January 31, 2019
In our selfie-centric society, almost nothing is less threatening—or more familiar—to a preschool child than having an iPhone pointed at his or her face. Enter GoCheck Kids—a startup product developed by Scottsdale, Arizona-based Gobiquity Mobile Health (formerly iCheck Health Connection) that screens young children for correctable vision impairments with a simple photo.
Used to date by roughly 4,000 pediatricians, working in 55 health systems, to screen about 9 million children nationwide, GoCheck Kids is an uploadable iPhone app that catches vision problems in children ages six months to six years before they become disabling—and without the use of expensive and unwieldy equipment.
In the United States, the most prevalent disabling childhood conditions are vision disorders including amblyopia (“lazy eye”), strabismus (“crossed eyes”), and significant refractive errors (which cause blurred vision). Early detection increases the likelihood of effective treatment; however, until now, fewer than 15% of all preschool children received an eye exam, and fewer than 22% of preschool children received some type of vision screening.
“Vision disorders are the number one most prevalent disabling conditions among U.S. children. That’s also true for many other countries, and a lot of the reason why prevalence is so high is that most of the vision disorders are actually invisible to parents, physicians, and teachers,” Kevon Saber, CEO of Gobiquity, said in a recent interview with MobiHealthNews.
“Kids are not getting caught early enough for the issues to be treated. These are issues that keep kids from seeing well in the classroom; issues that lead to blindness, … and then there are even fatal retinal cancers,” Saber added, noting,. “Fortunately those are really rare, but [for] the first two groups of issues you really want to catch these kids by five years old, because after five the efficacy of treatment declines rapidly.”
After integrating with the provider’s electronic health records (EHR) system, users select the patient’s profile in the GoCheck Kids app and take a single photo of the patient’s eyes. Afterward, the app automatically sends the image to a patient’s EHR, and generates a sharable report with the patient’s results. Saber noted that the cloud-based service also allows providers to view the images and results remotely, if need be.
GoCheck Kids has been validated in three separate clinical trials. The latest of these, published in the Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, examined the app’s performance in 6,310 in-office screenings and found a positive predictive rate of 68%, which the authors wrote is “comparable with other commercial objective screeners.”
Following a 40-day free trial at a pediatric practice, Gobiquity offers the app as a subscription service with unlimited uses. The price ranges from $80 to $129 monthly, based on whether a customer prefers to purchase the service as a downloadable app or as a dedicated device. Outside of the larger providers who may already be subscribing to multiple app-based services, Saber said that most of the company’s customer’s opt for the more expensive option.
“We usually ship them an iPhone because they don’t want to usually deal with all the HIPAA implications themselves, they’d rather just trust that we’re doing that,” Saber said. “The phone arrives, and they do a quick training they can do on their own time at their own pace by going to our training website, or if they want to talk to us we can walk them through it live and answer questions. Then they start screening and submit the screens to the insurance of the respective children.”
Research contact: @GoCheckKids