Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Telemedicine for Audiologists

HRSA has issued a Sources Sought/Market Survey to locate (small business, Veteran Owned, HUBZone, and 8 (a) firms) with the capability to develop a model infant audiology diagnostic protocol using telemedicine. This will help professionals provide diagnostic services in rural areas. Audiology as a profession has been slow to adopt telemedicine, but it is now becoming necessary and more feasible to use telemedicine since inexpensive interactive video systems are now available.

Preliminary research suggests that telemedicine models might prove to be effective for audiologists to use to deliver hearing services to locations where no services now exist. This is vital because diagnostic audiology needs to occur between the ages of one to three months after a baby fails to pass a follow-up screening. However, only half of the infants referred are generally evaluated due to the shortage of pediatric audiologists and equipment. Data shows that an infant with a significant hearing impairment who receives intervention by six months of age will perform significantly better in language development than the infant who is identified after six months of age.

The goal is to place diagnostic equipment in a spoke site of an existing telemedicine network. Audiologists at the hub site would then observe the correct use of the equipment, interpret the results, and interact with the families.

The methodology, once demonstrated could be spread through the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management. NCHAM has a regional network of pediatric audiologists operating throughout the U.S.

The contractor needs to be able to provide:

  • A toolkit containing training materials for both hub and spoke sites so that teleaudiology diagnostic services could be adopted throughout the existing telemedicine sites
  • Technical assistance to state grantees and the Federal Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention Program and provide telephone and in person consultations as needed
  • Quarterly progress reports

This Sources Sought notice is for information and planning purposes only and is not a solicitation announcement for proposals. The response to this announcement must be received by April 21, 2008 by delivery, mail, or fax. Send to HHS/HRSA/DPM, attn: Daniel Matusiewicz, 5600 Fisher Lane, Room 13A-19, Rockville, MD 20857, or call (301) 443-4703, or fax (301) 443-5462. This Sources Sought announcement was posted on www.fbo.gov on April 11, 2008.