Patient Insights & Why It Could Change Everything
A 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.
Imagine if with each report a 10 to 30 second audio clip of the HA output during that situation was also included…
That is exactly what I was thinking about. Maybe a detailed spectragram or full audio. A smart phone would allow transmission of decent data.
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”.
That is why I was saying spectrogram. Actual audio may make people a little uncomfortable
Which is why recording audio must be securely controlled solely by the patient. Whether it be capturing a short audio clip, or authorizing the hearing pro access to the file.