Published on 26 March 2013
The new Dutch system for the distribution of hearing aids represents a world wide novelty. 'Evidence based medicine' in the distribution of hearing aids would be the most desirable option, but cannot be attained as yet. With 'practice based evidence' The Netherlands will get the second best option, says prof. dr. ir. Wouter Dreschler, chair in Clinical and Experimental Audiology at the Academical Medical Center Amsterdam. In the new system all new fitting trajectories and hearing aid sales are subjected to a questionnaire, which is included in a database. This enables a quality analysis that will bridge the gap between Product Related Intended Use and the Human Related Intended Use, between characteristics of hearing aids and the needs of the patient. The Netherlands are the first country in the world to bridge this gap. The sheer number of 140.000 to 150.000 fittings a year is large enough to achieve an unrevealed refinement in the quality analysis that will be performed on a yearly basis. The quality of hearing aid brands and models, of hearing aid specialists and their fitting performance as well as the quality of health insurance companies can be distinguished. Parties that perform well in the supply chain will become appararent, as well as the parties performing badly. A lot that has been unclear so far, will eventually become clear."The American Marketrak-research bij Kochkin has proven to be enormously influential. But it offers less details than the system we have introduced as off January first, 2013 in The Netherlands; in this sense we will improve on Marketrak. We will for instance show the link between diagnosis, rehabilitation aim, choice of hearing aid and evaluatio" states Dreschler.
Leendert van der Ent