Telehealth – the Tasmanian Experience with Infant Diagnostic Audiology and Cochlear Implant Clinics

Miss Michelle Chacksfield1, Lee Kethel1

1Statewide Audiology Service, Royal Hobart Hospital, Hobart, Australia

The Audiology Service is responsible for providing two state wide programs: A cochlear implant program and a Universal new born hearing screening and diagnostic service. While hearing screening is provided by local staff at each maternity hospital, all other services are provided by clinicians based in Hobart. When the program began monthly outreach, clinics were provided in Launceston, Devonport and Burnie. With increasing demand, it became impossible to provide the required services during monthly outreach clinics. Patients unable to be seen in a clinically appropriate time at their closest hospital were required to travel to Hobart and interstate. Apart from the cost and disruption to families this also lead to fragmented care and in some cases patients not receiving the level of care they required for optimal outcomes.

 In order to meet this challenge, we have, over the last 4 years transitioned from an outreach model of care to a telehealth model of care. We now provide a range of services via telehealth. This includes Cochlear implant speech processing programming and trouble shooting, rehabilitation including speech pathology and case conferences for our implantees as well as diagnostic assessment of infants referred from the Universal new born hearing screening program.

 In this presentation, we will discuss the positives and negatives of a telehealth clinic, as well as our patient’s feedback. We will also provide some recommendations as to what is needed for a successful telehealth program based on our experience.


Biography:

Michelle is a Diagnostic Audiologist, employed by the Statewide Audiology Service since 2014.  The Statewide Audiology Service provides a full range of diagnostic services including behavioural and electrophysiological tests for children and adults, Cochlear implant assessment and rehabilitation, New born hearing screening and diagnostic assessment and support.

After graduating from the University of Melbourne with a Masters degree in Clinical Audiology in 2006, Michelle worked in a variety of government and hospital audiology settings in Australia, Scotland and England.  Prior to joining Statewide Audiology Service, Michelle worked for several years in the Great Ormond Street Hospital Cochlear Implant Clinic, London.

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