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Morning Sessions

Welcome 10:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. ET

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Overview

De Wet Swanepoel, ARC20 Conference Chair

Prioritizing Tele-Audiology for COVID-19 and Beyond 10:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. ET

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Speaker Info

De Wet Swanepoel, PhD
Professor of Audiology
University of Pretoria, South Africa

Program Overview

Learning Objectives
1. Describe how COVID-19 has accelerated Tele-Audiology.
2. Compare the differences between high-, low- and no-touch audiology.
3. Identify the role of Tele-Audiology in low- and no-touch audiology.

Summary Description
The COVID-19 crisis has ushered in a new era in hearing health care that requires a radical rethinking of service delivery in audiology. In the technology-driven field of audiology there are unique opportunities to leverage connected solutions for remote and telehealth services. Where accessibility, convenience and efficiency have been the primary drivers of telehealth, COVID-19 has made it about safety first and foremost considering the vulnerable profile of typical audiology patients.

Low- and no-touch alternatives to traditional care are now necessary for many patients. While traditional diagnostic assessment to differentiate hearing loss due to ear disease, which has a low prevalence, requires a sound-treated environment and a comprehensive test battery, a less controlled environment with fewer tests could suffice for hearing aid fittings. This means that more than 95 percent of adults with hearing loss could be served using alternative low- or no-touch audiological care. The technologies and service-delivery models that support these new care pathways will be explored. The COVID-19 pandemic has offered a unique opportunity to redefine and innovate how audiologists reach and serve patients in more responsive, efficient, and person-centered ways. 

Tele-Audiology in the VA: Detection & Diagnosis/Intervention & Support 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. ET

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Speaker Info

Chad Gladden, AuD and Rachel McArdle, PhD
VA National Audiology and Speech Pathology Program Office

Program Overview

Learning Objectives
1. Identify two different modes of Tele-Audiology.
2. Describe the process used in store and forward audiology exams.
3. Understand the utilization of Bluetooth technology and smart phones for making hearing aid programming changes.

Summary Description
The presentation will cover the current state of Tele-Audiology in VA. Additionally this course will highlight a store and forward method of testing that utilizes automated audiometry and image capture to allow for testing in locations without an audiologist. Presenter will review remote hearing aid programming apps that allow an audiologist to make programming changes to certain hearing aids via Bluetooth technology and a smart device. Other areas of audiologic rehabilitation provided through virtual care during COVID 19 will also be presented.

Ida Telecare Tools 11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. ET

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Speaker Info

Cherilee Rutherford, AuD
Senior Audiologist, Ida Institute

Program Overview

Learning Objectives
1. Reflect on the experiences of clients and professionals using telecare tools to prepare for consultations.
2. Describe the Ida Telecare suite of tools.
3. Review current research supporting the use and effectiveness of Ida Telecare tools.

Summary Description
Tele-Audiology offers the opportunity to deliver and receive care in flexible and individualized ways. The Ida Institute has developed Ida Telecare, a suite of online tools designed to empower patients to get actively involved in their own hearing care. By reflecting on important communication needs ahead of appointments, patients become able to guide clinicians on the support they need. This helps clinicians save time and ensures more focused and productive conversations in appointments.

Ida Telecare tools are freely available on the Ida Institute website and may also be embedded directly into a clinic’s own website for easier access and use.The Ida Institute have in recent years supported research studies and clinical pilots using the Ida Telecare tools which have contributed to the body of evidence for the tools’ feasibility and effectiveness in helping patients develop the necessary motivation to take action on their hearing loss, use hearing amplification, and learn to communicate well in daily life. The presentation will demonstrate the Ida Telecare tools and easy-to-use resources designed to introduce the tools to patients. It will also present the findings of the research studies and discuss their implications for effective and successful implementation of the tools in daily clinic.

Telehealth Supported Audiology Services with Hybrid Online and Face-to-Face Care 12:15 p.m. - 12:45 p.m. ET

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Speaker Info

Husmita Ratanjee-Vanmali
Clinical Audiologist, Hearing Research Clinic Non-Profit Company
PhD Candidate, Audiology
University of Pretoria, South Africa

Program Overview

Learning Objectives
1. Understand how online hearing screening can reach new patients and whether digital proficiency influences the uptake of hybrid services.
2. Understand patient help-seeking behavior, readiness and uptake of hearing care with hybrid online and face-to-face services.
3. Understand experiences and satisfaction of patients seeking hearing care with hybrid online and face-to-face services.

Summary Description
In our rapidly changing world, audiologists are exploring new hearing healthcare services using patient-centered, telehealth-supported models. Our research tested a hybrid hearing care service delivery model consisting of online and face-to-face modalities along the entire patient journey. Services included online screening and engagement, face-to-face diagnostic evaluation and hearing aid provision with online support and rehabilitation. We reached new patients using online marketing followed by a validated online hearing screening test and readiness management tools. Data from 930 patients who completed online hearing screening and online motivational engagement, of which 53 seen for a face-to-face diagnostic evaluation over a period of 24 months, will be presented. Results indicate that online screening of new patients and assessment of their readiness to receive hearing services is successful. Patients’ digital proficiency did not influence the uptake of hybrid hearing care services. Positive patient experience and satisfaction of hearing services received through this hybrid model, which complements the traditional hearing care model, will be discussed.

