Hi! I’m Ryan Nolan, one of the co-founders of PhotoniCare. But more importantly, I’m a parent whose daughter has suffered ear infections. And I’ve also had ear infections myself, both as a child and recently as an adult. So believe me when I say I hate ear infections.
Along with my co-founders, Ryan and Steve, we began PhotoniCare with the goal of making a difference in the lives of both kids and adults who’ve suffered ear infections. We’re doing this by developing and equipping doctors with better tools to diagnose and treat this disease. But we can’t and don’t want to do this alone.
We need your help!
As we’re working on our technology, we have ongoing studies to make sure what we’ll soon sell is an imaging device that will make a difference. So if you’re interested in possibly volunteering for our ear imaging studies, so you know what to expect, we’d like to share with you what it’s like to participate.
- Study intro discussion
First, when volunteers arrive, they’re greeted by one of our consenters, who will sit down with you to talk about the study we’re conducting, from the details of what’s to come over the next few minutes to the big picture of why it’s important. Ask away any questions that may pop into your mind, we’ll take the time to make sure that you’re satisfied before proceeding!
- Sign a study consent form
After this discussion, if you’d like to continue and participate, you’ll be asked to sign a consent form. If it’s your child who’s here for imaging, then you’ll still sign a consent form for them and, if they’re between 8-17 years old, they’ll sign an assent form too. We’ll keep one copy and you’ll get a duplicate to take home. These forms are for us to keep record that we have your permission to collect and anonymously save ear images from you or your child’s ears.
- Fill out a brief health survey
You’ll also be asked to fill out a brief health survey for yourself or your child. We use this survey to collect some information about your past and current ear health, so we know how to sort the images we collect.
- The fun part: Ear imaging!
For you or your child, the ear exam will look and feel like when you’re in the doctor’s office when they look at your ears. But this time, you’ll get to see what the doctor sees! Our device provides a video view of the surface of the eardrum, which is the part of your ear that helps you hear. But in addition to that, our device also takes a painless and instantaneous depth scan through the eardrum to see what’s going on behind it, in your middle ear space. If you’re healthy, there’s only air. But if you have an ear infection, often you’ll have fluid back there.
- Show and tell
During the imaging session, we will walk you through what we see in the images on the device’s screen so that you can understand what you’re looking at. And in the end, all data we collect for all studies are securely saved (for instance, using study de-identification numbers instead of your name) and privately stored to protect the volunteers who’ve participated. Then that data is used internally for improving our technology, and occasionally presented at medical conferences or published in research journals to spread the word about what we’re developing.
And that’s it! Overall, these visits typically take about 10-15 minutes. And once you or your child has been consented and imaged, you can come back at any time, especially if an ear infection pops up, to get another view inside your or your child’s ears. These follow-up visits are typically even shorter (~5 minutes) because we can get right to the imaging once you’re enrolled in our study.
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in participating in, we’d love to hear from you! For more information and to sign up, please feel free to reach out to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-(866) 411-EARS.