CAN REMOTE FITTING HELP YOUR BUSINESS? A CASE STUDY FROM CANADA

A survey of the new Widex remote fitting service proves the benefits of connecting with your clients remotely.
Consumers today expect flexibility and convenience – like booking a flight or monitoring their activity level via an app. It’s no different for hearing aid users. With remote hearing aid fitting, hearing care professionals (HCP) can meet their clients at a time and place of their client’s choosing without leaving the clinic – but how does that benefit you and your client?  

Remote fine-tuning means you can be where your client needs you

There is no doubt that many HCPs spend a lot of clinic time trying to understand the auditory reality of each individual client. But understanding the real-life use of the hearing aid in the individual client’s life is not always easy when you’re sitting in the clinic, removed from the client’s daily life.

Remote hearing aid fitting and fine-tuning allow the HCP to be present in the client’s daily life, where it’s possible to hear and understand which aspects of the soundscape bother the client – and to adjust the hearing aids accordingly.

It’s also handy for clients who have difficulty coming to the clinic because of distance, a busy schedule or mobility issues – basically any situation that makes it harder or prevents the hearing aid user from coming to the clinic.

How WIDEX REMOTE CARE works in real life

Widex is introducing a new solution to fitting hearing aids remotely: WIDEX REMOTE CARE. We wanted to test this system in real life, to find out whether it’s easy to use or not – for the HCP as well as the hearing aid user – and to learn about the efficiency and overall outcome of a remote session compared with a visit to the clinic.

So we carried out a survey in Canada with four HCPs at different clinics and 16 hearing aid users, selected based on several criteria (read the full survey for more on this). Here’s what we found.  

Remote hearing aid fitting is easier to use than expected

The WIDEX REMOTE CARE system connects to all wireless Widex hearing aids. It’s composed of the WIDEX REMOTE CARE app, WIDEX REMOTE LINK and, for the HCP, Compass GPS with WIDEX REMOTE CARE enabled.

Overall, the hearing aid users thought the system was easy to use, with most users finding it very easy to use. The few problems that did crop up for some of the participants were caused by less-than-optimal Wi-Fi connections that resulted in fall-outs before or during remote sessions.  

As for the HCPs, they all rated WIDEX REMOTE CARE to be very easy to use too, which they had not expected to begin with. Judging from their comments, they quickly learned to troubleshoot possible connection issues and therefore rated the ease of use higher after some experience with the system.

Same satisfactory outcome as a visit to the clinic

WIDEX REMOTE CARE is only effective if it helps reach the overall goals of the conversation, just like at the clinic. Both the HCPs and the hearing aid users were predominantly very satisfied with the overall process, the outcome of the remote session, and the interaction they had with the other party during the session.

In the subsequent survey, some HCPs said that access to a remote care system would allow them to help their clients more efficiently, saving time for both the end users and themselves.

What was also interesting was that all participating HCPs said they expect that remote care sessions will, to some degree, replace clinic-based fine-tuning sessions for some clients in the future, because the outcome of the sessions was perceived as being the same as in the clinic.

They also assessed that access to systems such as WIDEX REMOTE CARE could result in more fine-tuning requests, since they would be able to help people who may not otherwise have come to the clinic because of physical constraints, travel time or a busy schedule.

During the interviews, the HCPs estimated that easier access to remote hearing aid fitting and fine-tuning would result in less time spent per session and in more satisfied hearing aid users.

Remote fine-tuning is an important service

Having tried remote fine-tuning, 63% of hearing aid users considered WIDEX REMOTE CARE an extra service, and 81% found it very convenient to get a remote fine-tuning.

88% said that having access to remote fine-tuning solutions is somewhat or very important, and 13% even claimed it was a decisive factor for choosing a hearing care clinic. So having access to remote fine-tuning is both convenient and important, at least as far as this study goes.
Importantly, all HCPs communicated that they were able to quickly achieve their goals for the session without feeling as though they were compromising on patient care.

Remote fine-tuning benefits a wide range of hearing aid users

The HCPs in the survey evaluated that many groups would benefit from the solution, including people who live far away, working professionals and both experienced and inexperienced users.

While some hearing aid users and HCPs find the benefits of a face-to-face in-clinic session very important, the flexibility of having a remote fitting option available is likely to be attractive for many. This could open up new business options for the HCPs because they can provide a more versatile service.

The next step in real-life hearing

A remote hearing aid fitting solution like WIDEX REMOTE CARE can benefit HCPs as well as hearing aid users. The main challenge to overcome may be the change in mindset, because it does require both the HCP and the client to think and act differently from what they’re used to.

Still, the HCPs and their clients in this Canada survey quickly learned and adapted to this new approach to fitting, and, for the most part, they saw the many benefits it brings to both parties.  

With WIDEX REMOTE CARE, Widex is taking another important step in supporting real-life hearing for users, offering a flexible solution for HCPs to help their clients in the moments that matter the most.

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