18th ANNUAL EARLY HEARING DETECTION & INTERVENTION MEETING
March 3-5, 2019 • Chicago, IL

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3/03/2019  |   1:00 PM - 3:30 PM   |  Expanding Tele-audiology Services in Rural Alaska: An EHDI Pilot Program   |  Florence

Expanding Tele-audiology Services in Rural Alaska: An EHDI Pilot Program

The nationwide shortage of pediatric audiologists is particularly extreme in Alaska. Several regions do not have a resident audiologists, and audiology services is delivered by traveling itinerant providers. Children born at remote regional hospitals in Alaska often do not have access to audiology in their community. Children who refer at birth are frequently placed on a waitlist to be seen at itinerant clinics and then may be flown to a regional hub location for diagnostic follow-up. Telehealth can reduce delays in screening and diagnosis. Much of rural Alaska is populated by Alaska Natives. The Alaska EHDI program partnered with one of these large tribal health providers, the Norton Sound Health Corporation (NSHC) to expand the existing telehealth practice at NSHC to include tele-audiology capabilities in six of their remote locations. NSHC serves 15 communities with populations that range from 150 to 750 residents located within 44,000 square miles (roughly the size of Louisiana). The equipment was placed in several remote communities served by NSHC in the spring of 2017 and the initial results of the project are very promising. Infrastructure at NSHC has contributed to success of the project. While there are several tribal health regions in the state of Alaska that could benefit from addition equipment and telehealth resources, they lack the necessary infrastructure. Enhancing, expanding and improving crucial audiology services via telehealth practice requires the knowledge and commitment of stakeholders and partners at the state and local levels to find creative and sustainable solutions. This presentation will provide a description of the program and telehealth solutions in place, case examples of implementation, and review components necessary for a successful program. We anticipate that knowledge of our pilot program and our experiences will be of real use to other states or territories wishing to implement tele-audiology.

  • Participants will be able to describe system resources that contribute to a successful tele-auditory project.
  • Identify strategies to use tele-audiology in real word conditions
  • Participants will experience a tele-audiology session.

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Presenters/Authors

Samantha Kleindienst Robler, AuD, PhD (), Norton Sound Health Corporation Audiology Manager, skleindienst@NSHCORP.ORG;
Samantha Kleindienst Robler, AuD, PhD completed her undergraduate degree at University of Pittsburgh with a focus in American Sign Language and Deaf culture, and her graduate education (AuD, PhD) at Gallaudet University. She completed two post-doctoral fellowships at Mayo Clinic in Florida and Mayo Clinic in Arizona. She is currently the Director of Audiology at Norton Sound Health Corporation in Nome, Alaska, where she is a progressive leader in telemedicine development and application in service provision.

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Annette Callies (), State of Alaska-, annette.callies@alaska.gov;
As the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Manager Annette Callies coordinates quality improvement activities, provides education to health care providers, early intervention specialists and parents about the program. Prior to joining the EHDI team Annette was a program manager and worked in all four Medicaid waiver programs during her time with the Division of Senior and Disability Services. She was a subject matter expert on three waiver programs CCMC, APDD and ALI and served on the policy and regulation committee.

ASHA DISCLOSURE:

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Nonfinancial -