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17 11/2018

Prof. Piotr Skarżyński in the Board of the International Society for Telemedicine and e-Health

Prof. Piotr Henryk Skarżyński, M.D., Ph.D., Msc., re-elected to  the Board of Directors of the International Society for Telemedicine and e-Health for the 3-year term of office 2019-2021. He will be the Vice President and representative of ISfTeH’s institutional members. The official inauguration of the term of office will take place during the first meeting of the newly elected Board, to be held in Warsaw on February 18-19, 2019.

The new ISfTeH Board members were elected in a voting supervised by the ISfTeH Management and Nomination Committee composed of institutional, national and individual members of the organization. Only two candidates could run for each open position.

Together with Professor Piotr Skarżyński, Prof. Krishnan Ganapathy – President of the Apollo Telehealth Networking Foundation, one of the largest entities operating in the medical industry in India and pioneer in telemedicine in the world, was running for a position in the Board of Directors, as a representative of institutional members.

Other members elected to the Board are: Andy Fischer from the Swiss Society for Telemedicine and e-Health as the Representative of National Members and Michele Griffith as the Representative of Individual Members.

Election of Prof. Piotr Skarżyński to the Board of the largest International Society for Telemedicine and e-Health in the world is a proof of recognition of  many years of intensive work for the development and promotion of telemedicine in Poland and abroad, for involvement in the development of the first National Teleaudiology Network in Poland and the results of international scientific research, hearing screening tests and e-consulting conducted in Africa and Asia.

The International Society for Telemedicine and e-Health is a partner of the World Health Organization. The mission of the organization is to promote and support activities in the field of telemedicine and e-Health, facilitate access and disseminate international know-how and knowledge, as well as experiences and to ensure contact and support of recognized experts in this field worldwide. ISfTeH conducts an open dialogue and cooperation with the industry and the business community in order to foster development and implementation of innovative and practical products and services in the field of telemedicine and e-Health, helping to discover and strengthen synergies existing between global partners. ISfTeH is an umbrella organization for national telemedicine and e-Health organizations, supports developing countries, helps launch new national organizations, supports national and international working groups on telemedicine and e-Helath standards and regulations, builds partner networks, actively supports communities, non-governmental and non-profit organizations whose activities go hand in hand with the WHO vision and mission.

Polish organizations that are a member of the International Society for Telemedicine and e-Health: the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing, Institute of Sensory Organs and the International Center of Hearing and Speech Medincus.

28 09/2018

Assoc. Prof. Piotr Henryk Skarżyński, MD, PhD, MSc granted the “Superlider” Award

Assoc. Prof. Piotr Henryk Skarżyński, MD, PhD, MSc received the Superlider Award in the category of “health” in the contest organised by the editorial team of the “Echo Dnia” magazine. The contest jury honoured the contribution Prof. P.H. Skarżyński has made into the propagation of pro-health attitudes and improvement of detection of hearing and speech disorders among the youngest local inhabitants in particular.

The Leader of the Region award is granted to the fathers of economic success in multiple fields and areas of market activities. This year the awards were presented for the twelfth time. The contest jury honoured individuals, enterprises and local governments that could boast outstanding achievements, compared with their competitors on the market. The laureates of the contest comprised well-known large enterprises as well as small-sized business entities which stand out on the local market. The “Superlider” Award is the highest possible distinction granted in recognition of distinguished contributions to the regional development and improving the standard of living of its inhabitants. The Grand Finale ceremony during which winners of the twelfth edition of the contest were announced took place on 21 November in the Concert Hall of the Radom School of Music.

Thanking for the award, Prof. Piotr H. Skarżyński emphasised the importance of social participation in prophylactic and screening programmes which play the key role not only in the detection of potential health disorders but also in the collection of population data which are indispensable to plan both regional and national health policies. Prof. Skarżyński also thanked the entire team participating in the programme of hearing screening tests for first grade primary school students in the Mazowieckie Voivodeship for their engagement and efforts made in order to provide children with an opportunity of early diagnosis and dissemination of knowledge pertaining to hearing impairments.

