I was recently introduced to Patient Insights from Unitron, I had heard about it and thought to myself, "Hey that's a good idea". Then promptly went about my business meaning to look into it. Never happened, hey what can I say, I was probably drunk and the early onset dementia is creeping in. Then when we attended Unitron Engage a couple of weeks ago I got a closer and more in depth look at it. I was blown away by it, not just by what it is right now, but what it could become in the future. Let's talk about it and why I think it will change the face of hearing aid fittings forever.
Be more involved with your hearing care
I think the feature is already a powerful way for you to collaborate with your hearing care professional to improve your experience of and control over your hearing aids. I also think that the feature if expanded in some ways and combined with cloud computing could change the first fit and fine tune of hearing aids forever for the better.
This could result in better first fits and stronger and effective fine tuning of hearing devices, ensuring that the experience with hearing aids is a good one from the beginning. Combined with some user fine tuning ability (yep, that's you) it could also increase your collaboration with your healthcare professional while also giving you more control, let's talk about Patient Insights and possible futures.
In effect, it is designed to allow you to collaborate on your hearing care, I know that is not for everyone, but for the frustrated, it is a god send.
What is it and what does it do?
Patient Insights is a feedback system that lives on the U Control app (which can be downloaded on the PlayStore and the App Store) on your smart phone, it allows you to give your own feedback on how well you are doing in the moment with your digital hearing devices and the sound situation you are in. It registers the sound settings the hearing aids are in, and records your comments. It then sends that information to your hearing care professional's software, allowing them to see exactly what is going on with you in a real-time situation.
In effect, it is designed to allow you to collaborate on your hearing care, I know that is not for everyone, but for the frustrated, it is a god send. It has to be activated and set up by your hearing professional, and of course you also have to have a streamer such as the U Stream or the U Direct and the U Control app on a smart phone. However, I think it is worth the investment and the learning curve.
The benefit to you
I think the current benefits are clear, you are more involved in your hearing care and for the professional, it is reliable feedback in relation to how well you are doing. It also clearly tells them about your experiences in real time situations and flags up what they may need to look at when you go in for follow up and fine tuning. Up to now it has always been difficult for the professional to get good info, the users memory and ability to explain an experience that happened a week ago has always been a problem.
Simply better fine tuning, hearing aids that are better fit for you and a far better experience moving forward
I always asked my Patients to keep a sound diary, giving them headers to record the information under which prompted them to write the things I need to know. This method helped a fair bit, however, if I had access to what the hearing aids were doing at the time, it would have been the second part of the puzzle. It would have been data I would have rejoiced for believe me. It should result in better fine tuning, hearing aids that are better fit for you and a far better experience moving forward.
How Could It Change Things Forever
I recently spoke about the future of hearing devices, I think I will need to update that section pretty regularly. What could Patient Insights mean for the future of hearing instruments? I think a better one, a future of hearing devices that automatically change and upgrade the solution they are providing.
This tech already gathers some good data, but if it was increased to include a detailed picture of the sound environment it would dramatically increase our understanding of the situation you are in. If it was combined with some fine tuning ability on your part, it would also give us a clear understanding of what you did to make your experience better in the moment.
That would be fantastic data, it would allow us to see real time data on preferences, if it was tagged with simple info like speech clearer, more comfortable, it would also allow us to understand what the changes had done for you.
If that data was combined with some artificial intelligence in the cloud it would allow the data to be used to change first fit protocols and fine tuning protocols for hearing aids. It would allow decisions about hearing aid features and function be based on real-time data from thousands if not millions of users. I really think that this could change the face of hearing aid fits forever (sorry giddy nerd moment there). The cloud solution could be then used to update the hearing aids on a continuous basis with new and better settings that made the hearing aids better and more customised for the user.
The future of your hearing aids
Unitron have introduced another unique feature here, one that is focused on collaboration and the user experience. However, I think with just some imagination they have also pointed the way towards a possible future for hearing instruments. Right now, Patient Insights is an ideal solution for you to engage with your professional in a deeper and more effective manner.Only the imagination of Unitron and the other hearing aid manufacturers limits what it could be.
If you have a set of Unitron North hearing aids and you don't have the U Control app, think about getting it sorted out. I think this feature is fantastic during the initial period when you purchase your hearing aids, however, I also think that it has continuous benefit for a user. Let us know what you think, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org with your own experiences and thoughts.