As the world continues to address the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, one trend emerging across industries is the rapid acceleration and adoption of services enabled by cloud technologies. The hearing industry is among those increasingly using telehealth technologies to respond to the changing needs of our consumers. Starkey announced that, in partnership with Google Cloud, it launched the expansion of “Hearing Care Anywhere.” This cloud-based approach is said to “allow hearing healthcare providers to now meet the needs of all patients across all technology tiers of Starkey’s Livio hearing aids without the need for an in-office visit.”
“In a public health emergency, hearing is critical,” said Archelle Georgiou, MD, Starkey’s Chief Health Officer. “Consider how much important information is being shared in the news and in public service messages. It can be difficult for any of us to keep up. Imagine how vulnerable those with hearing loss are feeling.”
The newest generation of this remote programming capability for hearing healthcare practitioners means that more patients worldwide who use Starkey’s Thrive mobile app will be able to receive care from their homes. This gives hearing professionals the ability to continue their care with patients who remain at home during the current public health crisis.
“The safety of providers and patients is of the utmost importance,” said Starkey’s Chief Innovation Officer Dave Fabry, PhD. “Hearing during this time is critical, but so is practicing social distancing. We believe patients should not have to choose.”
Starkey connects hearing providers and their patients using a number of Google Cloud products. When a patient makes a Remote Programming request from the Thrive Hearing Control App on their smartphone, the request, along with a snapshot of the settings from their hearing aids, are uploaded to Google Cloud Storage and Firestore. From the Hearing Care Anywhere dashboard, the hearing provider can then manage and service the patient’s request, uploading the modifications through Google Cloud Functions. The uploaded modifications are then run through algorithms hosted on App Engine to prepare them for the patient’s review in Thrive.
“We are proud of our work with Google Cloud and our ongoing dedication to staying on the cutting-edge of hearing technology,” said Starkey’s Chief Technology Officer Achin Bhowmik, PhD. “While the immediate benefits of this partnership pertain to Hearing Care Anywhere and telehealth during the COVID-19 crisis, the long-term significance of providing secure and robust cloud solutions will revolutionize hearing aid outcomes by leveraging the combined benefits of artificial intelligence and human professional expertise.”
“Our focus at Google Cloud right now is helping healthcare providers, medical device makers, and other companies navigate through the impact of COVID-19, while at the same time providing a technology foundation for the future,” said Philip Moyer, Vice President of Industry Customers at Google Cloud. “We’re excited to partner with Starkey to bring game-changing benefits to hearing healthcare providers and their patients around the world.”
For more information on Hearing Care Anywhere, please click here.