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How The HSE Can Use Telepractice To Cut Costs

By Team IDK | January 8, 2012

One year ago, IDK noted how a speech and language telepractice solution in rural Minnesota, could benefit Irish children in resource teaching allocation.

Telepractice is “the application of telecommunications technology to deliver professional services at a distance by linking clinician to client, or clinician to clinician for assessment, intervention, and/or consultation” (ASHA, 2004).

Here are three ways in which the HSE can use telepractice in Ireland to achieve annual cost-savings and deliver quality speech therapy, audiology and cochlear implant mapping services while maximising human resources.

1. Telepractice For Speech Teaching

Speech-therapy services in Ireland are presently limited by HSE hiring caps and other constraints. A national shortage of speech therapy in Ireland has resulted, with teachers spending valuable time travelling to rural areas.

Delivering speech therapy services in Ireland via a national telepractice system, would free speech-teachers to work with deaf and hard-of-hearing children from early on, while benefiting the childrens’ computer skills.

2. Remote Hearing Tests For Babies
A pilot of a remote newborn hearing test, was initiated in late 2011 between the University of Colorado and the Pacific island of Guam. Within Ireland, a national telepractice system could do similar tests, reducing travel time and expense for the families and the respective medical/administrative staff.

3. Remote Mapping And Analysis of Cochlear Implants

In Australia, cochlear implants can be remotely mapped and analysed over a secure internet link. With this solution, clients in rural populations globally, no longer need to travel long distances for cochlear implant mapping.

National Telepractice Co-Ordination Initiative

A solid case exists for establishing national telepractice initiatives in Ireland, to deliver clinical processes for efficient, national service provision.

Telepractice benefits for the deaf sector include:

  1. Simpler administration, less duplication of paperwork and processes
  2. Centralised service delivery from one location, with related benefits
  3. Increased speech-therapy for students (individual or group lessons)
  4. Less need for parents to travel for speech and/or audiology services

Telepractice offers endless opportunities for very low-cost, effective and sustainable service delivery to relevant populations, and is an area to watch.

(compiled by Nicola Fox and Caroline Carswell)

Further Reading

* Ireland’s First Virtual Hospital Clinic Logs On

* Technology Has Revolutionised Deaf Education

The Need To ‘Re-Think Learning’ For Universality

Topics: Irish Deaf Kids | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “How The HSE Can Use Telepractice To Cut Costs”

  1. Caroline Says:
    February 7th, 2012 at 11:25 am

    How Australia is using telepractice to deliver early intervention to young deaf and blind children in rural areas:

  2. A TeleAudiology Program With Lessons For Ireland | irish deaf kids Says:
    March 12th, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    [...] * How The HSE Can Use Telepractice To Cut Costs [...]

  3. UK High-Street Clinics Benefit From NHS Reforms | irish deaf kids Says:
    April 16th, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    [...] * How The HSE Can Use Telepractice To Cut Costs [...]


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