Questions and Discussions 12:45 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. ET

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Q&A Info

Morning speakers (Moderated by Dr. Swanepoel)

BREAK 1:15 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. ET

Afternoon Sessions

It’s Not the Technology It’s What You Do with the Technology: mHealth Empowers Users of Hearing Aids 2:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET

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Speaker Info

Melanie Ferguson, PhD
Head of Audiological Science, National Acoustic Laboratories (Australia)

Program Info

Learning Objectives
1. Summarize three patient benefits of using C2Hear.
2. Describe three key differences between C2hear and m2hear.
3. Identify the key components of Zimmerman’s Theory of Empowerment.

Summary Description
Knowledge is key to patient self-management and empowerment. C2Hear is an evidence-based online multimedia educational intervention designed for hearing aids users. C2Hear is effective in improving knowledge of hearing aids and communication, and increasing hearing aid handling skills, self-efficacy and use in new hearing aid users. C2Hear is freely available (c2hearonline.com), viewed >300K times globally.
To take advantage of the greater personalization and user-engagement afforded by mHealth technologies, C2Hear was repurposed for mobile technologies, known as m2Hear. The result was 42 short videos, tailored to meet individual needs, and embedded with activities, A mixed-methods study trialed m2Hear in 77 first-time hearing aid users in their everyday life. Qualitative data were analyzed deductively using the COM-B model.

There were significant improvements in social engagement, self-efficacy and hearing aid outcomes. m2Hear provided useful ‘on-the-go’ reminders and new information, which improved knowledge of hearing aids and communication (Capability). m2Hear was simple and straight forward to use, and improved personalization and accessibility (Opportunity). Provision of support and reassurance improved confidence and empowered participants to self-manage their hearing loss (Motivation).

Tele-Audiology -- A New Beginning: Focus on Flexibility and Scalability 2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET

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Speaker Info

Bopanna Ballachanda, PhD
President, Premier Consulting
Adjunct Professor, Texas Tech University Health Sciences

Program Info

Learning Objectives
1. Identify the ways to include Tele-Audiology in audiology practice to provide better patient care.
2. Learn the skills needed to implement and sustain Tele-Audiology in a clinic.
3. Recognize the significance of Tele-Audiology within a practice to manage patients effectively and efficiently in the future.

Summary Description
The concept of Tele-Audiology practice was not a popular term among audiologists due to reimbursement issues and concern that a lack of face to encounter was not conducive to optimal care. However, COVID 19 has made us revisit our thinking and help accelerate telecare in audiology. The presentation will focus on the flexibility and sustainability of Tele-Audiology in the future.

Hearing Aid Fittings: Finding New Ways That Work for Patients 3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. ET

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Speaker Info

Todd Ricketts, PhD
Professor and Vice Chair of Graduate Studies, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Program Info

Learning Objectives
1. Describe some of the current forces that are expected to affect current and future hearing health care service delivery models.
2. Describe a method to improve service efficiency.
3. Describe a possible limited services model of hearing aid provision aimed at competing successfully with a true OTC model.

Summary Description
The Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aid Law of August, 2017, which authorized the FDA to create category of OTC hearing aids for treatment of Mild-Moderate hearing loss in adults within 3 years is currently being realized. As part of the discussions leading to this law, unbundling of professional services in the pricing of hearing aids was also recommended. What will OTC mean for hearing health care professionals? How will it impact our current services? Reimbursement? Patient satisfaction and outcomes? Current data regarding patient’s ability to self-diagnose, self-fit and self-orient to amplification will be briefly presented when considering these questions. In addition, a multi-layer service model will be discussed that includes, at its highest level, individualized application of technology. Within this framework, individualizing selection and application of hearing aid technologies including limited service models which are aimed at providing better outcomes than true OTC, but are still price competitive, will be discussed.

Factors Driving Clinical Readiness and Uptake of Remote Hearing Aid Support Services 3:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. ET

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Speaker Info

Danielle Glista, PhD, AuD
Director, The Connected Hearing Healthcare Lab, Western University
Assistant Professor, The School of Communication Sciences & Disorders, Faculty of Health Sciences

Program Info

Learning Objectives
1. Describe some benefits of a Connected Health model of care in the provision of remote hearing aid support.  
2. Identify the top 3 factors perceived to influence the clinical uptake of remote hearing aid support amongst Canadian Audiologists.
3. Describe several readiness dimensions that are important to consider when assessing barriers and facilitators to the remote/virtual delivery of hearing aid support services.

Summary Description
Remote service delivery models, including those offering hearing aid management and support services, have gained considerable interest in the field of audiology and are rapidly being implemented into clinical practice around the world. This relates to 1) recent technological advancements enabling service provision at a distance; 2) the growing need for alternate delivery models to improve access to audiology services globally; and 3) efforts to mitigate current and future effects of global pandemics. This presentation will review important clinical uptake and readiness factors emerging from research in Canada for researchers and clinicians to consider when implementing remote audiology services specific to hearing aid fitting.

Practical Solutions for Assessment and Intervention in Tele-Audiology 4:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. ET

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Speaker Info

Samantha Kleindienst Robler, AuD, PhD
Audiologist and Clinical Informatics Lead, Norton Sound Health Corporation

Program Info

Learning Objectives
1. Describe current telehealth models and relevant research for adult assessment and intervention.
2. Describe telehealth solutions and workflows for remote and isolated communities.
3. Evaluate case examples and best practices that can applied to their own practice.

Summary Description
An overview of telehealth models with a focus on adult assessment and intervention will be reviewed. Relevant research will be discussed. Practical solutions will be provided for various types of services and situations using different telehealth models including asynchronous, real time, remote control, mHealth, clinic to clinic, and direct to consumer.  Real practical solutions and case examples for audiology services provided in remote northwest Alaska will be described.

Questions and Discussions 4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET

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Speaker Info

Afternoon speakers (Moderated by Dr. Swanepoel)