The overall objective of the Nationwide Network of Teleaudiology was the improvement of life quality of individuals with hearing and speech disorders in Poland through applying telemedical solutions. The telemedicine, combining medicine and technique helps with providing medical services at a distance and eliminates geographic and financial barriers connected with a movement of patients to specialist medical centers. It also improves the access of patients to the experienced and qualified staff and offers the specialists modern methods of learning and gaining experience.
The overall objective of the Network was accomplished. The new-created Polish nationwide network of auditory telerehabilitation centers consists of 20 telerehabilitation posts situated in the main centre – the World Hearing Center and in 19 partner centers all over the country. There is a group of specialists trained within this project, incl. speech therapists, psychologists, educators and audioprothetists operating in these centers. This group collaborates with specialists from the World Hearing Center during teleconsultation and teletreatment. The optimal distribution of the centres all over Poland allowed to use them for permanent telerehabilitation treatment, planned telediagnostic visits and telefitting and interventionist emergency visits in case of hearing problems. It also allowed to use them for medical teleconsultation of difficult medical cases and for monitoring and teleconsultation on stationary rehabilitation visits (rehabilitation turns) in Leba and soon in Ciechocinek. From the beginning of the project realization of over 4,500 different consultations of patients were conducted.
Polish nationwide network of auditory telerehabilitation centers and application of telemedicine in clinical practice were the subject of intensive publicity actions and research work presented to the international medical communities in several most important domestic and foreign scientific conferences.
One shall mention, that the Polish nationwide network of auditory telerehabilitation centers is a world-scale innovative initiative, still developing new methods, technologies and applications that increase its capacity and clinical, scientific, teaching and social usability.
Implementing new methods on hearing telerehabilitation will influence the improvement of the life quality of present and future generations and will result, in the future, in increasing social and economic cohesion of the region and convergence between Poland and other EU countries.
In a social aspect of the sustainable development policy there will be also medical staff qualifications adapted to use modern technology in their daily work.
Polish nationwide network of auditory telerehabilitation centers with its multimedia teleconference studio and infrastructure are also heavily used in an education of a new generation of specialists and in education and gaining experience of specialists in various disciplines in partner centers. There are also meetings with parents and teachers from local schools taking place where specialists from the World Hearing Center take part using teleconference connection.
The network was also used during a worldwide teleconference LION where doctors from all over the world could watch hearing implantation operations commented by specialists, all brought live. The usability of the network elements in teaching activities conducted for various groups of individuals was far beyond the expectations of the Institute expanding the teaching process and providing new forms of transmission.
Network received numerous international and national awards such as Brussels Innova in Brussels in 2008, Concours Lepine in Paris in 2009 and title of Leader in Innovation during the Intarg Fair in Katowice in 2010. In July 2010, method received, in Washington, prestigious 21st Achievement Award in category of Healthcare in The Computerword Honors Program.