“One of the core responsibilities at Star Key Hearing Centers is our commitment to enabling better hearing care solutions and increasing the accessibility of hearing health by bringing the hearing services closer to the community, especially for those who cannot easily access traditional medical care yet are in urgent need,” explains Mohammad Kettaneh, Chief Executive Officer of Star Key Hearing Centers
In the healthcare industry, technology is taking the upfront as a primary component in managing patient care, staff processes and productivity in the office.
We can now safely say that the recent coronavirus pandemic crisis that has brought the world to its knees is the cause of this shift in paradigm towards mobility healthcare in the community and/or at home. As adoption of mobility occurs, the overall effects of health consumers and professionals asserting their growing expectations will generate stronger demand for technology in the healthcare industry.
The global healthcare mobility solutions market size is expected to reach $227.1 billion by 2025, according to a new study by Grand View Research, Inc. The market is driven by increasing demand for digitalization of healthcare. Rising health-related expenditure is the biggest issue many countries are facing nowadays. Hospitals are struggling to provide quality care and cost-effective services to patients. Moreover, political instability, lack of proactive initiatives, and economic stress are the factors questioning the R&D funding in developing nations.
Moreover, the global elderly & disabled assistive devices market size was $23,009 million in 2018 and is anticipated to reach $35,599 million by 2026, registering a CAGR of 5.5% from 2019 to 2026. Assistive devices, as the term signifies are the medical devices that assist elderly as well as disabled people to form their various basic tasks such as walking, hearing problems, vision problems, and others. The mobility aids devices include wheelchairs, scooters, and others that alleviate disabled individuals with their mobility.
Star Key Hearing Centers, a UAE based hearing care solutions provider has launched its first mobile hearing center in the region that is in line with the ‘National Home Screening program for People of Determination.’ The home screening initiative was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Mohammad Kettaneh, Chief Executive Officer of Star Key Hearing Centers, talks with Ayesha Rashid of Mediworldme how their new mobile center is ‘unique’ and in line with the UAE government’s focus on better healthcare technology.
Tell us in detail about your mobile center?
Star Key Mobile Service is the first mobile hearing center in the UAE and the first of its kind in the region, dedicated to serve hearing-impaired, especially elderly and people of determination anywhere in the UAE. The launch of Star Key Mobile Service came in line with the ‘National Home Screening Program for People of Determination’ announced by HH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
The vehicle is fitted with the latest technologies of hearing and mobile hearing solutions along with high-end advanced medical equipment and staffed by skilled hearing professionals who are passionate to assist in any circumstance and anywhere in the UAE.
Furthermore, Star Key Hearing LLC (SKH) is a premier hearing care service provider in UAE since 2010, aims to provide audiology and hearing evaluation services and cutting-edge technology hearing devices to patients under both government and private healthcare institutions as well as to private individuals. SKH is committed to delivering professional, quality hearing healthcare while giving relevant education and awareness regarding the early identification and rehabilitation options for hearing loss.
What made you come up with a mobile center especially for people of determination?
Star Key Hearing LLC is committed to help develop and boost the healthcare services and finding solutions to the challenges faced by the people who have hearing concerns. The launch of the mobile hearing care vehicle comes in line with supporting the national efforts and initiatives of the UAE government. In light of the exceptional circumstances that the whole world is going through, Star Key Hearing LLC is extending its way in seeking to provide all possible protection and safety for citizens while continuously providing better healthcare services and easy access right at their doorsteps with a reachable and realistic approach of hearing services.
One of the core responsibilities at Star Key Hearing Centers is our commitment to enabling better hearing care solutions and increasing the accessibility of hearing health by bringing the hearing services closer to the community, especially for those who cannot easily access traditional medical care yet are in urgent need.
How ‘unique’ is the mobile center?
It is the first mobile hearing center in the UAE and the region, the uniqueness of Star Key Mobile Service lies in the passion and creative minds behind it. The advanced technologies implemented inside the vehicle give patients a complete hearing care just like the one provided in the main hearing clinics. It is a smart convenient solution that maintains patients’ safety in all circumstances.
In addition, Star Key Mobile Service also provides hearing aids repair and wireless adjustment, custom earmolds production for behind the ear (BTE), completely in canal (CIC) and invisible hearing aids (IIC) are all performed with the support of the latest equipment available in the vehicle such as 3D printer and 3D scanner for scanning, modelling and printing to enable prototyping and manufacturing.
These wireless equipment for hearing tests and unique hearing aids are manufactured by the international hearing aids leader – Starkey Technologies, worth to mention their leading product in the market which is the artificial intelligence technology. Furthermore, the AI technology helps its users track their body and brain activities and provide access to amazing features like translation to 27 languages and fall alert. It also helps visually impaired by identifying people and the surroundings around them.
