By Christiane Cordero

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A $300 device promises to save consumers trips to the doctor by allowing them to video call one instead.

TytoHome, a product launched by telemedicine company TytoCare, is what Twin Cities-based Best Buy chose as its way of emerging into the health and tech intersection.

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Its users can connect TytoHome to an in-home WiFi, launch the app, and connect with a physician via Sanford Health. The physician’s video call could then prompt patients to measure heart rate and sounds, temperature, and pictures of ears, nose, throat, and skin. The idea is it can save a trip to the doctor while getting the same diagnosis and, if necessary, a prescription.

“Each visit [after the initial $300 purchase] at the most will cost you $59,” Best Buy spokesperson Keegan Shoutz said. “So it could be less than that based on your insurance provider, but really it’s a great long-term investment.”

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Both the company, TytoCare, and its retailer, Best Buy, say the data itself is encrypted and protected under HIPAA.

“The only people [who] are going to have access to that information would be the patient and the medical provider,” Shoutz said. “So [TytoCare has] worked really closely with the medical provider to make sure it’s all covered under HIPAA guidelines and to protect that access.”

The device markets itself to families averse to juggling time and sick children. However, its launch also coincides with baby boomers getting older and demanding more of their health care needs.

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It will likely be more successful serving the former, as users can expect to get a diagnosis for common sicknesses such as the cold and flu. More complicated conditions will warrant an in-person visit, until technology advances to prove otherwise.

Christiane Cordero