1Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service, Cairns , Australia, 2Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland, Clinical Excellence Division, Department of Health, Brisbane, Australia, 3School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
An outsourced, student-assisted tele-audiology service has been implemented and evaluated in response to a significant unmet need for on-site audiology services to support Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists in the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service. Prior to the introduction of tele-audiology there was no Queensland Health audiology service available in the health service and audiology was outsourced to a private provider. The aim of the study was to assess the acceptability of the new model to patients and other stakeholders (e.g. ENTs), and to investigate its effectiveness.
Patients were offered audiology appointments conducted via telehealth at the hospital, on the same day as their face-to-face ENT consultation. Tele-audiology assessments were conducted by students and clinical educators from the University of Queensland, and facilitated by a local allied health assistant.
The outcomes of the service will be presented, including patient waiting times, attendance rates, success or otherwise of remote testing, length of audiology appointments, and outcomes of the consecutive audiology/ENT appointments. The satisfaction of patients, staff, students and specialists with the new service will also be described. Preliminary findings indicate that the majority of patients are able to access a co-located tele-audiology assessment on the same day as their ENT appointment (94%). The assessment was successfully completed in 95% of cases with results immediately available to the specialists. To date, 96% of participants have indicated positive satisfaction with the service. Staff, student, and specialist satisfaction data collection is ongoing and will be presented.