While many think of telehealth as a byproduct of the pandemic, research shows that its origin dates back well over one hundred years. Regardless, many healthcare providers and patients have been wary of embracing this delivery of care, often based on preconceived notions more so than data and clinical findings. Here are a few of the most common myths about tele-audiology and Tuned’s evidence-based responses.
Myth 1: Patients don’t want telehealth.
Fact: The current state of audiology is insufficient in the United States. There are approximately 13000 audiologists in the country tasked with serving the 37.5 million Americans with some degree of hearing loss, with hearing aid and cochlear implant adoption rates remaining stubbornly low. And the problem will likely only get worse as the number of Americans with hearing loss is expected to climb to 73.5 million by 2060.
Tuned leverages technology to increase the reach of the audiology workforce and makes hearing healthcare more accessible, affordable, and streamlined.
Myth 2: Telehealth is too hard to implement.
Fact: Like anything else, the delivery of telehealth is often a learned skill, both for the patient and the provider. But the good news is that tech literacy and internet access are on the rise, partially propelled by the pandemic’s reliance on Zoom, FaceTime, and other virtual mediums. As providers, a shift to virtual care relies on a change of focus from the physical examination to listening to what the patient says. Research shows, however, that more than half of those over 50 want to use telehealth, with the highest rates among racial and ethnic minorities.
Tuned offers providers a turn-key virtual clinic that will do all of the heavy lifting of HIPAA compliance, scheduling, and billing for them. This lets the providers focus on what they do best: delivering care to patients. And if a provider has any questions or needs a bit more help, Tuniversity houses a wealth of educational resources and training materials to empower providers to deliver quality virtual care.
Myth 3: Virtual care is subpar to in-person care.
Fact: While there are surely differences in what can be achieved virtually versus in person, it would be misleading to label one as less than the other. A large portion of the scope of practice of audiologists can be achieved virtually and, often, the most valuable services are well suited for virtual care. It allows proper time and attention for extensive counseling and patient education, a thorough review of one’s communication needs and tailored recommendations, and the performance of rehabilitative services such as auditory training or tinnitus management. Ultimately, tele-audiology shifts the focus back to the patient and off of the devices.
With Tuned, audiologists deliver person-centered care that provides personalized and tailored recommendations to each patient, along with the knowledge and understanding needed for proper implementation.