What is telehealth?
Telehealth refers to remote health care services that enable you to speak to health care professionals directly over the phone or via video consultations.
This could be either from the safety and comfort of your own home or while you’re out and about and on the go.
Does telehealth really work?
Although a relatively new concept in the world of audiology, telehealth has become a much more familiar concept over the last year, as the need for an alternative to face-to-face health appointments has been required due to COVID lockdowns and social distancing measures in place. Telehealth has therefore been key in ensuring continued access to health care for millions of Australians.
Since March 2020, additional telehealth services where added to the Australian Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) to support these changes, and in just June 2021 alone, there was an astounding 3.4 million telehealth consultations reported across the country
While telehealth appointments have become more readily available across various facets of health care, you still might find yourself asking, –‘do they really work for hearing care?’ The answer is most definitely yes!
Theo Saunders, Head of Teleaudiology at our sister company, Blamey Saunders hears
, has seen firsthand the benefits telehealth hearing care has had for many of their clients - “Telehealth is a vital component that allows us to provide the best, overall hearing health care for our clients. One of the key points to note about telehealth is how much of an understanding we can get of our clients exact hearing situation and tailor their care and hearing solution accordingly.”
Close to 40% of all appointments at Connect Hearing and Blamey Saunders are telehealth appointments. This ranges from an initial phone consultation with our telehealth experts to a complete remote hearing aid fitting. “Our telehealth appointments allow us to better understand a client’s hearing needs in their own, every day environment,” says Theo.
“A common struggle for someone with hearing loss is communication with their partner, often due to a variety of factors such as communication habits relative to the geography of their home; factors that could be easily fixed by a quick re-tune of their hearing aids. This at times can be difficult to determine at a face-to-face appointment and is where telehealth provides us with a deeper connection and understanding of our clients exact needs as we are assisting them whilst they are in the their ‘real world’ hearing setting. This in turn enables us to provide a solution that best suits their lifestyle and environment.”
It is the convenience of speaking to a hearing care expert, while in the safety and comfort of their own home that appeals to many existing telehealth clients today. This remote service offering also enables those who live in rural communities or are unable to visit a clinic, easy access to the best hearing care – wherever they are.
Eliza is a qualified audiometrist, for the last 8 years she specialises in remote fitting and tuning new hearing aids for clients. She also supports clients via email, chat, screenshare and video calls with coaching and trouble-shooting.
So how does a telehealth appointment work when it comes to hearing health care?
Our Teleaudiology Team – the fancy name we give the awesome people behind our telehealth care program – are split into specialist areas that focus on specific parts of the hearing care journey to ensure full attention and ongoing care can be given to our clients every step of the way. The team specialise in everything, from understanding client needs and being able to recommend a specific hearing solution to suit, to critical remote fitting support, care and education that follows after a device has been shipped and fit remotely on a client.
If it’s a question of wanting to speak directly with your clinician who you normally see in clinic, this can also be booked as an over the phone telehealth appointment instead, to save you from having to travel to a clinic. When it comes to hearing care, telehealth provides the flexibility of offering a tailored and customised service that fits in with your lifestyle and your needs.
Theo explains, “Telehealth isn’t for everyone. For some people, face-to-face care is necessary; for others, the best outcomes will come from a blend of both. Our team members are specially trained in helping you understand the right hearing support style for you to achieve the best outcomes.”
Key benefits of telehealth appointments
Depending on a clients’ lifestyle, location and hearing needs, the benefits of a telehealth appointment can include:
- Remote care and assistance for clients who do not live near or are unable to travel to a clinic
- Fine tuning in a real-life noise environment
- Convenience and efficiency for clients who would rather stay in the safety and comfort of their own home, while talking to an expert about the best hearing solution for them
- Empowerment, as telehealth appointments put the client in the driver’s seat and enables them to take control of their hearing journey
If you’re interested in finding out more about our telehealth services, we’d love to hear from you. Click here to book an appointment
with out team today.