By Debbie Gregory.
Every Veteran is aware that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) often has long wait times for appointments. Depending on where they live, the reputation may or may not be warranted. But, the VA has been rapidly working to improve the efficiency of its healthcare system so that it can provide the best possible care for those who served in the military.
One of the areas that the VA has sought to improve upon is exams for hearing aid adjustments. For short (15-20 minute) appointments with an audiologist, many Veterans were suffering through wait lists, long drives and hours-long stays in VA waiting rooms. So the VA Center for Innovation (VACI) conducted a competition to solicit the best solutions for this problem from the private sector.
One of the innovations that came out of the process was a technology that has the potential to revolutionize care for Veterans with hearing problems. A smartphone app, developed by Dr. Lu Beck, Chief of Rehabilitation Services for hearing aid company Phonak, will allow audiologists to perform hearing aid adjustments remotely. Using this technology, a Veteran only needs their smart phone and an internet signal to get a hearing aids adjustment, without the wait or hassle they currently have.
In the very near future, all a Veteran will have to do is make an appointment online, and when the date and time of their appointment arrives, log on to the app with their smartphone. At the same time, the audiologist will log-on from his or her office. The doctor and patient will then communicate over the phone or via text. The doctor will make adjustments to the patient’s hearing aid, with the entire process over in just a few minutes.
For the remote appointments, patients will need either a tablet or smartphone that can successfully download the app, a Phonak hearing aid, and an iCube Bluetooth device.
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Military Connection: Hearing Aid Adjustments Without Going to the VA? By Debbie Gregory