The Veterans Administration is developing a teleaudiology pilot to determine if it is feasible to provide audiology services to program hearing aids over the VA’s intranet. On October 21, 2010, the VA posted the solicitation (VA79110RP0027) on www.fbo.gov. Phase I of the pilot will focus on remote programming for hearing aids and Phase II will target remote audiometry.
The solicitation calls for the development of an integrated telemedicine cart. The cart needs to contain various peripheral equipment to cover a wide range of applications including the remote sharing of patient educational materials, visualization of the external auditory canal and tympanic membrane, as well as displaying a macro-view of an inserted ear mold or hearing aid, plus a probe tube reference microphone. Close-up views of various hearing aid landmarks will also be critical for troubleshooting hearing aid problems and to help read identifying items such as a serial number.
In the pilots, an estimated 10 small Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) will be equipped with the mobile carts containing video teleconferencing equipment, computer equipment, computer-based diagnostic equipment, and related software.
In addition, five VA Medical Centers will be equipped with corresponding video teleconferencing equipment to allow two-way interactions with the CBOCs. The carts will enable interactive audio/video communications with an audiologist at a host VA Medical Center while remotely controlling the computer and the software on the cart.
The contractor will also provide the desktop video teleconferencing workstation needed by the audiologist. The audiologist will control the equipment on the cart to conduct the patient examination, provide consultation, and if necessary reprogram or refit the patient’s hearing aid.
The solicitation response is due November 4, 2010 and the point of contact is Steve Wilson at (720) 227-0359.