Unconventional approaches to knowledge-sharing served as a catalyst for collaboration, innovation, and insight at a recent pilot seminar hosted by the Ida Institute, Naerum, Denmark. 

The 3-day educational seminar held in Skodsborg, Denmark, engaged 24 hearing-care professionals representing 13 countries in a collaborative process to develop a relationship-centered care approach to defining hearing.

The structure of the seminar, titled Defining Hearing, was spurred by staff members and their combined expertise in audiology, education, communications, business, and anthropology, and the contribution of the Institute’s distinguished faculty members.

The ethnographic videos of patient/audiologist interactions, filmed in several countries by staff anthropologists, aimed to mirror aspects of the practice of audiology that participants could relate to their own experiences. 

Participants were invited to share dilemmas and challenges encountered in their own practices and write them as stories which could be re-enacted by the theater group.  Following the dramatizations, participants offered suggestions on how to change the situations depicted and role played their suggestions with the actors.

Harvey Abrams, PhD, director of research at the Army Audiology and Speech Center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, shared his perspective on collaborative self-management. In this approach to patient care, the patient, the audiologist, the patient’s family, and others in the patient’s support network share information and create a plan to guide care of the condition. 

Dr Christine DePlacido of Scotland’s National Health Service introduced the technique of reflective practice, which helps develop self-awareness so hearing care professional can become more aware of the dynamic in the relationship between the audiologist and patient and other members of the patient’s world.

In her discussion of the patient-centered Care, Kristina English, PhD, emphasized that meeting patient expectations is a primary challenge in audiologic treatment. Her insights prompted discussion of the ways in which the relationship between patient and hearing care professional can help support patients across the gap between expectations and outcomes.

Institute staff, faculty, and participants will continue to collaborate post-seminar through a closed online forum created by the Institute. 

A working concept for a tool is being developed to help hearing care professionals and their patients navigate the patient journey. Over the coming months, Institute staff, faculty, and participants in upcoming seminars will continue the work initiated by the pilot seminar participants—translating the concept into a practical tool that will be freely shared with the hearing care community.

The Institute is planning a series nine seminars for 2008-2009 with three seminars devoted to each of three topics. The next two seminars in the Defining Hearing series will be held in January and February. Applicants for the  series can apply online at www.idainstitute.dk.