Hearing Partnership™ is a new kind of hearing care practice. We are modeling a new approach to help patients obtain the care they need.
Hearing Partnership™ has launched a pilot hearing aid dispensing practice to model how the allied public health “community health worker” (CHW) function integrates in practice operations. The pilot hearing health care practice is Beauport Hearing Care™ in Magnolia, Massachusetts. Beauport Hearing Care™ provides hearing evaluations, auditory related screening and medical referrals according to board approved clinical protocols, hearing assistive technology solutions when clinically appropriate based on individual patient need, hearing instrument services, hearing coaching and other services provided with CHW approaches under clinical supervision.
Tens of millions of people in need of hearing care do not access available treatment. Hearing Partnership™ envisions a hearing health care system that employs specialized hearing care "community health workers" (CHWs) to significantly increase the numbers of patients successfully accessing treatment. To help promote this vision, Hearing Partnership™ research relates to three mission goals:
- Be accountable to our patient pledge,
- Demonstrate a sustainable way to deliver CHW services to patients, and
- Show patient benefits and associated health care costs savings of the approach.
We are the first privately owned hearing care practice to integrate patient services provided by qualified "community health workers" (CHWs).
Trained CHWs are employed under many different job titles throughout the health care system, but they are a new idea to hearing care in the United States. We call our CHWs 'coaches'. Scientific analysis of how CHW services improve patient health and lower health care costs is very important. CHWs are also well positioned to research how patients use their hearing aids. Such research is needed to help define health insurance benefits for hearing aids and the related services patients need to be successful with their treatment. While estimates vary, hearing health care services are currently accessed by about 15% of eligible patients. An unknown percentage of patients that presently access treatment are not using their hearing assistive technology to obtain their full health improvement potential.
Hearing Partnership™ hypothesizes that integration of specialized hearing care CHW services in the hearing health care business model increases the numbers of patients successfully accessing treatment, improves patient health, and reduces health care costs. Hearing Partnership™ demonstrates that a hearing care practice integrating CHW services for patients is sustainable. Finally, Hearing Partnership™ welcomes public health accountability of our program and seeks collaboration with independent university researchers to provide third party quality assessment of our project. This is important to inform quality improvement to our services and also to grow the effort beyond our practice.
For more information on the role and value of 'community health workers' (CHWs), see the Massachusetts Department of Public Health report, Achieving the Triple Aim: Success with Community Health Workers.