2:10 - 2:30 pmSunday, September 7
LK 120
The curious case of hearing: Tackling an enormous untreated chronic ailment
LK 120
The curious case of hearing: Tackling an enormous untreated chronic ailment
President & CEO, Ultimate Kiosk Inc.
The Challenge:Hearing loss represents one of the greatest unresolved health challenges worldwide. In the United States and Canada some 40 million people of all ages (predominantly over 45) are afflicted... Read more

Description

The Challenge:

Hearing loss represents one of the greatest unresolved health challenges worldwide. In the United States and Canada some 40 million people of all ages (predominantly over 45) are afflicted yet remain untreated. The majority are unaware of the causes (several prevalent disease states, noise exposure, aging, widely used medications) or risks of their chronic condition – compromises to lifestyle, concerns about safety and in some cases a significant contributor to medical disorders, including early onset dementia.

While lack of knowledge and stigma about “growing old” are influential, there are other contributing factors. Medical training for the family physician (ideally the gatekeeper) typically falls short. And the industry – manufacturers of hearing devices and those in the delivery channel – have yet to develop effective ways of engaging and educating the largest part of the target segment. We end up with a standoff of sorts – an enormous number of people with hearing problems who remain untreated, yet plenty of service providers. Those who ultimately seek a solution (less than 25%) usually take 7-10 years to do so, too late for preventative strategies to take hold.

Response – Coalition Building, Health 2.0 and More:

These conditions suggest the situation is ripe for disruption. An enormous cohort exists that is accessible and needs to be encouraged and enabled to learn about their condition as well as what steps can be taken to alleviate it. The emergence of the healthy aging movement, growth of the mobile Internet, interest in self-tracking and rise of tele-health and e-patientry combine and can be channelled to confront the challenge.

Many are aware of their blood pressure and most routinely track their weight. Why not their hearing profile? Cannot the experience in creating proactive learning communities by and for those with other conditions – obesity, diabetes and arthritis for example – be applied to this substantial untreated population with a chronic health disorder?

Some encouraging signs within the immediate community are beginning to emerge… but ever so slowly, focused on obvious tactics like placing more emphasis on the patient (even though most with hearing loss would not consider themselves “patients”!) as distinct from the product. There appears to be little know-how or motivation among traditional players to use technologies and the experience of other groups in order to reach out and begin mobilizing those afflicted, their influencers and potential caregivers and service providers. Life is good, margins remain satisfactory and dated regulatory barriers still exist. Why upset the applecart?

The presentation will be made by Terry Mactaggart, a Stanford MBA grad and President of Ultimate Kiosk Inc. (see www.ultimatekiosk.com), a leader in making hearing testing, assessment and coaching more widely accessible. He will describe the progress the company and its partners are achieving in creating technology-driven coalitions and networks to implement a broad gauge Hearing Health Awareness Program as well as may lie ahead. Program goals include intensifying awareness, expanding preventative and rehabilitative measures and effecting overall cost savings to the health care system.

Terry Mactaggart is the CEO of Ultimate Kiosk Inc., a young growth company with proprietary technology designed to provide access and assistance to the millions of people who are hearing impaired but remain outside the delivery system. Finding ways to engage "the tribe" (including influencers) is a key success factor.

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