Utilisation of tele-audiology practices in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic: Perspectives of audiology clinic owners, managers and reception staff

Rebecca J. Bennett, India Kelsall-Foreman, Caitlin Barr, Elissa Campbell, Tony Coles, Mark Paton, Jessica Vitkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To canvas the views of Australia-based hearing healthcare clinic owners/managers and reception staff regarding the utilisation, experiences and perspectives of providing tele-audiology services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Design: A national prospective self-report survey was completed online. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Study sample: Twenty-one clinic owners/managers (Mage 54.43 years, 15 female) and 58 reception staff (Mage 42.88 years, 49 female) from Australia-based hearing clinics. Results: Clinic owners/managers reported an increase in use of tele-audiology services as compared to pre-COVID-19. Reception staff reported providing more advice and support to clients over the phone. Both clinic owners/managers and reception staff indicated key barriers to providing tele-audiology services to include concerns about their clients’ digital and technological literacy and the perception that in-the-clinic appointments deliver better client outcomes than tele-audiology appointments. Conclusions: The increased utilisation of tele-audiology services observed appears to be largely influenced by COVID-19 related factors (e.g. maintaining client and staff safety and increased funding). It is therefore possible that utilisation of tele-audiology service may drop once the threat of the pandemic has subsided. Perceived barriers relating to clients’ digital literacy and the effectiveness of tele-audiology services require attention to safeguard the future of tele-audiology service delivery in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022

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