eSolutions: Digital Tools Offer Added Benefits for Patients

Modern telecommunication technologies have resulted in telemedicine — or telehealth — being increasingly used in healthcare. When applicable, patient consultations take place by email, chat, audio or video call instead of just on site.

With the hearing care industry, this digitalization has resulted in eAudiology, which has been welcomed by hearing care providers. However, some professionals have been a bit more hesitant to adopt the eSolutions that go along with eAudiology.

Dr. Cliff Olson, AuD, explains how hearing aid programming adjustments from home work with Teleaudiology through Phonak eSolutions. Closed captions are available on this video. If you are using a mobile phone, please enable captions clicking on the gear icon.

Insights from eSolutions providers

Phonak led the industry in innovation when it introduced the Phonak Audéo™ Marvel — the only Made-for-All solution with a fully integrated, real-time remote support capability. With the launch of Phonak eSolutions, we reached out to hearing care providers to share why they are using eSolutions, who is the perfect candidate and how does it fit with their in-patient care.

Jeff Lane, Au.D., from Trinity Hearing Center, and Lauren Aramini, Au.D., from Accura Audiology, PLLC, share their insights on Phonak eSolutions and Remote Support that can be used in your practice.

1. Why Use eSolutions?

Many hearing care providers envisage eSolutions as a means to help patients overcome distances and restrictions in mobility, thus providing fast and convenient access to services.

Lane is utilizing Phonak eSolutions because many of his patients live two hours away from his practice. “A lot of our Native American patients don’t have a way to get into town,” he said. “Phonak Remote Support is nice because they don’t have to drive all the way just for a 5-minute appointment.

Aramini uses Phonak eSolutions to help her practice standout more. “Our patients really are everywhere, and they are inundated with marketing. You need to find the extra perks for patients so they can make the most out of their hearing experience,” she said.

Aramini also adds that the technology is fantastic.

2. Who is the Perfect Candidate?

“We treat everybody as a candidate and let them decide for themselves,” said Lane.

For the majority of his patients, Lane presents it by saying: “This is an option we have. Is this something you are interested in?” Most say yes.

Aramini says some patients might not own a smartphone or tablet. However, they might have a family member who has one that they can borrow. If someone is willing to learn a new piece of equipment, then everybody is a candidate.

“If they're really interested in going ahead with doing remote sessions, we have them do the whole entire app: download the app, set them up with the invite code, and then just schedule a test run of it so to speak,” she added. “And once they see it in action, they are just amazed by what we can do!”

3. How Does eSolutions Partner With In-person Patient Care?

Even though some research and practical experience may still be required, it has already been widely demonstrated that eSolutions works well and offers some definite advantages. However, it will never completely replace in-person patient care, but that is not the intention. It may not be suitable for every patient, but it can open up opportunities for audiologists to reach patients and offer services that they may not have been able to before.

Lane said that to this patients and staff members, Remote Support is kind of just a natural extension of their normal appointments. Rather than coming in to the practice, you’re doing it over the phone. “We kind of just do it the same way of, ‘Oh, let's do it at 3:30 p.m. on a Friday.’ We just schedule like we would any other appointment,” he said.

Phonak Remote Control App

What Is the Outlook of eSolutions?

There is strong evidence that eSolutions are viewed positively by audiologists and patients in principle. Both sides are open to it, although some research work and practical experience may still be required. The advantages — in particular, easier and faster access as well as the convenience of a location-independent service provision — are clearly perceived.

Obviously, digital support will never replace face-to-face care, but is rather intended to supplement it. Digital support can be the right choice for specific patient groups, tasks or services, and may help to save time, overcome distances and mobility restrictions and improve efficiency.

“Hearing care providers still get that personal relationship because we’re still seeing the patients, but we also can help kind of make it convenient for them,” said Aramini. “Don’t let time or hindrance be the reason patients don’t move forward on their hearing journey.”