Κωνσταντίνος Παστιάδης, Αναπληρωτής Καθηγητής, Τμήμα Μουσικών Σπουδών, ΑΠΘ
Αθανάσιος Μπίμπας, Καθηγητής, Ιατρική Σχολή, ΕΚΠΑ
Παναγιώτης Κατρακάζας, Διδάσκων, Σχολή Ηλεκτρολόγων Μηχανικών και Μηχανικών Υπολογιστών, ΕΜΠ
Introduction: This scoping review has a two-fold purpose: (1) To supply information and provide a qualitative analysis of the remote aural rehabilitation services that are offered to both patients and care givers and (2) To describe and provide a qualitative analysis of the articles regarding network security of the system implementations and personal data privacy of the users, that are engaged into remote audiology for a wide spectrum of applications.
Methods: We searched among articles in scientific journals, manufacturers’ specification brochures, books and other relevant results that came up after searching at the previously mentioned sources. As search criteria for article inclusions, we set the origin of the articles to be scientific journals, the publishment date had to be between 2010-2020, the language of the article had to be in English and the presence of an abstract was mandatory. Then, a screening of the articles took place and after rejecting irrelevant ones, for reasons that are explained more thorough in the chapter of results, a brief total qualitative analysis and description of the studies took place, while the key elements of the articles were categorized via various scopes and were presented in summarized charts accordingly.
Results: After the selective search and picking process, based on the search criteria we had set and the screening of the articles, we ended up including (n=55) articles, that qualified for this scoping review. Of them, (n=26) articles were selected for the aural rehabilitation part, (n=15) articles for network security and personal data privacy, while (n=16) articles were in the broader spectrum of telehealth, which includes teleaudiology, that presented interesting data on our scopes. We saw that remote aural rehabilitation is both an evolving and well-timed part of audiology, which is capable of offering similar results compared to in-person services, while in many cases it offers significant benefits in financial, personal health, time saving etc sections compared to the classical approach. Regarding network security and data privacy, due to the technological advancements and the variety of data encryption protocols that exist, there are several implementations (and several proposals as well), which all have their pros and cons, but in a general view all of them can perform adequately in providing the result needed. In addition, more strict regulations and laws come up, related to the insurance of sensitive personal data, fact that cause skepticism to both users and providers and act suspensively to the use of the remote services.
Discussion: The potential and the remote services for the users of Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants and the rest rehabilitation ways, are constantly increasing and being improved in all aspects. Even though the total use of these kind of services is low, mostly due to lack of training and education, given the latest circumstances of people having difficulties in travelling, more and more care-givers have begun to implement remote services in their daily practice in order to provide remote services. The importance of safety in these services and the plurality of system implementations, in combinations with the stricter laws and regulations for personal data privacy, show the need for creating and applying a set of unified guidelines of minimum requirements for the remote services systems.
Conclusion: The results of this scoping review are positive and encouraging for the current situation in rehabilitation services in teleaudiology and for the further establishment in the care-givers’ everyday routine. Remote audiology systems’ infrastructure fulfils the basic elements for the secure provision of such services and the personal data privacy preservation. However, the creation and application of a set of unified guidelines for the systems’ implementation, in accordance to regulations and laws is recommended.
Teleaudiology, Remote fitting, Security, Privacy, Personal data