While I do not consider myself a Luddite*, I must admit that I have been somewhat “playing ostrich” and keeping my head in the sand when it comes to eAudiology and telehealth services.
Well, maybe I wasn’t hiding so much as just ‘peeking.’
I had trouble fully embracing it due to issues like reimbursement, infrastructure challenges, patient-provider learning curves, and quite frankly, a bit of reluctance to change from face-to-face visits. As the nudge from, and needs incurred during, a global pandemic has pushed this service delivery model into full view. There is no hiding or even peeking now!
IJA supplement dedicated to eAudiology
The International Journal of Audiology just published a supplement with a collection of articles related to eAudiology. In it, dozens of renowned experts share perspectives and research from all parts of the world, including South Africa, UK, Switzerland, Canada, Australia and US. As information in this supplement shows, for our patients’ sake, perhaps we all need to embrace the positive results eAudiology can bring.
eAudiology (often referred to as connected health, teleaudiology, mHealth, eHealth, remote fittings, telehealth, and other terms) has been an interesting part of our audiological practice evolution. It has shown promise in revolutionizing patient care, and patient outcomes.
As we increasingly become a globally digitally savvy society, new technology is being introduced and new clinical protocols are being developed. Laws and reimbursement are changing. Many hearing care professionals (HCPs) are actively looking for ways to provide eAudiology service to enhance their patient outcomes, expand reach of services, and reduce costs.
As HCPs we look to evidenced-based practices. We need to know that the digital solutions and protocols we employ have been through professional and scientific scrutiny, and are within our scope of practice. How fortunate are we, then to have so much information from esteemed researchers all in one place:
This “Connected Health” IJA supplement contains a wealth of timely information as I have summarized below:
- Hearing screening apps can expand equitable hearing care service delivery
Discover how hearing screening access can be increased (and time to intervention potentially decreased) by using trained non- health care community workers.1
- mHealth apps can (re) move walls for your first-time hearing aid user
Learn how you can extend your aural rehabilitative reach beyond your office with mHealth apps that provide first-time hearing aid users benefit beyond a face-to-face office visit.2
- Insights on developing a quality remote fitting plan
Explore how to improve quality of remote hearing health care by recognizing and addressing healthcare provider concerns and challenges.3
- An mHealth tool that can help you personalize hearing aid fittings and meet real-world needs
This pediatric-focused article describes how including in-situ measurements such as EMA (Ecological Momentary Assessment) can help you understand a listener’s unique experiences outside of the clinic. With this tool, you can potentially personalize hearing aid fittings to meet real-world needs.4
- Evidence that eAudiology removes barriers to access and affords more choice
This scoping review of numerous, relatively recent studies reveal that hearing care via tele-health has emerged as a positive service delivery model by removing barriers for access to care and affording more choice to patients and providers.5
- A mixed approach (of both remote and in-person appointments) can be successful
Are you wanting to incorporate more eAudiology services into your practice? Read more on how a mixed approach of both in-person and telehealth follow-up appointments can be a part of a successful patient aural rehabilitation journey.6
- Smartphone apps can benefit your patients in their hearing rehabilitative care
Smartphones have become ubiquitous and have users of all ages. Timmer and colleagues provide convincing evidence on remote hearing rehabilitative care supported by smartphone apps. Their study showed that apps can provide patient benefit and may be used to augment patient care beyond face-to-face audiological visits. 7
Sometimes it is hard to keep an eye on all the literature out there. Supplements like this one can be beneficial by providing an abundance of information in a focused issue. Personally, I’ll be staying out of the sand and making a coffee date with this IJA Connected Health supplement for some quality reading/learning time. I hope you will, too!
Phonak has sponsored this IJA supplement so it is open access for all. You can access it here.
* Luddite (definition): a person opposed to new technology
- Dawood, N., Mahomed-Asmail, F., Louw, C. & Swanepoel, D. W. (2020). Mhealth hearing screening for children by non-specialist health workers in communities. International Journal of Audiology. doi: 10.1080/14992027.2020.1829719
- Ferguson, M. A., Maidment, D. W., Gomez, R., Coulson, N. & Wharrad, H. (2020). The feasibility of an m-health educational programme (m2Hear) to improve outcomes in first-time hearing aid users. International Journal of Audiology. doi: 10.1080/14992027.2020.1825839
- Glista, D., O’Hagan, R., Moodie, S. & Scollie, S. (2020). An examination of clinical uptake factors for remote hearing aid support: a concept mapping study with audiologists. International Journal of Audiology. doi: 10.1080/14992027.2020.1795281
- Glista, D., O’Hagan, R., Van Eeckhoutte, M., Lai, Y. & Scollie, S. (2021). The use of ecological momentary assessment to evaluate real-world aided outcomes with children. International Journal of Audiology. doi:10.1080/14992027.2021.1881629
- Muñoz, K., Nagaraj, N. K. & Nichols, N. (2020). Applied teleaudiology research in clinical practice during the past decade: a scoping review. International Journal of Audiology. doi: 10.1080/14992027.2020.1817994
- Tao, K. F. M., Moreira, T. D. C., Jayakody, D. M. P., Swanepoel, D. W., Brennan-Jones, C. G., Coetzee, L., & Eikelboom, R. H. (2020). Teleaudiology hearing aid fitting follow-up consultations for adults: single blinded crossover randomised control trial and cohort studies. International Journal of Audiology. doi: 10.1080/14992027.2020.1805804
- Timmer, B. H. B., Launer, S. & Hickson, L. (2020). Using smartphone technology to support the adult audiologic rehabilitation journey. International Journal of Audiology. doi: 10.1080/14992027.2020.1854483