Dr Jaime Leigh1,2, Mr Stefan Wigg1, Mr Rodney Hollow1, Prof. Robert Briggs1
1Royal Victorian Eye And Ear Hospital, East Melbourne, Australia, 2University of Melbourne, Carlton, Australia
The recently established Victorian Cochlear Implant Program represents innovation in audiology service delivery. The Program involves a collaboration between The Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital (RVEEH) and local audiology service providers across Victoria, creating an accessible and truly state-wide cochlear implant (CI) service for Victorians.
It is believed that less than 10% of people who could benefit from an implantable hearing solution have received one. Many potential recipients of CI technology remain in the hearing aid system unaware of possible benefits of a CI or how to investigate it as an option.
There is a desire to improve access to CI technology and increase the number of patients benefiting from CI technology, reduce travel for patients/recipients and improve awareness of CI in the community.
The model involves the establishment of local CI audiology services through collaboration with established, audiology service providers across Victoria. The level of collaboration will be tailored to the capacity and interest of the community provider and will determine which aspect of the audiology pathway will be conducted by the community audiologist. Community audiology providers are invited to express an interest in participating in the Victorian Cochlear Implant Program and to what level. Prioritisation for participation will be based on methodology to ensure recruitment is fair, objective, and defensible.
Extensive training will be provided to the community provider, including ongoing support through a mentor relationship with an experienced CI audiologist at RVEEH.
The Victorian Cochlear Implant Program will result in the controlled expansion of CI services in Victoria with a program governed by RVEEH, ensuring there is a maintained focus on high quality service and standard of care. The collaboration will allow patients to maintain relationship with community hearing healthcare provider without compromising their rehabilitation options and access to implantable technology.
Bio to come.