Original Research

In pursuit of increasing the application of tele-audiology in South Africa: COVID-19 puts on the alert for patient site facilitator training

Katijah Khoza-Shangase
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 69, No 2 | a900 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v69i2.900 | © 2022 Katijah Khoza-Shangase | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 January 2022 | Published: 20 July 2022

About the author(s)

Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Department of Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) presented and highlighted new and unanticipated challenges to the provision of clinical services, raising an urgency for the application of different models of service delivery, including tele-audiology. In many tele-audiology encounters, a site facilitator is needed at the patient site to help with the hands-on aspects of procedures, and the implications of this requirement are significant for the resource-constrained African context.

Objectives: The aim of this scoping review was to investigate published evidence on training provided to patient site facilitators (PSFs) for tele-audiology application to guide the South African audiology community in tele-audiology application initiatives.

Method: Electronic bibliographic databases including Science Direct, PubMed, Scopus MEDLINE and ProQuest were searched to identify peer-reviewed publications, published in English, between 2017 and 2021 related to training of PSFs. The guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) were followed during the screening process as well as for illustrating the process.

Results: Findings are discussed under four key themes: (1) type of tele-audiology and the implications thereof, (2) length of training and its implications, (3) diversity in the range of PSFs used and its implications for the training, and (4) heterogeneity in the training.

Conclusion: The findings highlight important considerations for tele-audiology application within the African context, specifically decision-making around who can serve in the role of PSFs, as well as content and nature of training required, with implications for policy and regulations as well as human resource strategy. These findings are important for the COVID-19 pandemic era and beyond.


Keywords

audiology; COVID-19; human resources; patient site facilitators; South Africa; tele-audiology; training

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