HHS 440: Technology in Health and Human Services

Week 5 - Instructor Guidance


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Click the image above to check out the apps that have been developed for people with
Autism Spectrum Disorders and the people working with them!

Learning Outcomes

This week students will:

  • Evaluate the advances to the design of medical devices made possible by technology and how they have improved the quality of health care to clients.
  • Evaluate the advantages of computerized medical monitoring systems over previous systems.


In this section you will find my own thoughts and teaching on the subject matter. This does not substitute for the assigned and suggested course readings and other materials.

When considering medical devices, I can speak most authoritatively to my own experience with hearing aids.

My story is that I have never really passed a hearing test. All the way back into my childhood, when hearing tests were conducted at schools on a regular basis, I was always identified as having a hearing problem. However, the technology of the day was not precise enough to warrant me getting hearing aids (and my family could not afford them anyway).

A few years ago one of my teaching faculty, who happened to be a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, told me that the technology had drastically changed and that I may be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation services. I was skeptical, but I looked into it anyway.

I was introduced to Phonak brand hearing aids...and these are not at all like the hearing aids of yesterday!

phonak hearing aid
This may look like any other hearing aid, but it is digital, wireless, and computer controlled to meet my specific hearing loss needs.

So...what does the research say about hearing aids and their impact?

Kochkin et al. (2010) reports that although hearing aid technology has changed dramatically over the years, there are still many individuals who do not take advantage of the benefits of hearing aids (approximately 4 million people). In addition, of those that have received hearing aids, approximately 12.4% leave them "in the drawer"...meaning they do not use them.

Researchers say that quality control at the point of dispensing (the audiologists and other providers of hearing aid services) is the problem. The ten areas of concern at the point of dispensing include:

  1. Failing to verify the fitting with probe-microphone measurements
  2. Understanding when to use an open fitting and when not to
  3. Assuming the manufacturer defaults are correct for each patient
  4. Not taking manual dexterity into account when selecting the hearing aids
  5. Not performing appropriate validation measures
  6. Not conducting the appropriate counseling
  7. Using the first-time, new-user, or inexperienced-user gain settings and not revisiting the settings over time
  8. Fitting a hearing aid without “buy in” from the patient
  9. Assuming that automatic environmental steering programs are accurate and the hearing aids switch appropriately
  10. Failing to use newer tests to help with selection, fitting, and counseling.

So, as you can see, even with advanced technology, the human portion of distribution of that technology and appropriate education and assessment of patients is still critical.

This is the type of research I want you to do in your discussion below!

Now take a look at this citation...way too many authors!!


Kochkin, S., Beck, D. L., Christensen, L. A., Compton-Conley, C., Fligor, B. J., Kricos, P. B., McSpaden, J.B., Mueller, H.G., Nillson, M.J., Northern, J.L., Powers, T.A., Sweetow, R.W., Taylor, B., & Turner, R. (2010). MarkeTrak VIII: The impact of the hearing healthcare professional on hearing aid user success. Hearing Review, 17(4), 12-34.


In this section you will find any specific instructions or ideas I may have for you to support your graded work. Please read the instructions for each task in the course as well as the information I have here.

Discussion: Medical Devices

This discussion will focus on those with disabilities and other special needs. Your research should focus on this, not only on the video content but on other disabilities. Consider the latest technology for working with kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders, consider hearing aids, consider other mobility technology.

While a lot of this class has been focused on developing telemedicine, this week we broaden our scope to include all sorts of technology. Be sure to locate two scholarly articles...see my example above...related to your post.

Final Paper

For the final paper be sure to read the instructions give to you in Week 5. Use the rubric and these instructions to guide your paper...that is why these resources are provided to you.

If writing is a weak point for you, seek help.

Based on my observations of student writing, keep these tips in mind:

  • Do your research. Yes, this is hard work, but that is what learning is about. I can tell instantly when someone has not really read the article they are citing
  • Peer reviewed articles are not found using Google (maybe Google Scholar)...they are found looking in the Ashford Library online databases.
  • Construct an outline of what you want to say and follow that outline. (the outline is essentially the bullet points in the Week 5 instructions)
  • Don't try to BS a teacher!
  • Pay attention to what you are writing and that it makes sense. Give it to someone to read before handing it in.

Final Presentation

Here are some tips on your slideshow:

  • Your slides should follow the same outline as your paper
  • Your slides should not be a COPY of your paper...each slide should provide about 4-5 key items related to the portion of the paper.
  • Consider the 5x5 rule...each slide, aside from titles, should be no more than 5 words across and no more than 5 bullet points down.
  • Use good color choices for backgrounds and text
  • If you use images, insert them into the presentation and make them relevant to the topic. Window-dressing your slideshow with icons and senseless images is unprofessional