Providing Audiologists More Time For Direct Patient Care

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Cochlear Americas announced the launch of Sound Partnership, a group of initiatives that provide hearing device implant centers with more time to counsel and treat patients.

Through Sound Partnership's five-part integrated clinical solutions, clinicians will find that the program reduces the technical and administrative challenge of treating hearing impaired patients, leaving more time for direct patient care.

"As the demand for implanted hearing technology increases, we are looking for ways to support our clinics. We believe that the Sound Partnership program offers interested centers individualized recommendations to improve patient flow and reduce non-reimbursed administrative aftercare of their recipients. This program will enable clinics to focus on what is most important: offering patients the highest level of direct patient care," said Chris Smith, president, Cochlear Americas.

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Sound Partnership's Hear Always, direct patient technical support model, is a first for the cochlear implant industry, as patients will receive technical troubleshooting, warranty and maintenance support directly from Cochlear Americas. Twenty clinics nationwide participated in the Hear Always pilot program during the second half of 2006. Removing this administrative burden from the participating clinic's workload has made a significant impact. The clinics have saved an average of four hours of non-reimbursable time per week, which translates into a savings of $3 million of non-reimbursable expenses across the nation annually.

According to Jan Gilden, M.A., Executive Director of Houston Ear Research Foundation, "The Hear Always program has assisted not only our clinic staff, but our patients. With our very busy schedule of seeing patients, we cannot be available in a timely manner to help with troubleshooting issues. Our recipients are directed to call Hear Always, to speak immediately with a well-trained technician that can help them identify and resolve the problem, resulting in the recipient being back with sound almost immediately. The Hear Always staff is excellent about keeping our Center in the loop of how the issues are resolved."

Sound Partnership's Business Solutions program includes Cochlear's newly launched online purchasing experience. MyCochlear.com is a fully integrated online ordering system where clinicians can rapidly order Cochlear products, and custom configured implant systems with ease. The secure Web store has been designed with the clinicians purchasing procedures in mind and the pilot program earned extremely positive feedback.

"MyCochlear.com has improved the ordering process. It is an efficient way to order and keep track of the ordering process in our clinic," said Katie L. Gray Au.D. at the University of Florida Health Sciences Center. "The ease of ordering has improved significantly from the time we were faxing all of the orders. All of the hook-up kits that we have ordered through the myCochlear.com system have arrived timely without any difficulties."

As an industry, cochlear implant manufacturers are only treating about 10 percent of the patients who can benefit from the technology, according to the American Journal of Audiology. The Sound Partnership group of programs has been designed to create awareness of implantable hearing devices and to help drive efficiencies at cochlear implant centers across the nation, allowing for more people to be benefit from the miracle of hearing.

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