Patient and clinician preferences for technology-driven changes to post-operative care pathways for cochlear implantation

Chief investigator

Dr Pádraig Kitterick

Study team

Ms Tracey Twomey, Nottingham Auditory Implant Programme
Dr Helen Cullington, Auditory Implant Service, University of Southampton

Funder

British Society of Audiology

Study period

2015-2016

A large amount of resources are required to provide post-operative care to patients who receive a cochlear implant. The implant is programmed over multiple sessions by specialist staff and intensive rehabilitation is provided to improve speech communication. Ongoing support must be provided for as long as the patient uses the implant which may be as much as 100 years for paediatric recipients. The patient themselves must commit to attending regular programming and rehabilitation appointments in the first year and annual follow-up appointments. These services are provided at a specialist centre which may not be local to the patient. Patients may need to travel substantial distances and may also need to take time off from work to attend appointments which may require them to pay for childcare.

Technology has the potential to make post-operative care more efficient and accessible. Programming an implant over the internet would reduce the need for appointments at the specialist centre. Remote monitoring could allow resources to be focused on those patients with greatest need. Self-assessment tools could empower patients to manage their own hearing. This study aims to capture the preferences of patients and healthcare staff for these technology-driven changes to the post-operative care pathway for cochlear implantation. The results will help determine how best to use technology in a way that is acceptable to both patients and clinicians.