Honorary members of the contest jury included Adam Bielan, Deputy Marshal of the Senate of the Republic of Poland, Zbigniew Kuźmiuk, a Member of the European Parliament, as well as Rafał Rajkowski, Deputy Marshal of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship. Honorary patrons of the Award were Wojciech Skurkiewicz, Deputy Minister of National Defence, Radosław Witkowski, President of the City of Radom, as well as Anna Maria Białkowska, Anna Kwiecień, Andrzej Kosztowniak and Leszek Ruszczyk, Members of Parliament of the Republic of Poland.

31 08/2018

The first telefitting session between Africa and Europe – Poland as a leader in using telemedicine for modern treatment of patients with hearing impairments

On August 26, in Dakar, Senegal, the first telefitting took place, that is, remote adjustment of the speech processor by specialists from Poland from the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing and the International Center of Hearing and Speech Medincus in Kajetany. The patient taking part in teleconsultations was a 7-year-old boy from Senegal with congenital hearing loss who in 2016 was operated in the Clinic in Kajetany. The telefitting system is a unique on a global scale solution of remote adjustment of cochlear implants ensuring greater availability of treatment for patients with hearing impairments and more effective rehabilitation. 

An interdisciplinary team of doctors and engineers participated in the first connection between Poland and Africa  via the telefitting system. In Dakar the consultation was conducted by Aissa Diaga Ngom, an audiologist from Senegal under the guidance of Polish specialists – Associate Professor Piotr H. Skarżyński, M.D., Ph. D., and Łukasz Bruski, D.H.S., while in Poland the session was supervised by specialists from the World Hearing Center and International Center of Hearing and Speech Medincus.

During the visit of the Polish delegation in Senegal, they also met with local specialists to discuss including the center in Dakar to the world’s first Teleaudiology Network. The National Teleaudiology Network is a system  covering telerehabilitation, telefitting, tele-education, screening, telediagnostics in Europe, Asia and Africa, created in 2009 in the IFPS, currently it comprises 24 telemedicine stations. The development of contacts with Senegal was possible thanks to the reopening of the Polish embassy and a branch of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency in Dakar.

Telefitting allows patients to undergo remote hearing rehabilitation. Patients no longer have to go to the hospital every few months. It is enough that they come to a center closest to the place of their residence, integrated by means of a teleconference system with the Clinic in Kajetany. Several thousand patients use telemedicine solutions every year. Thanks to the telefitting system, the visit is basically no different from a checkup in person, except that the patient and the doctor see each other on the screen. The use of the best, improved over years remote methods of fitting and rehabilitation bring tangible benefits – saving time and money for patients, and better use of time of medical personnel.

For the best results in terms of hearing improvement after the cochlear implantation, it is necessary to provide the patient with well-organized, long-term post-operative care. Hearing rehabilitation is a long-term and labor-intensive process that requires a lot of commitment, comprehensive knowledge, experience and continuity. One of the most important tasks covered by this care is the optimal fitting of the auditory implant. It is necessary for the proper transmission of surrounding sounds, including speech, to the patient’s auditory path.

Specialists from the World Hearing Center with the help of trained staff from a local center, can carry out all the necessary medical examinations, measurements and consultations, while a clinical engineer, from his office in Kajetany, can take control of the remote computer and reprogram the patient’s speech processor taking into account the results of measurements. The internet allows the Center’s specialists to organize a teleconference enabling auditory and visual contact of the patient with the support staff, and the remote desktop software allows you to take control of the remote computer to perform measurements and fitting.

Telefitting is safe, reliable and very welcome both by patients and specialists. Parameters of electrical stimulation obtained during telefitting do not differ from the values obtained during a traditional fitting in direct contact with the patient. This means that this system gives a doctor a new, extremely efficient tool to control past treatment and further rehabilitation of the patient.

