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Identification and Management of Middle Ear Disorders in a Rural Cleft Care Program: A Telemedicine Approach.

Identification and Management of Middle Ear Disorders in a Rural Cleft Care Program: A Telemedicine Approach.

Identification and Management of Middle Ear Disorders in a Rural Cleft Care Program: A Telemedicine Approach.

Am J Audiol. 2018 Nov 19;27(3S):455-461

Authors: Ramkumar V, Rajendran A, Nagarajan R, Balasubramaniyan S, Suresh DK

Abstract
Purpose: The aim of this study was to devise a grassroots-level strategy for identification and management of middle ear disorders in a community-based program for individuals with cleft lip and palate in 2 rural districts in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India.
Method: Community workers underwent training to conduct video otoscopy using the ENTraview device. Community workers conducted video otoscopy on 160 individuals with cleft lip and palate between 3 and 35 years old in the community. Middle ear conditions were identified using store-and-forward telepractice. Diagnostic telehearing evaluation was conducted using synchronous pure tone audiometry and tympanometry for those who were identified with tympanic membrane (TM) and/or middle ear diseases (MEDs). A review of data collected over a 13-month period was carried out to assess coverage and follow-up intervention rates.
Results: The program was successful in achieving 80% coverage for identification of TM and MEDs within 13 months of program implementation. TM and/or MEDs were identified in 26% (82/320 ears) of those who underwent video otoscopy. Telehearing evaluations were completed on 42 ears of individuals with TM and/or MEDs; 52% (22/42 ears) of these individuals had a minimal, mild, or moderate degree of hearing loss. Regarding follow-up for intervention, 78% qualified for surgical intervention, and 31% qualified for medication.
Conclusions: This grassroots-level telemedicine approach was successful in achieving better coverage, and store-and-forward telepractice helped in providing remote diagnosis and recommendation by otolaryngologists to all individuals with TM/MEDs in the rural community. The follow-up for otological intervention significantly improved from that achieved in the previous years.

PMID: 30452749 [PubMed - in process]

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