Inspired by son’s health issues, Seattle entrepreneur launches at-home ear-nose-throat monitor

Jane Zhang. (Remmie Health Photos)

Jane Zhang knew there had to be a better way.

Despite extra attention on hygiene and eating healthy, Zhang’s 2-year-old son was constantly getting ear infections and catching the common cold after starting childcare. He was forced to go through multiple rounds of antibiotics, several misdiagnoses, and many hours inside various doctor’s offices.

With a background in biomedical engineering and healthcare product R&D, Zhang began tinkering away in her garage. She wanted access to an ear-nose-throat (ENT) tool, similar to a otoscope used in doctor’s offices for decades, but one that could be used by parents inside their own home.

Fast forward to today and Zhang is now heading up a new Seattle startup called Remmie Health. The company is gearing up to launch its ENT monitor for families to assess symptoms such as an earache and communicate with health professionals via telemedicine.

The device can take images and videos of ENT-related issues, with that info sent to Remmie’s digital platform that can be accessed by doctors and nurses during a virtual visit. The idea is to get professional advice without needing to leave the home.

“We intend to become the go-to household brand for ENT ailment self-care,” Zhang said.

Zhang said ear infections are the most common reason for sick child visits, and said 30% of children between ages 0-6 have at least three or more infections per year, according to the National Institute of Health.

Remmie plans to make money by selling the device and sharing profit with telemedicine partners for recurring revenue.

The Seattle startup has landed more than $100,000 in initial funding, including capital from Silicon Valley firm Plug and Play Ventures.

Remmie is one of many telemedicine startups aiming to ride the trend of virtual healthcare that has accelerated amid the pandemic, as it enables treatment without forcing patients to come inside a physical office and risk exposure to COVID-19.

Zhang was previously a senior manager at Amgen and a healthcare consultant at ZS. She earned an MBA from UCLA and a PhD in biomedical engineering from Boston University. Zhang is currently an affiliate assistant professor at the University of Washington.

Other employees at Remmie Health include Zhan Wang, a Groupon and Concur veteran, and Zaris Shen, a former designer with Seattle startup AdaptiLab.

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