– Conducting rehabilitation with the use of a telefitting system is yet another implemented model of cooperation between Poland and Africa. We are trying to promote the teleconsultation system, which we have already launched jointly with Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, on African markets. It allows you to perform specific medical activities, check equipment and conduct rehabilitation via the internet, i.e. remotely. We are also trying to establish an umbrella organization and affiliates with local specialists who will join our telemedicine sessions to carry out a common diagnosis of patients – says Associate Prof. Piotr H. Skarżyński, M.D., Ph. D.

Polish otolaryngologists during a long-term cooperation with specialists from African countries received proposals for joint scientific and research works. Initially, we managed to organize hearing screening tests in Ghana, Cameroon, Morocco, Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Congo, Tanzania, Senegal and Rwanda.  African specialists also come to Poland to gain knowledge offered by the Polish school of otolaryngology in the field of diagnostics, treatment and hearing rehabilitation. They are interested in our clinical practices, and want to follow the Polish model and experiences.

Cooperation in therapy and rehabilitation of patients also gives the opportunity to study diseases at a very advanced stage, no longer prevalent in Poland due to the high level of our medicine. In Africa, the scale of problems and challenges are different. It is often believed that hearing loss is a natural and imminent condition. However, the constantly growing awareness that hearing loss can be cured motivates to help the patients and use the knowledge and solutions offered by modern medicine and telemedicine.

10 07/2018

The WHO’s third global meeting devoted to hearing loss prevention and deafness treatment programme

In July the World Health Organisation (WHO) held at its domicile in Geneva the third global meeting on programme on prevention of deafness and hearing loss treatment programme.

The World Health Organisation announced the establishment of the World Hearing Forum (WHF), an alliance between the UN agencies, governments, scientists, NGOs and private entrepreneurs aimed at intensification of actions aimed at hearing care promotion. This international organisational and scientific support of unprecedented scale and range is highly important for devising subsequent actions, programmes and projects aimed at global health promotion in cooperation with with various continental, regional and local institutions.

According to the WHO’s estimates, ca. 466 million people all over the world suffer from major hearing loss, while ca. 500 million experience other types of hearing impairments affecting their daily lives. In the coming years these numbers are likely to increase substantially. In keeping with the WHO’s calculations the total global costs generated by the still unsolved problem of hearing loss amount to USD 750 billion per year. Hence, some preventive measures need be taken, not only globally, but mostly at continental, national and local levels.

The WHO focuses on the prevalence of hearing impairments and consequences of the lack of treatment, indicating solutions that could help to minimise such problems and encouraging governments and competent institution to take actions aimed at improving diagnostics and treatment of hearing impairments for e.g. by implementing effective and economically viable screening tests and using state-of-the art technologies and e-health tools. At the same time, the WHO also highlights the importance of education, prevention, monitoring and active commitment of patients.

Members of the alliance have also pointed out to the social aspects of communication disorders and their impact on the proper intellectual and emotional development, which may, in turn, affect one’s social and economic situation.

Hearing impairments are nowadays regarded as civilization-related diseases. It is widely acknowledged that the properly functioning organ of hearing is an indispensable element of interpersonal communication and a pillar of contemporary information society. Therefore, hearing impairments are regarded as major development barriers, hindering the process of acquisition of linguistic skills and active participation in social life. Bearing in mind the enormous scale of the problem, actions focused on early diagnostics, therapy and rehabilitation of the aforementioned disabilities are indispensable.

It is highly important for us to reach the patients, especially the senior ones aged 75 and more, out of whom three-quarters experience some kind of hearing loss, in order to help them stay capable of maintaining good communication with their surroundings for longer – says Professor Skarżyński.

The consensus around screening tests, hearing loss prevention and treatment of deafness forged among international representatives of the World Hearing Forum is an event of a great topical value. Such actions are also very significant for Poland. Professor Skarżyński quoted an example of a unique multi-specialist programme intended for prevention of civilization-related diseases”Health Comes First” implemented during the summer season across Poland. – Such large-scale preventive measures are one of the ways to promote healthy attitudes – explains Professor Skarżyński.

