In order to serve patients’ needs during the pandemic, the healthcare industry has quickly adapted to telemedicine. But if COVID-19 continues through the winter—or lasts even longer—we might see a shift in how that technology is utilized. In fact, when it comes to ear exams, that shift is already happening: thanks to teleaudiology, practitioners can now perform many ear exams from home, thus creating a safer system for patients.
In the changing landscape of COVID-19, it’s important that your organization understands new ways to use telemedicine effectively. Additionally, it’s integral that you have the right audiovisual (AV) tools to make telemedicine appointments as effective and easy as possible. The need for healthcare access will only continue to grow, meaning that good AV will also become more crucial.
Here are three ways in which good audiovisual is essential to teleaudiology:
Whether you’re an ENT or general practitioner, hearing exams are a common part of the job. And when a patient has trouble hearing, it’s vital that they figure out why. Usually, in-person exams are utilized, but they don’t necessarily need to be. With good audiovisual, you’ll be able to conduct certain hearing exams remotely, which means your patient won’t have to leave their home. This technology is already being used by a number of patients, from those with 10+ years of hearing loss to newborns. As an added bonus, not only do these remote setups keep patients safer, but they also appear to enhance the quality of healthcare received.
Along with audio screenings, teleaudiology will allow you to help your clients with hearing aids. Depending on the brand, some hearing aids can be programmed remotely. However, you’ll want to make sure that these devices are programmed correctly, and that’s where effective auidovisual comes in. Once programmed, you’ll be able to talk with your patient to make sure everything is functioning correctly. And if it isn’t, you can make further changes until the equipment is working just right, all without needing to leave your desk.
Right now, the focus of teleaudiology is on safely treating patients. We’re all trying to avoid going outside, so if an exam can be administered remotely, why shouldn’t it be? But in the future, teleaudiology won’t just make appointments safer; it’ll also make them easier. Because audiology is a specialized skill, many people with hearing problems are unable to schedule an appointment, as clinics tend to book quickly. In other cases, the closest ENT may not be for hundreds of miles, which essentially makes it inaccessible. Yet still others don’t have the mobility or transportation to reach an office, no matter how close it may be. All in all, these problems show that access to audiologists is limited, and through good AV and teleaudiology, providers can increase that access.
Teleaudiology is making it easier than ever for hearing-impaired patients to get the help they need. Certainly, the technology has shown its worth during the current pandemic, and should a future emergency hit, the tools will remain equally vital. But even for normal, daily needs, teleaudiology has proven its value. And if you want to provide the most effective teleaudiology to your patients, you need the most effective audiovisual tools.