Understand what they say, believe what they do: Evaluation of practice using a state-wide database

Dr Rachael Beswick1, Mr Gavin Bott1

1Children’s Health Queensland, Nundah, Australia

Newborn hearing screening programs are an established part of service delivery in most developed nations, and have been for over a decade. In most programs, screening is supported by a data system to track activity and ensure children are not lost, as a minimum.

Despite the primary purpose of data management systems being tracking of children and KPI reporting, significant data analytics can also occur given the depth and breadth of the population data contained within these systems. Recently the Healthy Hearing program has engaged in deeper dives of the data available in QChild, Healthy Hearing’s program data management system, to answer questions and explore assumptions. This presentation will examine two case scenarios where data enabled decision-making and challenged assumptions, and opinion.

The first case study examined the higher refer rates on a new screening device at a long-standing newborn hearing screening hospital. Causes for the inflated refer rate were explored with staff and vendor explanations cross-checked with the data contained in QChild. Variables explored included time of birth to screen, type of ear coupler, machine variability, and screener practice.

The second case study explored the Queensland Hearing Loss Family Support Service and their contact with families. This analysis revealed some inconsistencies between the clinicians’ perspective of service delivery and the reality captured in QChild. Factors examined included caseload differences between clinicians, such as length of care and contacts with patients.

The above case scenarios have provided a platform for further exploration for all elements of the Healthy Hearing program.


Dr Rachael Beswick leads Queensland’s newborn hearing screening program, Healthy Hearing. Rachael completed her PhD in Audiology at the University of Queensland. Her primary areas of research lie in screening programs, risk factors, detection of postnatal hearing loss, and quality assurance processes.

Gavin Bott leads Healthy Hearing’s QChild application to manage hearing screening data for children across Queensland. His specialties are innovation and technology, which has seen him work on leading projects, including developing tele-audiology technology for servicing rural infants, and creating multiple films for Healthy Hearing.