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SHOEBOX for Occupational Hearing Testing: Becoming Mainstream

Hearing Conservation, SHOEBOX News

It wasn’t always easy being the new kids on the block. While we realized that hearing testing was ripe for innovation, we were met with a lot of resistance. An iPad audiometer isn’t compliant. You can’t automate a hearing test. It’s not possible to test outside of a sound booth. No one will go paperless.

Fast forward almost eight years. We’re no longer the new kids. And we are very much an accepted approach to administering an OSHA-compliant hearing testing program. Dare I say, the preferred alternative.

There are a lot of trailblazing customers to thank for this. Those early adopters of innovative technology helped us be better. They partnered with us to share their knowledge and expertise. Their feedback and feature requests have translated into the solution we have today. One that consists of testing equipment, digital data management, and optional services. All of which have been purpose-built for occupational hearing testing.

The Test Equipment

While our test equipment is still iPad-based, it has improved greatly over the years. Our first iteration was also an ANSI-approved audiometer. But it lacked a few key requirements for workplace testing.

It didn’t feel right to bolt-on functionality to a device that we designed for the health care space. So we embarked on a two-year mission to build a new product. One that would better meet the needs of a health and safety team.

In January of 2021, we launched SHOEBOX PureTest. With PureTest, program managers can pre-configure their test settings in the web portal. These settings are then locked and pushed to all the testing devices used in your program. Centralizing control over settings forces examiners to follow the testing steps established for your program. It will even block an examiner from proceeding with a test if an attempt is made to skip a pre-defined step.

What do our customers say? They report higher levels of program compliance. They attribute this to the fact that every test examiner follows a consistent testing method.

Digital Data Management

Our iPad audiometer has always been what was new and innovative about our solution. But our Digital Data Management is the true work-horse behind the scenes. This powerful, web-based system:

  • Eliminates the need for paper records (freeing up valuable storage space) and ensures all program data is complete and current (including pre-test room scan reports)
  • Is HIPAA-compliant, to ensure the secure storage and management of program data across all sites
  • Ensures that all data can be accessed from one central location
  • Can be integrated with your EMR system
  • Easily automates reporting, such as identifying employees with recordable or non-recordable standard threshold shifts, and who is due for testing
  • Automatically sends summary reports by email to all key stakeholders
  • Easily generates medical or audiological referral letters for employees
  • Controls the configuration of pre-set test parameters and mandatory test-prep activities to help ensure program-wide consistency in testing protocols and compliance

What do our customers say? Again, compliance levels have gone up. They have a better handle on the overall pulse of their program. They are assured that test examiners are following consistent testing protocols and that all requirements of a compliant program are being met. They report that SHOEBOX is a great compliment to other data management and reporting systems in use due to its integration abilities. And the automatically-generated reports help them stay on top of who is coming due for testing, who needs to be retested, who requires a referral, and more.

The Services

We also offer a host of optional services. These truly complete the solution for our health and safety customers. They include audiological reviews, consulting services, and professional services.

Audiological Review

Our earliest customers told us that while they loved our test equipment and paperless data management, we were missing a crucial component for a complete solution. A lot of the real work happens after a test has been administered.

Our customers who have opted for Audiological services have access to a network of licensed Audiologists. All of whom specialize in occupational health reviews. This North American review network offers:

  • Shift determination and confirmation
  • Identification and review of problem audiograms
  • Baseline audiogram revisions
  • Ensuring completeness of results
  • Test follow-up recommendations
  • CAOHC-certified Supervising Audiologists

Consulting Services

Bringing their testing programs in-house was a new concept for many of our early adopter customers. So we designed a consulting service to help them get started. Delivered by our CAOHC-certified Supervising Audiologists, we can offer:

  • system configuration help
  • workflow consulting
  • baseline management
  • and more

Professional Services

And for those who need it, we help our customers get started, and then successful, using SHOEBOX. Our team of experts is ready to assist with onboarding, training, data import, or even usage monitoring.

Our Most Successful Customer

We’ve been working with some of the most forward-thinking health and safety professionals for almost a decade. They truly blazed a trail that many of their peers now hope to follow. This approach is no longer new, or seemingly risky. Gone are threats that testing this way isn’t “OSHA approved.”. Or that we don’t meet the requirements of an ANSI audiometer. Testing with SHOEBOX has frankly become mainstream.

But it’s not always easy. It requires hard work and shifts in thinking.

What we’ve learned from these early trailblazers is that they can improve their overall compliance rates by:

  1. They leverage the local/regional health & safety managers as test examiners. They have a vested interest in the success of the program.
  2. Creating a better testing environment – one that doesn’t include a booth or a mobile truck – for employees helps to create better buy-in.Ensuring all program data is centralized, and complete.

They have also seen reductions in overall program expenses as a result of:

  1. Moving to a rolling testing schedule, versus once per year, as a way of minimizing disruptions in business operations.
  2. Testing in-house eliminates the overtime costs associated with offsite clinic visits or the expense of bringing expensive trucks onsite.

Conclusion

While there is a lot to be said about the excitement of being a disruptor in an industry, there is no denying that becoming “mainstream” is a powerful motivator. Having the opportunity to help new and existing customers take control of their program, save significant costs, and deliver a better experience for their employees continues to drive us forward. And hearing them tell us that they have achieved higher levels of compliance re-affirms our early decision to change the status quo.

If you have been thinking you may be ready to do things differently, let us know. We’d be thrilled to help you out too. Contact us at info@shoebox.md.