Updated: Nov 7
My dream, the dream which eventually became House Calls Mobile ® was to provide a way to combine technology and medicine to form a complete 'virtual' medical visit from a smart phone or tablet. The dream was to integrate virtual medical devices with real live medical providers to make the patient/provider visit as much like a real life medical visit as possible. Technology is coming a long way and there is no reason why we can't make a video provider's visit as good and effective as an in-clinic visit. Yesterday I got off the phone with the US Patent and Trademark Office. I have a pending patent for our virtual stethoscope/otoscope which has been ongoing for 4 years. The idea was to make a stethoscope (medical tool which you use to listen to heart/lungs sounds) and otoscope (medical tool which you look into ears/mouth/nose) into a device that plugs into a smartphone to get a physical exam out of a video medical provider visit. The Patent and Trademark process seems to drag on forever. Something I would have never known until I started the process. When I was on the phone with the Patent and Trademark examiner I told them I was ready for this process to be done! My company has been hemorrhaging money in Patent attorney fees for too long. It has been like a game of telephone between the examiner and my patent attorney. Its like they are writing letters to each other on my dime! So I told them, lets conference call like adults and figure out exactly what is left to be done so we can get this application to meet everything that the examiner is looking for! Well, we are scheduled to do such a conference call next week! A small prayer that the end may now be in sight to finally be issued a patent for our medical device! That would be a Dream come true!
Another part of this dream is the House Calls Mobile ® IOS mobile App for your smartphone. I have been working with an App developer in India for 4 years as well on this project. The project has two interfaces one for the medical provider and one for the patient. We had to integrate the ability to find the provider by location nearest to where you are into the App. We also needed to integrate a payment platform so that the provider can bill for their services. Now we are in the testing phase. Anyone who wants to test out the platform please feel free to download the "House Calls Mobile" IOS App on the Apple App store! We appreciate any feedback you may have in this testing phase.
Then to round out this Dream we have our 'virtual stethoscope/otoscope' prototype. Getting a prototype off the ground has been harder than it sounds. The House Calls Mobile ® 'virtual stethoscope/otoscope' device takes your heart sounds which go from the stethoscope to a circuit which clears up background static noise. The clear sound then gets amplified and then sent to your smartphone through the earphone jack to your medical provider on the other end of the phone to hear. Its a pretty straightforward device, except the circuit development and manufacturing has been a big pain in my butt! China is where circuits are made and there has been a big delay in manufacturing of circuits (think automotive industry and why new cars aren't being made). I have a CalPoly electrical engineering Grad student working on my circuit but he is going through finals at school and can't finish until he has more time in December when school is out. So right now, until the circuit is done I'm just waiting. I can't send the prototype to be tested or the application to the FDA for approval until the circuit is completed. All startups have bumps in the road and this is one of them.
It feels like this Dream of a Complete 'virtual' medical visit is slowly starting to materialize. Now as these steps are coming more and more together I turn my attention to medical device manufacturing (likely in Asia), marketing and seed round funding... Is the House Calls Mobile® road show for funding going to start!? Yikes! Probably. I don't see any other way of getting together 2 million dollars to start production of our 'virtual' stethoscope/otoscope. Maybe kickstarter? Stay tuned as the Startup adventure continues!