Madison-based health tech startup Otologic Technologies is on a mission to change the way physicians diagnose and treat ear disease.

In children, the nagging pain results in more than 20 million visits to the doctor’s office each year, yet many cases—as high as 60 percent—are misdiagnosed, leading to recurrent infections, unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions, and potentially unnecessary ear tube surgeries, according to Otologic’s Chief Strategy Officer Dan Wenger.

But the problem with misdiagnosis doesn’t exactly lie with the clinicians, he says.

“We think it goes to three things,” Wenger explains. “The tools are limited; clinical training is limited—doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners get just a few rounds [of training]—and the diagnostic process itself is still subjective. It’s just one person looking in there, often with a squirming child patient. They can only see and diagnose based on what they remember.”

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