Alaska in 2006 is 7.5% Asian, 3.7% Black, 0.4% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 24% Native Alaskan, 62% White, and 2% is unknown. Despite the State’s low population density, 65.6 % of the population was considered urban in 2000 (urban is defined by the 2000 Census). The remainder of the population live in rural and remote communities, most of which are not on the road system.
Recent data indicates the percentage of infants receiving hearing screens before hospital discharge increased from 81.1% in 2003 to 91.8% in 2006. As of 2005, this information is calculated from data in the database and prior to that time, from paper reporting. When factoring onlyinfants born in hospitals, the percentage of newborn hearing screening is approximately97% as calculated from State of Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics information compared with the database entries.
Of the 10,220 infants entered into the State EHDI database for infants born in 2006, 9,648 infants are documented as having a newborn hearing screening. The refer rate for all hospitals was 4%. Practice profile reports are sent to all hospitals quarterly; these reports include documentation of the hospital’s refer rate. The reports are reviewed by the EHDI Program Manager and outlier hospitals with high refer rates are contacted by the Program Manager. Of note, eight of the 21 birthing hospitals have less than 100 births per year; these hospitals may appear to have a higher refer rate in a particular quarter based on the small number of infant births. If an outlier has a consistently high refer rate, the hospital is encouraged to check their equipment and consult with the hearing screening vendor if the high rate persists. Having consistent staff conduct newborn hearing screenings also contributes to refer rates in the expected range. Birth screeners have also utilized the quarterly data teleconferences to problem solve screening/equipment issues.
Data from the State EHDI database indicate for infants born in 2006 that were entered into the database, 9% or 876 infants were in need of follow-up. Of those infants, 4% or 403 had a refer, and 5%, or 473 missed or had an undocumented screening. Of those 876 children, 19% are documented as receiving follow-up and 81% are recorded as “in process”. The focus of this next grant cycle will be to use models of improvement to follow-up on infants listed as “in process” to