Phonak and Microsoft in joint remote support venture



How soon will telemedicine become an everyday reality of our healthcare culture? Small steps are being taken everyday in the medical world towards a future in which much of healthcare will be handled through audio/video conferencing.

And a leap towards telemedicine in audiology comes at the end of November with the first project in an "ongoing strategic technological partnership" involving Phonak and Microsoft.

Hearing patients will be able to use the Phonak Remote Support Service for real-time fitting consultations using Microsoft's cloud-based technology, Azure. This support option is available to users of Phonak Audéo Marvel hearing aids and the myPhonak app. The service will be available initially in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom and USA.

Fittings will still be carried out face-to-face, but Phonak points out the greater convenience of remote follow-up, especially for time-strapped patients, people who travel in their jobs, and the less mobile.

The future of remote support is endorsed by research carried out by Angley et al, which shows that hearing patients prefer dealing remotely with healthcare providers than having to visit them in the flesh.