Virtual drop-in clinic for Hearing Aid patients

Susannah Goggins

Background to the Project

Audiology offers a ‘drop-in’ service for hearing aid maintenance and support.  Patients attend with difficulties such as needing hearing aid replacements, retubing of ear moulds, discussing changes in their communication needs or general advice and support.

Our patients need timely access to support due to their reliance on hearing devices.  Review of this service revealed that many of the issues patients attend for could have been managed by the patient themselves with some initial support.  We are therefore working on ways to encourage self-management.

Work during the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated that many patients were helped remotely when given advice over the telephone.  However, for many of our patients, conversing over the telephone can be difficult, especially if their hearing device is not working.

The Project

As a service, we have been using Attend Anywhere to perform some remote, video appointments for scheduled appointments (booked in advance) as part of Audiology patient pathways.  Our idea for this project is to investigate the use of an Attend Anywhere Waiting Room to allow patients to ‘drop-in’ to a virtual clinic, attended by a clinician during advertised opening times.  This would allow access for those with hearing impairments to a clinician for patients to discuss issues and triage appropriately.  The advantage of a video consultation in this respect is that if the clinician can see the patient, we can more easily help with fault finding and practical elements such as correct ear mould insertion and retubing.

Anticipated benefits

We hope to offer this service to a group of patients recently fitted with hearing aids to look at the uptake, patient opinion and the appointment outcomes. We hope that this will also encourage self-management of hearing aids, provide timely support, and prevent some patients from needing to attend the hospital or converse on the telephone.