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Ida Institute's Pilot Seminar Uses Innovative Approach to Spark Knowledge-Sharing, Insight and Enthusiasm

Skodsborg, DK November 10 - Unconventional approaches to knowledge sharing proved to be the catalyst for collaboration, innovation and insight at the Ida Institute's pilot seminar, Defining Hearing. The three-day educational seminar held in Skodsborg, Denmark engaged 24 hearing care professionals representing 13 countries in a collaborative process to develop a relationship-centered care approach to defining hearing.

"Our pilot seminar literally brought the concepts and theories discussed ‘to life' utilizing ethnographic videotaped interviews conducted by our staff anthropologists and short theatrical scenes that enlisted participants in both patient and professional roles," states Institute Director Lise Lotte Bundesen. "The results were often surprising, and sometimes humorous, but all achieved our goal of deepening our participants understanding and appreciation of the issues and challenges professionals and patients encounter on the patient journey of people with hearing loss."

The innovative structure of the seminar was the brainchild of Ida Institute staff and their combined expertise in audiology, education, communications, business and anthropology and the contribution of the Institute's distinguished faculty members Dr. Harvey Abrams, Dr. Kristina English, Dr. Christina DePlacido and Dr. Tine Tjornhoj-Thomsen. "The seminar structure was built around our belief that we have much to learn from one another and that none of us had all the answers and had no intention of saying that we did," says Bundesen.

The ethnographic videos of patient/audiologist interactions, filmed in several countries by staff anthropologists, aimed to mirror aspects of the practice of audiology that participants could relate to their own experiences. "Many quickly identified parts of their own practices and connected on a very personal level with the challenges presented in the videos," explains Bundesen.

Participants were invited to share dilemmas and challenges encountered in their own practices and write them as stories which could be re-enacted by the theater group. Following the dramatizations, participants offered suggestions on how to change the situations depicted and role played their suggestions with the actors. "This was a powerful experience for all," notes Bundesen. "Many could see what another participant was doing wrong and then, when they stepped into the role, fell into another trap themselves."

Throughout the weekend, faculty members shared research and studies that further supported insight into the patient/audiologist interaction.

Dr. Harvey Abrams, Director of Research at the Army Audiology and Speech Center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, shared his perspective on Collaborative Self-management. In this approach to patient care, the patient, the audiologist, the patient's family and others in the patient's support network all share information and create a plan together to guide care of the condition.

Dr. Christine DePlacido of Scotland's National Health Service introduced the technique of Reflective Practice. Like Collaborative Self-Management, this technique has been studied and implemented successfully in other health professions. Reflective Practice develops self-awareness so that the hearing care professional can become more aware of the dynamic in the relationship between the audiologist and patient and other members of the patient's world.

In her discussion of the Patient-Centered Care, Dr. Kristina English emphasized that meeting patient expectations is a primary challenge in audiologic treatment. Her insights prompted discussion of the ways in which the relationship between patient and hearing care professional can help support patients across the gap between expectations and outcomes.

Dr. Tine Tjornhoj-Thomsen, an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen, guided participants in "framing" the patient encounter by taking time to understand what is at stake in the encounter between the provider and the client.

As part of their seminar experience, participants any of whom have well established professional networks -- agreed to share seminar insights and learnings with other hearing care professionals in their communities. Ida Institute staff, faculty and participants will continue to collaborate post-seminar through a closed online forum created by the Institute.

The pilot seminar included individuals from 13 countries and enabled participants to see the differences as well as the many similarities in their approaches to the patient/professional relationship. "As we prepared for the seminar, we were a bit nervous about how individuals representing so many cultures, societies and practices might interact," observes Bundesen. "We should not have worried. As one participant said at the close of the seminar, ‘You have shrunk the globe for us.'"

One initial measure of success was the development of a working concept for a tool to help hearing care professionals and their patients navigate the Patient Journey. Over the next several months, Ida Institute staff, faculty and participants in upcoming seminars will continue the work initiated by the pilot seminar participants -- translating the concept into a practical tool that will be freely shared with the hearing care community.

Ida Institute is planning a series nine seminars for 2008-2009 with three seminars devoted to each of three topics. The next two seminars in the Defining Hearing series will be held in January and February. Applicants for the seminar series can apply online at www.idainstitute.dk.

About the Ida Institute

Established in 2007 with a grant from the William Demant and Wife Ida Emilie Foundation, the Ida Institute is as a non-profit independent educational institute located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Named in honor of Ida Emilie Demant, the Institute seeks to foster a better understanding of the human dynamics of hearing loss from its recognition to its resolution - the patient journey. By serving as a catalyst for knowledge sharing and the development of innovative and practical tools, the Institute assists hearing care professionals in helping hearing impaired people address the physical, psychological and social challenges of hearing loss.

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