In 2018, Phonak officially announced its commitment to develop best practice guidelines for eAudiology and launched its first eSolutions, including Remote Support. I first learned about the development of these eAudiology solutions a few years earlier. At that time, it was hard to imagine audiological care being provided remotely, however we had seen digital transformation take off in comparable healthcare industries and knew the trend was growing.
The initial response to these solutions was actually greater than we expected. After trialing this new service delivery model, the majority of HCPs and their clients, whom we surveyed, not only reported satisfaction with the quality of service but even said they would recommend it to others.1 It was about more than just added convenience. The majority of HCPs remarked that making fine-tuning adjustments for their clients both in real-time and in their real-life environments provided more accuracy and fewer misinterpretations. Clients said they appreciated the ability to provide their HCPs with immediate feedback while they were using their hearing aids in the real-world.
Over the last two years, we have continued to invest in eAudiology research and connected with experts in the industry to develop best practice guidelines and create tools and resources to implement and support this service delivery model. A lot of work was done to make sure our eSolutions not only enhance convenience, but also ensure best practice.
eAudiology, more of a priority than ever
When we rang in the new year in 2020, we had no idea that our eAudiology solutions would soon become a necessity. As COVID-19 started spreading across the globe, it was obvious that HCPs would need to offer clinical services digitally if they wanted to continue providing audiological care to those who need it immediately. Fortunately, eAudiology was already a proven digital alternative to face-to-face hearing care for clients trialing a device and needing access to fine tuning and counseling.
In response to COVID-19, Phonak has accelerated the launch of new Phonak eSolutions and web-based resources to ensure every HCP has the tools, knowledge and skills needed to perform key hearing journey milestones online. Our eSolutions allow HCPs to support clients throughout the hearing journey, from hearing screening to remote first fittings and adjustments in real-time, to counseling and aftercare, all while clients remain in the safety of their homes.
These are the eSolutions available today:
- Phonak Hearing Screener is a simple online hearing screener that takes only minutes to complete and provides an immediate report. If you have an existing client with an audiogram on file who believes their hearing might have changed, you can use this screener to confirm if further diagnostics are needed.
- Phonak Remote Support allows you to fit, fine-tune and support your clients’ listening needs remotely and in real time. This can help you strengthen relationships with clients in your database by addressing their urgent hearing needs while keeping them safe at home.
- Phonak Hearing Diary* allows your clients to capture and share feedback about their hearing aid satisfaction via the myPhonak app. With this feature, you can ensure they are progressing with their hearing aid trial and address challenges without waiting for an in-person visit.
While these eSolutions can be used to provide quality care which is comparable to face-to-face appointments, there are still a number of services we are not able to offer online today. It is our priority to urgently enhance and expand our eSolution tools over coming weeks as we all adhere to stay-at-home orders and work to ‘flatten the curve’.
HCPs at the heart of audiological care
It is important to note that with eAudiology, the HCP remains essential in the process. It’s the HCP’s expertise, compassion and commitment to improving the hearing health of their clients that ensure the best outcomes, regardless of whether service is delivered in person or online. And whilst these apps and tools will be valuable even after the pandemic subsides, the goal and intention is that eAudiology services will complement, not replace, face-to-face consultations in the future.
But for now, during these unprecedented times, eAudiology makes it possible for HCPs to continue providing quality hearing healthcare until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and clinic doors can open once again. We are here to support you so you can support your clients.
Find all the resources you need to get up and running, from setup through to first Remote Support fittings and aftercare here. Stay tuned for more eSolution offerings from Phonak in the coming weeks.
*Available in USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland.
1 Angley, G. P., Schnittker, J. A., & Tharpe, A. M. (2017). Remote hearing aid support : The next frontier. Journal of American Academy of Audiology, 28(10)