Master of Science
Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Background: Globally, the increasing prevalence of hearing loss and need for improved access to hearing healthcare services, highlights the growing need for alternative service delivery models. A Connected Health model emerges as a solution for this need, focusing on the use of telecommunication technologies. This model, extended to audiology, can help to better ‘connect’ a patient to their own care process and to their provider during audiological diagnostics, treatment, and management services, at a distance and in an effective and timely manner. The strong capacity for and underutilization of Connected Audiology within current aural (re)habilitation service models have led to research around the “readiness” factors that are contributing to a low uptake of remote services within Canada.
Objective: This survey-based study aimed to describe audiologists’ readiness to adopt Connected Audiology for remote hearing aid fitting using a modified framework for eHealth readiness.
Methods: An analytic, cross-sectional quantitative survey called the Connected Audiology Readiness Evaluation (C.A.R.E.) was conducted using online data collection methods. Practicing audiologists, across Canada, were recruited via professional networks/associations to identify the main factors associated with clinician readiness to adopt remote hearing aid fitting services into clinical practice.
Results: Reported readiness levels around the implementation of Connected Audiology displayed across the 8 CARE dimensions are as follows. High readiness levels are reported for the following dimensions: practice context, social capital, patient-provider relationship, organizational support and attitude; average readiness levels are reported for the access and aptitude dimensions; and low readiness for the standards dimension with a high need for the development and implementation of guidance documents to support implementation.
Conclusion: Findings from this survey will inform researchers, clinicians and policymakers of the main areas needing support for the uptake of Connected Audiology, guiding future planning, development, and implementation efforts. In addition, findings from this study can help guide Canadian audiologists in the integration of remote hearing aid fitting services into routine clinical practices.
Summary for Lay Audience
With the number of people world-wide affected by hearing loss, the knowledge that this number will increase in coming years, and with limited availability of professionals in the field of audiology, there is a need for alternative models of service delivery in clinical practice. Connected Audiology emerges as a solution to offer coverage for those who have limited contact with qualified professionals in audiology (e.g. geographical barriers). The aim of this study is to identify the factors associated with readiness to adopt Connected Audiology, including the identification of barriers and facilitators to its use, from audiologists’ perspective. Overall the findings indicate; high readiness levels when considering practice context, patient-provider relationship, organizational support and attitude; average readiness levels for the access, social capital and aptitude dimensions; and low readiness levels when considering the standards dimension with a high need for development and implementation of guidance documents to support implementation. Findings from this study help inform researchers, audiologists, and policymakers around the readiness levels of audiologists in Canada to uptake Connected Audiology and remote hearing aid fittings services.
Perez Velez, Luisa Natalia, "An Exploration of Audiologists' Readiness to Adopt Connected Hearing Healthcare for Remote Hearing Aid Fitting" (2020). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 7459.