When faced with the thought of changing the status quo, some of us relish the ’clean slate’ and opportunity to expand horizons, whilst many of us fear the unknown and question the need for change. “Why do we need to change?”… “What’s wrong with the way things are now?”…“What does it mean for me / my job / my business?”
Either way, the process of change can be arduous and slow for everyone, even those who view change as an exciting opportunity to evolve. This is because it involves taking the time to look back and reflect upon past structures / constructs, identify areas for potential improvement, and then formulate a plan for future improvement, with a new ‘modus operandi’. It involves a certain level of flexibility and adaptability, which frankly, can be daunting, especially if you are a creature of habit and the existing state of affairs seems to work well – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” right?
Customer is King!
Well, not quite! These days, especially with the proliferation of digitalisation transforming just about every industry, including hearing healthcare, it would be remiss to remain stagnant – oblivious to the needs of the consumer – negligent, if you will.
If you consider how we have traditionally practised audiology, from a clinician’s perspective, why change the high touch, face-to-face service model? We have the privilege of working in a wonderfully gratifying industry where we literally see the delight on the face of someone whose life we have changed by helping them hear better… and they love us for it! Visiting us in our clinics is the ‘highlight of the day for our patients’, some might say. But is it? Or is it actually inconvenient, awkward and a schlep for some of our patients and clients to travel in for their appointments with us, possibly as a result of the distance that needs to be travelled, mobility or transport challenges, or even other health, financial or time constraints? Wouldn’t they be more satisfied with your overall service if you had the means to offer them exactly what they have been longing for – remote hearing care and distance support?
Change is hard, but help is at hand
Technology now exists that offers exactly this convenience and quality of care. A study conducted at Vanderbilt University revealed that 88% of hearing aid wearers prefer remote support under difficult conditions and 92% of them would recommend it to other users1. In the same study, just over 80% of audiologists found remote support as efficient as face-to-face appointments and were satisfied with the outcome. Yet, despite this high percentage, we know that many hearing care providers remain on the fence, resisting the inclusion of some form of remote support into their day to day schedules. Many are keen to adapt, but just do not know where to start and how to go about getting their clinics set up for providing distance care.
For this reason, Phonak called in the experts! Over the last couple of years, pioneers in this new and emerging field of eAudiology have been collaborating with Phonak to share their knowledge and experience with hearing care professionals around the world. Most recently, they have written articles in a series entitled, “Phonak ABCs of eAudiology”. These have been published online in the Hearing Review, and set out to break down the various considerations towards eAudiology implementation into easy-to-follow steps.
Change can be uncomfortable, but it can also be great. The time is now to jump on the bandwagon. Digital healthcare is here to stay.
Visit the dedicated Phonak eAudiology landing page to learn about eAudiology latest evidence and best practice guidelines.
1Angley G., et al. (2017) Remote hearing aid support: The next frontier. Journal of American Academy of Audiology 00:1-8. DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.16093