You People Are Mediocre
I am sorry but you people are mediocre, the service offering you subscribe to is mediocre at best. It isn’t necessarily what the consumer wants and it’s processes aren’t relevant to the consumer needs. I can do it better, I can deliver to the customer needs and wants because I understand them better. I am going to use innovation to eradicate your mediocrity and it will completely disrupt your cosy little world.
No I haven’t lost my mind, I really am not committing career suicide, nor really is the preceding paragraph my thoughts, they are the perceptions of new entries to the world of hearing. What I fear, is that they may be right.
A New Industrial Revolution?
Our world is changing a breakneck pace, innovation in every field seems to be accelerating. There is definitely truth to that perception, there has been a groundbreaking series of innovations in genetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and biotechnology in just the last few years. There is much talk in the air of a fourth industrial revolution. The fourth revolution is powered by innovative and intelligent people, however, it is facilitated by billions of smart devices and the opportunities inherent in connectedness. It is further driven by consumer wants and needs.
Innovation Eradicating Mediocre
The big successes of this revolution have been innovative services that disrupted whole industries and democratized an industry segment. For instance, look what Airbnb is doing to the hotel industry, Uber to the Taxi industry and Expedia.com or Trivago is doing to travel agents. The vein that runs through these innovations is that they have made the inner machinations of an industry, simple, easy and accessible to the mass market.
Their services are provided to the people who need them immediately when and where they need them. This brings complete freedom for the consumer, no driving to a travel agent, parking a car, reading a brochure, dealing with a salesperson. In essence, innovation has delivered simplicity, access and convenience, it has also empowered. It has killed mediocre service and services aided and abetted by connectedness.
What Will it do to Healthcare?
We are already seeing the assault of innovation on mediocrity in healthcare, want to speak to a doctor right now? There is an app for that. Want to manage a chronic condition assessing your relevant personal body data? There is an app for that. Want help finding out what exactly in your diet is exacerbating your irritable bowel? There is an app for that. I believe that soon, there will be an app based service for every imaginable healthcare need. Consumer demand and technological innovation will make it so.
Imagine For a Moment
Imagine, in the not too distant future, a simple app based service that delivered on demand audiological services. From hearing tests through the fitting of hearing aids to the ongoing aftercare all through an app. The technology to do it is available, innovations in iPad audiometers have finally made remote testing of Patients a reality. Programming a hearing aid via an app platform or website is not impossible.
It may not be done with ease and simplicity right now(although it would not be exceptionally hard), but some work and innovation would change that. At present, it would be a cobbled together series of technologies, but a concerted effort by an interested party or parties driven by consumer demand would change that quickly.
Hearing Provider The App
Imagine for a moment that one highly competent professional with a computer will be able to consult with the consumer remotely, diagnose losses and recommend and fit hearing aids. All of this offered to the consumer in the same way that travel agent software that can find best prices and options is. That particular service offering destroyed the travel agent, what would a similar service offering for hearing needs do to audiology?
What about sound booths and otoscopy? And cerumen removal? These make a big difference. Also bone conduction masking with asymmetric hearing losses. Yes, an app can provide reduced services for the experienced user with simple needs. What about the rest of them who think they have simple needs, but need more? And end up getting a dismal opinion of what hearing aids can do.
That’s the danger, that our profession will be marginalised to the difficult cases. In answer to the bone conduction and masking, an iPad based audiometer has been introduced with bone conduction and automatic masking.
The iPad may have that capability, but I think it may be similar to a calculator in the hands of a math novice. If testing with no experience or knowledge, how wil they knowl if the information from the machine is not correct? I am also worried about the future of our profession. And how do we know which ones are the difficult ones if we can’t see everyone?
We need a reset, our attitude has always been paternalistic. That will no longer wash, if we want to ensure that we remain at the centre, we need to convince Patients why we should. Disruption is driven by consumers, as long as it is they are the ones with the power to decide change. We are already feeling that with the submission of the psap study to the presidents council on aging in the states.
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