Objective: The ai/m of this study was to compare the self-reported confidence of novices in using a smartphone-enabled video otoscope, a microscope and loupes for ear examination and external ear canal procedures.
Method: Medical students (n = 29) undertook a pre-study questionnaire to ascertain their knowledge of techniques for otoscopy and aural microsuction. Participants underwent teaching on ear anatomy, examination and procedural techniques using a microscope, loupes and smartphone-enabled video otoscopes. Confidence and preference using each modality was rated using a Likert-like questionnaire.
Results: After teaching, all modalities demonstrated a significant increase in confidence in ear examination (p < 0.0001). Confidence in using the smartphone-enabled otoscope post-teaching was highest (p = 0.015). Overall, the smartphone-enabled video otoscope was the preferred method in all other parameters assessed including learning anatomy or pathology (51.72 per cent) and learning microsuction (65.51 per cent).
Conclusion: Smartphone-enabled video otoscopes provide an alternative approach to ear examination and aural microsuction that can be undertaken outside of a traditional clinical setting and can be used by novices.
Keywords: Medical Education; Otoscopy; Telemedicine.