I am delighted to share the insightful conversation I have on a recent podcast with the Arizona Hearing Center. This discussion covers an array of topics related to healthcare standards, their evolution and significance, and how they enhance the delivery of patient care in audiology.
I thought I’d summarize here the bulk of what we talk about on the podcast, for anyone who may not have the time to listen to it.
An Overview: Who Am I?
Before delving into the details, allow me to introduce myself. I am Dr. Emily E. McMahan, a dedicated audiologist, board-certified by the American Board of Audiology and a Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology.
Having received my Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Cincinnati, I furthered my expertise by earning my Doctorate of Audiology from Salus University in Philadelphia. My professional journey has taken me across various landscapes, and today I apply my knowledge to assist patients in the Pacific Northwest.
From a young age, my passion has always revolved around enhancing the quality of lives through better hearing. My specialization in Diagnostic Hearing and Hearing Management, along with Tinnitus and Tinnitus Management, serves as a testament to this. My commitment to staying current in hearing healthcare is relentless, and I continuously strive to provide care tailored to my patients’ individual needs.
The Driving Force: Patient Welfare
Being on the podcast was a medium to emphasize the importance and implications of standardizing audiology practices. The rapid growth and development of our relatively young field highlighted the urgent need for a systematic approach to ensure patient safety. Standardized practices ensure every patient receives uniform, high-quality care, irrespective of where they seek treatment.
Traversing the Path Towards Standardization
In my conversation, I share the intricate details of the process towards standardizing audiology practices.
As the immediate past president of the Audiology Practice Standards Organization, I have had the unique opportunity to delve deep into the world of healthcare standards.
It is a journey that has been both challenging and profoundly fulfilling. In the podcast, I describe the complexities and the rigorous process that go into the creation of these standards.
It is far from being a straightforward task of assembling expert minds to pen down guidelines. It involves carefully evaluating different scenarios, accommodating diverse perspectives, and crafting language that fosters mutual agreement. All this while ensuring we deliver the highest level of care for our patients.
One crucial aspect I emphasize during the conversation is the necessity for standards to be dynamic, mirroring the rapid advances in healthcare. Our organization’s bylaws mandate a review of our standards every five years. This recurring evaluation is pivotal in ensuring our standards are current, relevant, and poised to address any changes in the healthcare environment.
The first of our standards to undergo this review will be the intake standard. This standard underlines the importance of ensuring every patient feels welcomed and safe from the moment they step into our clinic. It might seem simple, but this standard plays a crucial role in setting the tone for the patient’s entire healthcare journey.
During the podcast, I also shed light on the upcoming standards in our pipeline. These include infection control, cochlear implants, vestibular disorders, and tinnitus.
A significant factor in shaping our future directions was the valuable feedback received at the last American Academy of Audiology meeting held in St. Louis. This interactive feedback process reinforces the collective decision-making integral to our standard-setting mechanism.
Many people underestimate the considerable efforts that go into this work, as I initially did before I became deeply involved. Juggling differing viewpoints, navigating legal requirements, and synchronizing meetings across various time zones makes this a herculean task. However, the gratification of knowing our work directly improves patient experiences is always incredibly rewarding.
Why Strive for This?
In my perspective, our ultimate goal has always been, and will always be, focused on our patients. As I state during the podcast, our journey in setting standards is firmly rooted in our unwavering commitment to safeguarding our patients.
By adhering to high healthcare standards, we strive to ensure a smooth patient referral process, fill in potential gaps in patient care, and instill a sense of trust among our colleagues and patients.
As we continue to navigate this swiftly evolving healthcare landscape, our commitment to maintaining and enhancing our standards serves as our beacon.
The journey ahead promises to be exciting, and I am eagerly looking forward to continuously shaping better patient experiences through the power of standards.
Your input matters to us. If you have any suggestions, ideas, or feedback, do reach out to us via our website. Together, we can work towards building a safer, more effective, and patient-focused healthcare system.
Also, if you’d like to listen to the full conversation I had, you can do so here.
Until next time,
Dr. Emily McMahan, Alaska Hearing & Tinnitus Center