The Use of Commercially Available Non-Medical Grade USB Cameras for Physician Guided ENT Out-Patient Self-Examination During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Keywords:USB camera, no-contact examination, virtual physical examination, Onsite Virtual Examination (OnVEx), COVID-19
Objective: To describe the use of commercially available, non-medical grade USB cameras in a non-contact examination of simple cases involving the ears, nose and oral cavity of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic
Design: Instrument innovation
Setting: Tertiary Government Training Hospital
Participants: Patients who consulted at the ENT-HNS outpatient department
during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Results: Commercially available USB cameras were able to provide basic visualization of the ears, nose and oral cavity. The non-medical grade USB cameras captured lower quality images when compared to the medical grade endoscopes but provided enough visualization to aid in the examination and diagnosis of simple cases. There was a learning curve in using the set-up but patients were able to adjust well, taking an average time of 2.7 minutes to complete the examination.
Conclusion: Non-medical grade USB cameras may play a role in aiding otolaryngologists in examining simple cases during the COVID-19 pandemic. Integration of this system into current examination practices may offer an extra layer of protection for otolaryngologists and patients alike. However, the use of these instruments as part of regular ENT practice may be controversial and will need further study.
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