Instant Patient Feedback And The Future of Fitting Hearing Aids

Patient Insights & Why It Could Change Everything

Unitron Patient InsightsA recent technology innovation from Unitron has really stoked my imagination. The feature if expanded in a small way and combined with cloud computing could change the first fit and fine tune of hearing aids forever. Resulting in better first fits and stronger and effective fine tuning. Combined with some user fine tuning ability it could also increase the collaboration of a user with their healthcare professional, let’s talk about Patient Insights and possible futures.

Unitron have introduced a new feature that compliments their Log It All technology, they call it Patient Insights. It is bitter-sweet for my business partner Steve Claridge to see it. He introduced a technology called earmeter.com  that in essence fulfilled the same needs several years ago. Some practices used it but it fell by the wayside because the Audiology Profession wasn’t ready for it (you people may in fact be stupid, just saying).

The difference with Patient Insights is that it is inextricably linked with the hearing aids, feeding back data in relation to what the hearing aid is doing while the user is rating the situation. Steve’s platform could not do that because it was not tied to or reading data from the hearing aid, he is still a genius though.

What Does Patient Insights Do?

Patient Insights lives on the U Control app, it allows a user to give their own feedback on how well they are doing in the moment. It registers what sound settings the hearing aids are in and allows the user to enter the situation they are in and their comments. It then sends that information to the professional’s software, allowing them to see exactly what is going on with the user in a real-time situation.

The benefits are clear, psychologically the user is more involved in their hearing care. For the professional, it is reliable feedback in relation to how well the user is doing and what they may need to look at when the user comes back for fine tuning. It will allow you to fine tune the hearing aids in a far more effective manner, it will also allow you to better counsel users.

When they say things like it was really bad in such and such, you can rightly say, we can work at that, however, look at where it was really good for you. Users always focus on the negative, this is data that allows you to help them focus on the positive while dealing with the negative.

How Could It Change Things Forever

Imagine, I love that word, imagine that the technology gathered a huge amount of data that included the sound situation, what the hearing aid was doing, how the features were working as well as the feedback from the user. Imagine that the feature was combined with some user fine tuning that was also recorded and sent to the cloud. That would be a huge amount of usable real-time data of real world use.

Big Data Solution

If that was combined with some artificial intelligence it would allow the data to be used to change first fit protocols and fine tuning protocols. Changes that would be based on real-time data from thousands if not millions of users. Used in this way, it could change the face of hearing aid fits forever. Cloud computing solutions like this are all around us, they may not be focused on the efficacy of hearing aids, but why shouldn’t they be?

One Step Further

What if after the initial learning phase, the cloud solution was used to update the hearing aids on a continuous basis with new and better settings. Settings and information that made the hearing aids better and more customised for the user. That would mean that your follow-up appointments could be dedicated to the user rather than focused on the technology.

The Future of Hearing Devices

Unitron have introduced another unique feature that allows the professional to concentrate on the user experience. But more than that, they like Steve Claridge, have pointed the way towards a possible future for hearing instruments. The users we will see in the future will expect collaboration, they will expect control and they expect technology to make their lives better.

Technology like Patient Insights is just the start of the changes we can expect in hearing instrument technology. While it may seem that it is focused on the user experience or user journey, like all of Unitron’s tech innovations it has multiple purposes and possible case uses.

Right now, it is an ideal solution for the professional to engage their customer in a deeper manner. Only our imagination limits what it could be. To quote an old song, the futures so bright, I gotta wear shades.

 

 

About Geoffrey Cooling

my name is Geoffrey Cooling and I am the author here at Just Audiology Stuff. I have been involved in the Hearing Healthcare Profession for several years now. I initially worked as a Hearing Healthcare Professional for a large national retailer in Ireland.

After several years in Practice I was approached to work for a manufacturer, where I was employed for five years. I am now the Co Founder of a business called Audiology Engine. We design websites, undertake content marketing and generally look after everything digital for audiological practices. I am also a contributor to many hearing profession periodicals and websites.

I have written two commercially available books, The Little Book of Hearing Aids which is written for hearing aid consumers and Audiology Marketing in a Digital World which is written for Audiology Practice Owners. They are both available in Paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon. I also write for consumers on the website Hearing Aid Know, which is a website with the mission of demystifying hearing aids, their types and their technology.

I have a great interest in commercial strategy as it applies to Healthcare in general and specifically to Hearing Healthcare. I also have a great interest in the psychology of sales and human interaction. I have been involved with social media for some time, both personally and professionally. I find the engagement and discourse on some social media channels fascinating.

I instituted social media strategy for the company I worked for as an experiment. That experiment soon spread throughout the company and I am proud to say that the company is probably one of the most active in the industry. I would like to point out that all views, opinions and thoughts here are mine own. Unless of course they have been planted by the pod people, you just can’t take your eyes off the pod people. Those views do not necessarily reflect upon any views or opinions held by my employer, if I ever get another one.

I think that our industry is in the middle of a time of huge change, I think that the change will be forced by both internal and external pressure. I think that private Independent Healthcare Practices will have to be smart and lithe of feet in order to meet these changes. I hope that some of my blatherings are of benefit to those Practices, Independent Hearing Healthcare Practices need to survive. I believe that if that occurs it will be of real benefit to Patients.

I hope that I, and my writings will play a small part in their continued success.

5 Comments

  1. Imagine if with each report a 10 to 30 second audio clip of the HA output during that situation was also included…

  2. Imagine what would happen to the hearing aid industry when the word is out “Your hearing aid professional is able to hear what’s going on in your life anywhere and anytime”.

Let me know what you think