The CI Futures Forum summer 2020 webinars from the Global CI Collaborative, a group of global leaders in hearing and cochlear implant care, explores how covid-19 is catalysing innovation in care pathways, ENT surgical processes and telehealth channels.
Reconfiguring CI Services: the new ‘normal’ was on July 22, with Katherine Bouton, a CI wearer, seeing benefits in the pandemic.
- Captioned, virtual meetings give universal access. Speech to text tools are hyper-mobilising for new customer uses.
- Transparent face masks are vital in medical/dental supplies.
- Medical up-skilling needs to include communication strategies for positive hearing interactions, in-person and remote care.
- People with hearing issues clarifying communication needs.
Frank Lin, ENT CI surgeon and public health researcher at Johns Hopkins University, said that with a billion older adults globally, hearing health is brain health, with early childhood education and good hearing care offsetting dementia risk in mid- to later life.
Bruce Gantz from Iowa, shared how patient interactions and programming for hearing health were re-established for the Covid era:
- Patients wear masks; audiologists/MDs wear shields & masks.
- Telehealth programming occurs via laptop and cable loans, with screen-sharing tools used via Skype for Business.
- Web-based hearing tests gauge hearing in quiet and in noise.
- Adjoining auditory rooms for sheltering patients with remote admin tools, plus curbside drop-off for device or parts repairs.
Dr Roland at NYU and Dr Gantley at Nottingham, had tested the efficacy of PPE options in their settings, and found modified full-face snorkel masks decreased audible communication by about 50%, with full-face respirator masks least comfortable to wear.
Thomas Lennarz, at Hannover Medical School, shared that a post-covid patient got a cochlear implant under local anaesthetic on leaving ICU, for an ensuing hearing loss. Robert Briggs in Melbourne, found remote mapping and care, online team meets and satellite staff essential in continuing clinical services.