Hearing Assessment in the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing
In 2008, the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing decided to counteract the deterioration of hearing in children in Poland. It launched a comprehensive screening program aimed at early detection of audiological impairments.
To meet this goal, it was necessary to design a huge IT platform which could store and process data from several hundred thousand records. It was telemedicine that made it possible. Silvermedia was asked to join the project as a technological partner.
A system developed on the basis of the Silvermedic platform made it possible to screen thousands of children all over Poland.
In order to conduct hearing analyses outside the hospital setting, one had to use specially designed headphones which were connected to a tablet. Silvermedia devised software which helped to remove noise from the signal. As a result, it was possible to conduct the project outside the hospital setting by trained technicians, without doctors’ assistance being required.
The image was transmitted right away to the headquarters, where experts performed the diagnosis and recommended treatment. All descriptions were then included in patients’ electronic medical files which had been created for the purpose of research on hearing impairments.
During the first fourth months of the program in 2010, hearing and speech screenings were performed on 95,000 children from rural areas. The scale of the project has increased several times ever since.
It was the first audiological examination in Poland conducted on such a large scale. The results of the tests are twofold. Patients with detected abnormalities were immediately provided with medical care and the demographic data collected will help to prevent and treat many diseases effectively.
The Institute conducted one of the first health screenings on such a large scale in Poland to be supported by state-of-the-art technologies, which paves the way for new implementations. Since the examinations performed outside the hospital setting were fully information-based, results were transmitted directly to clinicians’ computers and simultaneously stored in the system for the purpose of analytics. At the same time, the number of people engaged in the screens was insignificant and the duration of the examination was incomparably shorter than it would have been in the case of traditional tests.
Telemedicine has also enabled children from rural areas to be provided with medical care. Up until now, one has had to come to a district hospital and wait for their turn in order to undergo clinical examination. Now, people without any special training can perform tests outside the hospital setting while clinicians provide their support over the Internet.