Connected Hearing Devices and Audiologists : The User-Centered Development of Digital Service Innovations

Today, medical technology manufacturers enter the service market through the development of digital service innovations. In the field of audiology, these developments increasingly shift the service capacities from audiologists to manufacturers and technical systems. However, the technology-driven developments of manufacturers lack acceptance of hearing device users and undermine the important role of audiologists within the service provision. By following a user-centered design approach in order to deal with the technological and social challenges of disruptive services, we aim to develop service innovations on an integrated service platform in the field of tele-audiology. To ensure the acceptance of technology-driven service innovations among hearing device users and audiologists, we systematically integrated these actors in a participatory innovation process. With qualitative and quantitative data we identified several requirements and preferences for different service innovations in the field of tele-audiology. According to the preferences of the different actors, we proposed a service platform approach based on a connected hearing device in three pillars of application: 1) one-to-one (1:1) service innovations based on a remote fitting concept directly improve the availability of services offered by audiologists without being physically present. Based on this, 2) one-to-many (1:N) service innovations allow the use of the connected hearing device as an indirect data source for training a machine learning algorithm that empowers users through the automation of service processes. A centralized server system collects the data and performs the training of this algorithm. As a future outlook, we show potentials to use the connected hearing device for 3) cross-industry (N:M) service innovations in contexts outside the healthcare domain and give practical implications for the market launch of successful service innovations in the field of tele-audiology.


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