How is this center in line with the UAE government’s focus on better health technology services?
One of the main reasons why we launch this unique mobile center is supporting the local community and boosting the UAE government’s vision in sustaining a healthy UAE community through the provision of comprehensive & responsive healthcare System. Star Key Mobile Service is playing a vital role in providing wide access for better hearing care to anyone anywhere in the UAE, regardless the physical conditions of patients.
Describe what’s fitted inside the vehicle and why? Medical technology and supplies?
The mobile hearing care center is fully equipped with the latest technologies and wireless equipment that enable the capability of providing comprehensive and immediate mobile hearing care services. Various tests can be performed inside the vehicle including adult hearing tests, pediatric hearing tests (without sedation), middle ear measurements, and wireless video otoscopy. The clinic also provides hearing aids fitting and wireless adjustment, repair and maintenance, custom earmolds production, all are performed with the support of the latest equipment available in the vehicle such as 3D printer and 3D scanner for scanning, modelling and printing to enable prototyping and manufacturing.
How skilled are your staff to handle all in terms of Covid-19?
Our teams are conscious and passionate about what they are doing as treating patient with care and maintaining patients’ and the staff’ safety is our first priority. Our team has a wealth of experience in this sector as they were all involved in the treatment process at our regular brick and mortar centers.
Apart from the mobile center, we have some of the most skilled team healthcare specialists in our centers located in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai. Along with the unique audiology and hearing technologies that we have, from AI, smallest rechargeable hearing aid, to the 3D lab services, we are confident that we can deliver the holistic method of audiology service and making our best efforts to help in achieving a better hearing for every case in the UAE.
Precautionary measures taken?
The vehicle is equipped with all means of safety, protection and sterilization for each patient’s safety, taking into consideration their health and safety as the company’s top priority. We strictly adopt international standards when it comes to taking precautionary measures such as;
– Periodical sterilization and disinfection for the mobile center
– Staff are keen to put on personal protective equipment (PPE)
– Temperature screening for patients and staff
– Ensure patients’ and staff’ hands sterilization
– Ask patients to fill out the intake form to review any symptoms
– Maintain the social distance
– Safe and healthy dispose of the waste
– Sterilization of the place before and after each patient’s visit
Any challenges faced?
1 – COVID-19 pandemic affected the preparation of the mobile center in terms of the planned time frame according to the delay of the global supply chain disruptions.
2 – The lockdown hours have delayed the delivery of some equipment as well as reaching some patients.
3 – The mobile center project was planned to be ready in later time, but because of the pandemic, we had to speed up the progress of the project despite all the challenges, in a time where many other businesses decided to slow down and minimize expenses, we insisted on finding solutions for hearing-impaired that reduce the impact and challenges caused by the pandemic.
4 – Communication with hearing-impaired with masks on is a bit challenging as in many cases patients rely on lip reading.
Despite all these challenges, our aim is to find any possible solution to maintain patients’ safety and deliver quality service on time without them leaving their homes.
How will technology impact us in terms of Covid 19?
One trend emerging across industries is the rapid acceleration and adoption of providing remote and digital services enabled by special technologies. The hearing industry is among those increasingly using telehealth technologies to respond to the changing needs of our patients. One of the services that are integrated in our hearing solutions is ‘Hearing Care Anywhere’ that enables effective remote fine-tuning services without requiring an office visit.
Why is innovation and technology so important to you?
We appreciate both innovation and technology. The continued development of hearing solutions technology has opened wide doors for hearing care accessibility and created convenient solutions for hearing-impaired. One of them is the Artificial Intelligence technology that enables hearing-impaired and helps them to live easier and better life by providing tremendous services and features tailored for their daily-life needs, like: fall alerts, body activity tracking, reminders, translation, transcriptions and Hearing Care Anywhere.
In your opinion how is Covid-19 impacting the medical technology industry?
The pandemic has affected the global supply chain disruptions and served as a wake-up call for many aspects in the medical technology industry, and has accelerated the digital transformation. Apparently, the need for more smart medical technology and solutions that are ready to minimize challenges caused by a pandemic is a must now. We must be better prepared in terms of technology for any future pandemics.
In your opinion do you think Covid-19 will go away? Will the use of technology have a role to play?
Well, that’s what we hope. We think it depends on what we, as societies, are doing to fight the virus. Actually, technology is playing a big role in terms of developing better ways to test and treat. Technology also found remote and digital ways for communications and continuing the progress of any work, even in the medical industry.