Department of Audiology at St. Paul’s Hospital receives BC Quality Award for Remote Cochlear Implant Program

Dr. Jane Lea, a Clinical Professor in the Division of Otolaryngology, and the Department of Audiology at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver have been recognized for their successful implementation of remote mapping services for cochlear implant recipients. The BC Quality Award acknowledges their exceptional efforts in delivering virtual healthcare services during the pandemic, and their dedication to improving patient care.

As the only adult cochlear implant program in British Columbia, serving almost 1000 patients, providing mapping services was a logistical challenge during the pandemic. Patients traditionally had to travel back to St. Paul’s for follow-up appointments to activate the device and improve speech performance, often at significant costs.

However, the Remote Cochlear Implant Program, launched in December 2020, has enabled implant recipients to undergo mapping remotely through a virtual platform. This successful partnership between information technology and virtual care teams from Providence Health, Provincial Health Services Authority, Island Health, and Interior Health has made a positive impact on patients’ lives, with care providers calling the service seamless and the technology easy to use.

The program has also created greater access to care, as it has allowed St. Paul’s to expand from two appointments per day to three, and has reduced the cost and travel time for patients. The team has demonstrated that the pandemic not only forced us to reconsider how we deliver care, but in some ways, it actually facilitated the provision of remote healthcare services.

Dr. Jane Lea’s leadership and passion for quality improvement have been instrumental in the success of this initiative. As a resource for quality improvement initiatives, Dr. Lea is an inspiration for healthcare providers looking to make a positive impact on their patients’ lives.