Audiology department deploys specialist workflow solutions in the areas of hearing testing, instrument fitting and patient appointment management
Mark Brindle, audiology services manager at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital
The audiology department at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust has announced efficiency and productivity gains to tackle patient waiting times following the use of specialist workflow solutions in the areas of hearing testing, instrument fitting and patient appointment management.
Audiology services at the trust are delivered to the communities of West Norfolk, South Lincolnshire and North East Cambridgeshire via seven community sites employing audiologists and support staff. The patient population profile of the trust is a high proportion of older residents – the key target demographic for suffering hearing loss – due to it being a popular coastal retirement area.
In order to maximise the opportunities presented by the current Any Qualified Provider (AQP) environment, the audiology department has also worked closely with technology partner, Siemens Hearing Instruments, on developing marketing materials. This includes a professional patient booklet that aims to attract and inform patients on hearing health issues and drive up the number of patient referrals.
“The audiology department has gained confidence since putting the workflow solutions in place and they all contribute towards providing an effective service,” said Mark Brindle, audiology services manager at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. “We are focused on understanding and making the best use of the innovative technologies in place and gaining guidance on marketing ideas to drive the department forward. We operate leanly with very little waste or unproductive time spent within the department.”
The audiology focus areas at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital include tinnitus, hearing loss, balance and hearing therapy. The Siemens solutions that assist with the entire patient workflow from start to completion include Unity and Connexx, AutoFit, an automated application that performs Real Ear Measurements (REMs) – saving audiologists 10 to 15 minutes per binaural fit compared to manual measurements; and the Practice Navigator patient management system. The department also provides Siemens IMPACT Pro hearing instruments to patients which are designed to enhance the perception of high-quality sound and have a less than 1% warranty return rate.
“With Siemens as our technical partners we have noticed a decline in the number of hearing instrument returns coming back for repair. The reliability has improved and patient acceptance has also increased,” said Brindle. “Solutions such as AutoFit and the Connexx fitting software help get the basics right and can also be sophisticated when you need them to be. This ensures not only that our service needs are met, but that the patient is receiving the best possible quality of care. With a focus on enhanced audiology technology and a marketing strategy we have been able to increase patient choice, improve access to services and increase quality.”
“The competitive audiology landscape demands technology innovation, lean process thinking and commercial understanding of what drives a patient to make a choice,” added Mark Laben, product and marketing manager at Siemens Hearing Instruments. “King’s Lynn is a great NHS example that is striving to make the most of specialist audiology solutions to improve the quality services it offers to patients, plus positioning itself strongly in a changing business environment.”