Representatives of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing participated in the 3rd Health Challenges Congress (HCC)

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Representatives of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing participated in the 3rd Health Challenges Congress (HCC)

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Representatives of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing participated in the 3rd Health Challenges Congress (HCC)

The International Congress Center in Katowice has become, for the third time already, a forum of the multisector debate of the representatives of different community groups involved in healthcare sector. The 3rd Health Challenges Congress (HCC) took place from 8 to 10 March 2018. The delegation of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing included Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, MD, PhD, dr. h.c. (mult.), the director of the Institute, and Assoc. Prof. Piotr H. Skarżyński MD, PhD, deputy head of the Department of Teleaudiology.  

The Congress is, unique on the European scale, forum of a multifaceted discussion about issues crucially important for the healthcare systems. Its participants are the eminent experts from dozens of medical fields as well as the representatives of science, economy, business, politics, finance and insurance markets, NGOs, central and local administration, and media.

During the Congress, Prof. Henryk Skarżyński took part in the interdisciplinary session ‘Will technology replace a physician?’ presenting the lecture titled ‘New Polish medical technologies’. In his lecture Prof. Skarżyński has emphasized the advantages and functions of the first in the world National Network of Teleaudiology, which has been created on his initiative in 2009. The National Network of Teleaudiology enables conducting teleconsultations with participation of patients and specialists from several local centers at the same time, as well as telefitting. The Network gives patients better access to specialist healthcare services. Telemedicine, combining medicine with ITS, allows also conducting rehabilitation at the distance. Specialists from the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing use this system daily for telerehabilitation and telefitting of patients, who can come for a consultation to a center closest to their home. Telefitting allows patients with cochlear implants to have their speech processor adjusted without travelling to Kajetany. A successful implantation is not the end, but only the start of a treatment process. After surgery patient has to undergo hearing rehabilitation, which can last several years. Moreover, an implant (specifically its speech processor) has to be correctly fitted to allow good hearing and stimulate the development of the auditory cortex. Patients have to attend regular consultations, sometimes they would have come from distant regions of Poland. It has changed after the introduction of telefitting.

In his lecture, Prof. Skarżyński has explained also the principles and aims of the newest Scientific and Medical Program ‘Music in human auditory development’. This program is a specific model of the auditory treatment with music, taking advantage of both active and passive participation of a patient. The program comprises several stages fitted for different age groups and involves a battery of workshops, classes and exercises engaging music, movement, dance and sensory imagination. Some of these exercises are designed to be performed at home. Acting on several senses at the same time using different stimuli speeds up and improves the effects, both in terms of quality and time, of the cortical stimulation.

Prof. Henryk Skarżyński has presented also many other innovative solutions implemented in the Institute supporting everyday work of a physician.

In hearing rehabilitation music is very helpful, as it engages multiple brain regions, which has an enormous impact on hearing and language development, especially in a child – said Prof. Skarżyński, the originator and initiator of the Program. – Cochlear implantation gives patient a chance to live in the world of sounds. To us, sounds always seem to be beautiful. For someone who had been deaf before implantation, it is not always so. Sometimes sounds are very tiring. In a long and complicated process of hearing and speech rehabilitation, positive stimulation is essential, to encourage listening and repetition. Music is such positive stimulus – explained Prof. Skarżyński.

The Inauguration Ceremony of the Program will take place on 26 March in the World Hearing Center, in a debate with participation of patients. The special guest of the Ceremony will be Mrs. Agata Kornhauser-Duda. The First Lady will visit the World Hearing Center and meet patients using hearing implants.

During the Congress, Assoc. Prof. Piotr H. Skarżyński, MD, PhD, who is the only Polish member of the Board of International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth, took part in the discussion panel ‘Telemedicine: a Fashion or a Necessity?’. In a panel he had shared his knowledge about the development of telemedicine in the world and its perspectives for Poland. He has presented also the activities of the Institute related to pilot hearing screening on four continents.

The Congress this year has focused on issues related to healthcare policy, finance and management, novel therapies, technologies and education. Experts participating in the Congress, representing different medical specialties, as well as hospital managers and representatives of medical societies, have pointed out the numerous challenges facing not only the physicians, but also politicians, NGOs and medical sector experts and economists.