Mapping the Healthy Hearing Pathway: Are we meeting our KPIs?

Mrs Lauren McHugh1, Ms Kelly Nicholls2

1Healthy Hearing, Children’s Health Queensland, QLD, Australia

2Healthy Hearing Program, Queensland Health, Nundah, QLD, Australia

Australian Newborn Hearing Screening Programs are encouraged to measure outcomes against the seven Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) from the National Framework for Neonatal Hearing Screening. Using QChild, Healthy Hearing reports that >99% of eligible infants in Queensland undergo a newborn hearing screen, year on year. Despite this commendable outcome, preliminary analysis of the 2015 newborn hearing screening data indicates that 9% of the referred children were lost to contact, therefore their audiological outcomes are unknown. Additionally, a deeper dive into the pathway outcomes for this group of children revealed that 12% were unaccounted for following diagnosis.

In order to understand the factors that contribute to ‘losing’ children and families at points along the Healthy Hearing Pathway, a pathway mapping project was initiated. QChild data records and service level reports for children born in 2015 with a hearing loss were analysed to measure pathway outcomes against the KPIs and to report the lost to contact rates at each point along the pathway.

This presentation aims to raise questions regarding an acceptable lost to contact rate, to examine how truly ‘lost’ these children are, and to reflect on the pathway mapping project outcomes.


Lauren McHugh lives in Brisbane, Queensland and has worked for the education sector, health sector and for private practice in Queensland, New South Wales and overseas. Lauren’s special interests include understanding the multiple factors that contribute to outcomes of children with paediatric hearing loss at both a clinical and a population level.

Kelly Nicholls is a paediatric / neonatal diagnostic audiologist in Queensland, and has worked for the Queensland Healthy Hearing Program since 2014.  In this role, she is responsible for protocol development, quality and safety for the audiology component of the newborn hearing program.  Prior to 2014, Kelly worked at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, with considerable experience in neonatal and infant diagnostic audiology and paediatric cochlear implantation.