The journey toward patient-centered approaches in hearing health care
In the field of hearing health care, counseling has long been identified as a critical variable in achieving successful outcomes. Research has consistently shown that, when the human dynamics of hearing loss are not addressed through counseling, the result is poor acceptance of hearing solutions, low levels of patient satisfaction, and general frustration by consumers and dispensing professionals alike.
Ida Institute (www.idainstitute.com) has identified a continuing and growing need for simple, patient-centered methods, tools, and processes that will enable hearing care professionals to help people with hearing loss achieve better outcomes. Ida’s mission—to foster a better understanding of the human dynamics associated with hearing loss—encompasses a commitment to both the practitioner and the patient with hearing impairment. Our purpose is a simple one: to enable people to “live well with hearing loss.”
The Institute’s work toward realizing this purpose has benefited significantly from the efforts of a faculty of leading audiologists from around the world, as well as representatives of various allied health disciplines. The papers in this special section, prepared by Ida Institute faculty members, focus on the delicate balance that exists in shifting traditional patient-counseling techniques to a more patient-centered, health-behavior change approach. We hope that the concepts and strategies presented by our esteemed contributors provide new insight into practical and actionable ways for patient-centered care. We also hope that you will be inspired to consider how you might contribute to effecting change in your own practice and, more globally, in the discipline of hearing care.
While Ida seminars, workshops, tools, and methods have been well received and implemented in private practices, public clinics, and academic institutions around the world, our experience has been that making significant changes in practice worldwide by addressing the human dynamics of hearing loss has been challenging and complex.
Because there are many interdependent processes and variables at odds with each other, it has been difficult for members of the Ida community to both change personal behavior and implement Ida principles and methods within their workplaces. We believe that the reason for this difficulty is that existing organizational structures and systems may work against patient-centered changes.
This is a common theme in many industries and professions, as the leaders for change work toward improvements in quality, processes, efficiency, and policy. Some change models involve an entire organization (macro), while others may affect only a small group within the organization or even individuals (micro).
Getting to a new desired end state is often described as a journey, but in large, complex health care organizations, and even in small private clinics, a change journey may include unexpected outcomes, detours, and/or roadblocks. For most national health care systems, change and reform are high on the agenda in line with a drive for more efficient use of resources and increased quality of care for patients.
The Ida Institute will continue to explore this topic in our next seminar series of workshops, collaborating with clinicians who experience challenges to patient-centered care on a daily basis, as well as managers and other decision makers who set guidelines for clinical operation. Policymakers in both clinical practice and academics will join the collaboration to address obstacles to patient-centered care from a comprehensive, discipline-wide perspective.
We invite you to join us as we work toward creating change that will benefit the hearing care profession and its practitioners and, most importantly, make living well with hearing loss a reality for people across the globe.