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The ABCs of Establishing a Remote Clinic

The ABCs of Establishing a Remote Clinic

Following is an outline of some of the basic steps and considerations for establishing a remote clinic for the practice of tele-audiology. This is certainly not a completely comprehensive list as the practice of tele-audiology is still emerging.

First, it is necessary to plan out your technology. That includes software, hardware, and information technology (IT) support. Tele-audiology requires highly specialized technology, software, and information networks. Carefully consider the following areas.

IT Support

  • Available data transmission lines
  • Connection to a network (i.e., hospital or medical group)
  • Adequate bandwidth for total audiology demands (videoconferencing connectivity, long distances, audiology software, etc)
  • Competing technology (during tele-audiology sessions)
  • Software selection including audiology software and desktop sharing software
  • Compatibility and characteristics of peripheral devices like remote control software
  • Secure systems to protect patient information

Space Selection

  • Acoustics (quiet or sound treated spaces)
  • Lighting
  • Accessibility (patient and equipment)
  • Room design
  • Dedicated or shared space

Remote Staff Selection

  • Deaf educators
  • Audiology assistants
  • Registered nurses
  • Licensed practical nurses
  • Trained telehealth clinicians

Potential Duties and Responsibilities of Remote Staff

  • Scheduling appointments
  • Assisting patients
  • Ensuring patient safety
  • Assisting audiologists
  • Operating audiology equipment under guidance of audiologists
  • Providing instructions to patients
  • Educating patients
  • Documenting
  • Capturing workload
  • Working with facility telehealth coordinators

Plan for Success

  • Gain support from clinical staff and leadership
  • Continue education and training
  • Prepare for resistance and challenges
  • Partner with industry, clinical, technical, and administrative staff
  • Develop protocols, toolkits, and best practices
  • Be flexible
  • Increase standardization, interoperability and connectivity
  • Carefully evaluate service delivery and outcomes

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