The challenge

The audiology department, like many others is very busy with longer waiting lists, caused by the backlog of not seeing patients during the COVID pandemic. Patients who are suffering with acute tinnitus need support and help quickly, particularly during the acute phase. They also needed to minimise the number of patients coming in for appointments to reduce the risk of infection. There was also an issue with patients not attending their appointments.

Previously the hospital was posting a paper version of the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) questionnaire, which the patient had to complete and return. Depending on the patient’s responses, self-help information would be sent to them. This process could all take time.

How the Tinnitus Questionnaire works

The THI questionnaire pathway has now being digitised so the patient receives an email with a link from the clinic to complete their online assessment. They complete the questionnaire. Depending on the patient’s scores, they are automatically referred to additional resources and support. For patients who score low – they are provided with appropriate self-help materials. High scorers are referred into the clinical team so they can be investigated further.

Benefits of the Tinnitus Questionnaire

Benefits to patients:

  • Patients have access to self-help and resources more quickly
  • Patients receive the most appropriate care, depending on their need
  • Patients with the more acute symptoms are seen quicker
  • Encourages patients to be engaged in their own care

 

Benefits to clinicians:

  • Able to quickly identify which patients need to be seen for further help with management
  • Makes better use of clinic time
  • Frees up clinicians to use their time in clinic rather than admin

 

Benefits to the organisation:

  • Patients more satisfied with the service they receive
  • Staff better able to cope with demand
  • Reduction in DNA rates

Resources

Poster – tinnitus.pdf

Poster – Tinnitus questionnaire

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