How has cognitive screening enhanced your patient care model?
I have been practicing hearing healthcare for 30 years, and plan to continue for another 15 to 20. Throughout my career, there has always been a disruptive force in this industry, but the one constant is that how we provide service to our patients is paramount. To that end, it is incumbent on each professional to thoughtfully consider their own “why”, and then structure how they help individuals with their communication around that same “why.”
Putting service ahead of the product has been a guiding principle during the last 23 years in which I have owned my business, Oro Valley Audiology. I also recognize that a ‘service model’ can vary across different industries or healthcare domains, and even between individual clinicians within the same specialty. What service looks like can certainly change over time, which I consider necessary to keep the hearing health industry moving forward as our capabilities expand through innovation.
As a practice, our ultimate goal for each patient is not simply better hearing, but the best possible outcomes for their unique hearing and communication needs. To more comprehensively understand those needs, we have expanded our Auditory Processing testing as well as worked with Heidi Hill, AuD to learn and incorporate her CogniHear model of a Functional Hearing Assessment. As part of implementing a more thorough patient evaluation, we introduced the Cognivue Thrive cognitive screener to our patient care protocol. In doing so we have found that understanding how our patients are performing along the ear-brain pathway allows us to develop more individualized care plans.
More specifically, we apply the Cognivue insights to help us determine realistic communication goals, consider device choice including the type of fast or slow-acting compression as well as accessories, and counsel communication partners on how to best support our patients. When we are able to talk with our patients and their close communication partners on what is realistic, how to manipulate the situation for their benefit, and what accessories may be appropriate, they know they are more than just a number to us. Since Cognivue is only a screening tool and not a diagnostic instrument, if there are any concerns expressed by the patient or the screening results reflect poor performance, we work with the primary physician to determine the most appropriate next steps for the patient.
We have found networking with other health professionals and providing useful information via Cognivue reports has increased and strengthened our referral base. Not only primary care, but even neurologists who did not refer previously are doing so now, and we largely attribute that to Cognivue and the expansion of our diagnostic testing. This has been an exciting development for our practice as we always strive to highlight our diagnosis and complete communication package and care plan with those who refer and providing cognitive screening results has helped to demonstrate our comprehensive approach. We also are continually teaching our physician partners that it is not only about the hearing instrument itself, but the treatment strategies we implement to facilitate better communication for our patients in their daily lives. Because ultimately, our “why” is to create better relationships for the people we serve.
To learn more about Cognivue Thrive, please visit the Audiology Online partner page