The BAA Service Quality Committee (SQC) and Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness (ManCAD) staff have produced a series of Remote Working documents. The aim is introduce audiology professionals to the fundamental principles of telemedicine and to support audiology services in the UK as they begin to provide care to patients remotely. It is assumed the guidance herein will be used during the current COVID-19 crisis and beyond (with updates). The documents aim to provide information for hearing professionals to remotely fit hearing aids and provide auditory and vestibular rehabilitation to paediatric and adult populations.
Telehealth can be broadly defined as ‘the use of communications technologies to provide and support health care at a distance’. The field of teleaudiology is evolving rapidly and new suggestions for practice are being published daily; thus, the guidance documents will, by necessity, change over time. In its current form, the documentation provides key recommendations for the practice of telemedicine in general and will allow an immediate, ongoing and standardised teleaudiology service during the extreme situation of COVID-19.
Please use these guides in conjunction with the Professional Bodies Joint Guidance. The aim is to improve outcomes for patients and give hearing professionals confidence to choose remote working pathways. Working remotely wherever possible (even if appointments are done in-part remotely and in-part face-to-face), will ultimately maintain patient and staff safety during COVID-19, and allow services to continue during this crisis.
The guidance consists of six documents:
1. Background and Evidence: Review of the literature pertaining to teleaudiology that can be conducted by the patient alone (e.g. online testing, apps, etc.) or via care with a provider in one location and the patient in another, examining the extent to which they have been scientifically validated.
2. Practical Guidance Remote Care: Practical information and tips about enhancing accessibility (e.g. captioning, English as a second language), managing and assessing risk, measuring outcome, confidentiality and consent, and links to NHS guidance for remote care.
3. Checklist: Printable checklists for patients and clinicians to support remote care.
4. Adult Hearing Services: Advice and information about hearing aid programming, wax management and adult rehabilitation with remote care and tools and apps for self-management
5. Paediatric Services: Guidelines for paediatric remote care services.
6. Vestibular Services: Advice and information about the provision of remote care for vestibular disorders including a list of online resources.
This work has been undertaken by the BAA Service Quality Committee team and reviewed by BAA Board and Professor Kevin Munro.
These documents will be updated to reflect new scientific evidence, feedback from the profession, insights gained from its implementation, and availability/accessibility of new technologies (e.g. remote fitting hearing aids) in services. For these reasons, we request your constructive input to this evolving document. Please email your comments, questions and suggestions to the editors: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Access and download the documents below:
Sample documents and letters are available to download.
Thanks to Adam Beckman and his team at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust and Royal Berkshire for sharing their documents with BAA.
Thank you to everyone who attended one or both of the Remote working webinars. You can watch the webinars, flick through the slides and read the Q&A from each session below.