Over a two-year period, the Office of Hearing Services (Department of Health) engaged AHA to undertake a series of 4 projects to support the provision of quality hearing care services for all Australians.
These projects included the following:
- Preliminary analysis on developing a national service delivery framework for Government-funded hearing services:
AHA conducted a literature review to establish best practice in developing quality frameworks in the health sector, and a comprehensive stocktake of comparative national and international service delivery frameworks. Based on this analysis, we developed broad categories for standards to support service providers in adopting a continuous quality improvement approach in delivering hearing care services, with a focus on maximising client outcomes.
- Quality and Safety Principles for the Hearing Services Program – Community Service Obligations (CSO) component:
The CSO component of the Hearing Services Program provides specialist hearing services, primarily to children and young adults up to the age of 26 with permanent or long-term hearing loss, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50. It is funded by the Australian Government and delivered by Hearing Australia (formerly Australian Hearing). Based on the findings of the above project, AHA developed a comprehensive set of quality and safety principles for the CSO component. These principles were designed to be included in contractual agreements between the Office and Australian Hearing.
- Service Delivery Framework for the Hearing Services Program – Voucher Scheme:
The voucher scheme component of the Hearing Services Program subsidises hearing services for many Australians, including pensioners and veterans. We developed this service delivery framework over several stages, including:
- analysis of current obligations
- a literature review and environmental scan
- broad consultation with key stakeholders, including professional bodies, peak bodies, service providers, individual clients and their families, and hearing practitioners.
By synthesising this evidence, AHA developed a framework that aimed to build consistency in the quality of services available under the Voucher Scheme.
- Development of National Practice Standards for Hearing Care Practitioners:
For this project, AHA developed a set of practice standards that articulated expected standards of knowledge, skills and professional behaviour for hearing care practitioners (audiologists and audiometrists). We developed the standards in close consultation with an expert reference group that comprised members from organisations representing audiologists, audiometrists and consumers, as well as the Australian Government.