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Eur J Public Health. 2016 Jun;26(3):505-10. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckw020. Epub 2016 Mar 23.

Organisation of newborn hearing screening programmes in the European Union: widely implemented, differently performed.

Author information

1
1 School of Public Health, Research Center Health Policy and Systems - International Health, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussel, Belgium 2 School of Public Health, Research Center Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Clinical Research, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussels, Belgium 3 Centre d'Epidémiologie Périnatale (CEpiP), Brussels, Belgium benevos@ulb.ac.be.
2
2 School of Public Health, Research Center Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Clinical Research, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussels, Belgium.
3
1 School of Public Health, Research Center Health Policy and Systems - International Health, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussel, Belgium.
4
4 CNR IEIIT Institute of Electronics, Computers and Telecommunication Engineering, Italian National Research Council, Milan, Italy.
5
1 School of Public Health, Research Center Health Policy and Systems - International Health, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussel, Belgium 2 School of Public Health, Research Center Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Clinical Research, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussels, Belgium 3 Centre d'Epidémiologie Périnatale (CEpiP), Brussels, Belgium.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Implementation of newborn hearing screening programmes is widely recommended and programme organisational designs may differ in practice. The objective of this article was to establish an overview of the newborn hearing screening programmes in the 28 countries of the European Union on four topics (policy-decision, financing, general designs, organisational features).

METHODS:

National or regional programme coordinators completed an online self-administered questionnaire focusing on protocol description and programme organisation.

RESULTS:

Thirty-nine key informants, representing 24 countries, from national or regional levels completed the questionnaire. Newborn hearing screening programmes are or will be shortly implemented largely in the European Union countries. Levels of policy decision-making and organisational decisions are diverse (national, regional or combined). Designs of the programmes (number of steps before diagnosis referral, single or dual target group protocol) highly varied. However, common organisational elements were observed: hearing screening tests are often performed by nursing staff, in hospitals and early in life. This pattern does not apply when a screening protocol is specifically implemented for newborns with risk factor(s) for hearing impairment or admitted to neonatal intensive care units. Hearing test financing frequently involved public sources, including government and public health funds.

CONCLUSION:

Despite the same goal of early identification of hearing-impaired children, there is a high level of diversity in programmes, including policy decisions, financing, general designs and pragmatic organisational choices (e.g. professionals involved, location or time for screening, number of steps in the protocol). Further investigations should analyse these differences in relation to the programmes' contexts and outcomes.

PMID:
27009037
DOI:
10.1093/eurpub/ckw020
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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