The idea of hearing screening tests is promoted by the members of the World Hearing Center’s Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing not only all over Europe, but also overseas. This applies, in particular, to developing countries with generally less developed healthcare and disease prevention systems, which can be the major beneficiaries of the knowledge, experience and best practices shared by the Polish specialists.

As a result of the cooperation with local institutions and healthcare centres, a number of hearing screening tests were carried out in such countries and regions as for e.g. in Moldova, Romania, Western Siberia, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Senegal, Nigeria, Rwanda and Ivory Coast.

2 03/2018

Prof. Piotr H. Skarżyński awarded in Bangladesh

On February 28, 2018, in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, cooperation between specialists in the field of otolaryngology, audiology and phoniatrics from Poland and doctors from South Asia was inaugurated. The Polish delegation was represented, among others, by prof. Piotr H. Skarzynski.

During the meeting, representatives of the Ministry of Health in Bangladesh, Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka and the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) took part in the round-table discussions. The entire Polish delegation was also awarded by the Commander of the Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka with honorary medals for their work for otolaryngology in Bangladesh.

One of the elements of cooperation will be the implementation of grants and conduction of joint research. Scientific projects will concern the treatment of hearing loss and its diagnosis, as well as the possibilities and solutions offered by the use of telemedicine in daily consultations. Planned joint effort will include not only research projects, but also organisation of hearing screening tests and training of specialists from Asia in the field of rehabilitation using the possibilities offered by modern telemedicine. Particular emphasis will be placed on using the technological capabilities of the first in the world initiative of this type – the National Network of Teleaudiology, created at the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing by prof. Henryk Skarzynski 15 years ago.
20 02/2018

The first Pole on the American Academy of Otolaryngology Committee – Head and Neck Surgery

Assoc. Prof. Piotr Henryk Skarżyński, MD, PhD, MSc was qualified as the Member of the prestigious Hearing Committee, operating within the American scientific society – American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. Only those with the most outstanding scientific achievements and developments in the field of otolaryngology are selected from those applying to the Committee. Assoc. Prof. Piotr Henryk Skarżyński, MD, PhD, MSc is the only representative of Poland in this Committee, as well as its youngest foreign member.

The Hearing Committee of the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, consisting of only 24 members from various countries, gathers and promotes scientific reports and particularly important information in the field of otolaryngology – head and neck surgery. This activity is carried out through lectures and presentations, scientific and research programs, and the publication of various materials.

Additionally, members of the Hearing Committee are undertaking numerous activities in the field of research, education, including specialist training and setting new standards and emerging trends. The Committee also performs an advisory function, supporting scientific organisations and providing information and answers to international inquiries on current issues in otolaryngology.

28 10/2017

The first in Central and Eastern Europe cochlear implantation using HiRes Ultra device with new HiFocus SlimJ straight thin electrode

On 24 October 2017, in the World Hearing Center of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology in Kajetany, took place the first in CEE cochlear implant surgery with the newest thin, straight electrode HiFocus SlimJ.  Dr Piotr H. Skarzynski assisted in the operation conducted by prof. Henryk Skarzynski.

HiFocus SlimJ is a straight electrode of small diameter. Such electrode build facilitates preservation of functional hearing and inner ear structures during its insertion. Use of such electrode in combination with a minimally traumatic insertion method through the round window developed by H. Skarżyński, made it possible to extend the criteria of qualification for cochlear implant to patients with partial deafness, which means people with good, or slightly weakened hearing in low frequencies and significant hearing loss in high frequency range. Using the H. Skarżyński method, insertion of an electrode into a cochlea does not damage its normally functioning segments.

Skarżynski’s method, so called ‘Round Window Approach’, is the topic of the training course ‘Window Approach Workshop WAW’, organized in Kajetany since 10 years ago, with participation of ear surgeons from the whole world. The first in CEE cochlear implantation with the HiFocus SlimJ electrode was one of eight demonstration surgeries performed on 24 Oct. in the World Hearing Center during the WAW workshop. It has been observed by 18 workshop participants – surgeons from the Czech Republic, Italy, Belgium, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Romania and Russia, as well as several doctors and residents from the Institute.