Meh – Indifference, disinterest and disconnect

Mrs Gabrielle Kavanagh1, Ms Felicity Hood1, Dr Zeffie Poulakis1, Dr  Melinda Barker1, Ms Alison Jagger1

Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program, Parkville, Australia


It is somewhat insular to expect engagement, however, knowing that families do not engage in a free, high quality check for their brand new baby is difficult to understand and accept. The Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program (VIHSP) undertook an analysis of eligible babies DOB 01/01/2005 – 31/12/2016 (n=642,947) to investigate lost to follow-up (LTFU) for newborn hearing screening and post screening services in Victoria during which the implementation of state-wide newborn hearing screening was achieved.


VIHSP data were analysed to determine the rate of LTFU, where along the hearing screening pathway families became LTFU and if the LTFU rate changed during the period. Exploration of patient geography and other factors influencing access was undertaken. Additional analysis included the impact of actions VIHSP staff undertook to encourage engagement, and improvements to communication tools (e.g. Follow up protocols, LOTE resources for new and emerging languages) and innovations (e.g. SMS outpatient messaging services) were assessed.


During implementation of state-wide newborn hearing screening in Victoria (2009 – 2012), LTFU reduced at every stage of the hearing screening pathway. However, since 2012 LTFU rates for babies who have been referred following a positive screen has fluctuated (screen referral 0.75% – 3.20%, direct referral 0% – 11.88%) and LTFU rates for babies who have not commenced or completed their screening has remained static (0.27%). Finally, the paper details innovations and improvements realized during 2005 – 2016, and which, if any, are believed to have had an impact on Lost to Follow up.


Gabrielle Kavanagh is a Senior Project Officer with the Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program who commenced as a hearing screener in 2007. Since then, Gaby has managed screening locally and regionally as an Area and Senior Area Manager and in 2011 changed roles within the VIHSP team to settle in the projects team. Gaby has worked on a variety of projects relating to screening delivery, information systems, resources and data management. She relishes working on projects to promote best practice and excellence in all aspects of screening delivery, data collection and reporting.