Written by Sonia Hamidi, Au.D., CCC-A
The New Normal
Our world has significantly changed over the course of the last few months. COVID-19 has created many firsts for numerous individuals, including Audiologists. Audiology care has to evolve with the given circumstances in order to serve our patients with the utmost quality of care.
Remote and in-person care
Ratanjee-Vanmali et al, 2020 found that there are five steps to success in creating a hybrid (Remote and In-person) treatment plan for our hearing aid patients.
Step 1: Online hearing screens located on the practice website are found to be extremely effective when done appropriately. They also are great for curious patients. Some might simply take the test just to see if hearing loss is present.
Step 2: Following the online hearing screen, there should always be follow-up with the patient to review the results. This should be done regardless of whether a hearing loss is present or not. For those potential patients who do exhibit some hearing loss, the remote audiologist should have a fast response rate to reach out to the patient in an effort to bring them into the office.
Step 3: During this voice call or chat, the remote audiologist will encourage the patient to come into the office for an in-person diagnostic audiological evaluation and hearing aid evaluation. This will allow for proper evaluation and will build rapport with the clinic audiologist and patient in-person.
Step 4: Next, the patient will have their hearing aid fitting in person. The clinic audiologist will counsel, and teach all care and maintenance of the devices in-person, setting the patient up for hearing aid success.
Step 5: All hearing aid check appointments following the fitting will be remote. Coaching, counseling, support, and adjustments will all occur remotely. The patient is able to stay in their home in order for the remote audiologist to make the appropriate adjustments based on the given needs. In-person hearing aid checks are always an option, if the patient would like to go into the office.
Benefits of remote and in-person Audiology care
- Allows access to care for all types of patients
- immunocompromised patients
- working patients
- patients with mobility issues and or transportation needs
- patients living in rural areas
- Allows the patient to have the best of both worlds
- In- person care
- Remote care
- Convenient for patients
- Flexible for patients
- Instant feedback on adjustment via virtual visit or chat
This hybrid approach will allow patients to have options during the trying times we are currently living in, and for life after COVID-19. Remote care and in-person care are our new normal.
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