to diagnose.