Every audiology practice is different. The approach that works for one retailer or clinic may yield entirely different results for another. Success depends on a wide range of factors, ranging from location to competition to marketing concepts. Even so, there is a baseline of practice management essentials that every audiology clinic should strive for. We’ve pulled together a few basic best practices that should help your clinic set the table for lasting success.
When it comes right down to it, audiology is all about communication. Customers come to your audiology clinic because they want to be able to communicate more clearly, and that often starts with communicating their hearing health needs to your audiologists. When they do, it is vital that they feel that they are being listened to at every stage of your process. It is a sad irony of the hearing care industry that so many customers feel as though they are not being heard by their providers.
The COVID-19 crisis has forced hearing health providers into a realization that has been a long time coming: it is no longer enough to simply expect customers to come to you for their audiology needs. Walk-in traffic to retailers and audiology clinics has dropped off considerably, as the age and underlying health conditions of many audiology patients puts them at high risk for COVID-19 fatalities.
Even before the pandemic, however, audiology clinics, along with most retail healthcare industries, were already trending away from in-person appointments as the norm. While some aspects of audiology will likely always require physical consultations, retailers need to invest now in communication tools that keep them connected to their customers without requiring face-to-face meetings. A few key communications practice management areas to focus on include:
- Tele audiology
- Video conferencing
- SMS and text messaging
- Clinic management software
- Social media
- Channels for patient feedback
Evaluating Patient Care
The hearing evaluation is the “showcase” piece of any audiology practice. It’s also an area where your staff is likely to feel quite confident in their abilities. Taking those factors into account, it is very important to remember that those distinctions may not mean as much to potential patients. Your primary goal in a hearing evaluation needs to be making your client feel as comfortable and confident as possible.
Be sure to make all patients aware of exactly which services your practice provides, and the benefits each evaluation does or does not carry for them. Those evaluation tools might include:
- Tele-audiology services
- Real-ear measurements
- Self-screening tools
- Key tests including pure tone, bone conduction, and speech testing
Understanding Your Technology
Healthcare technology is constantly evolving. Keeping up with the latest developments in audiology is a challenge even for experienced professionals. It can be downright confounding for a prospective patient who is likely already coming into the situation with a fair amount of fear and nervousness. Being able to explain your technology in layperson’s terms goes a long way toward easing their minds. As a bonus, taking the time to reacquaint your staff with the tech tools that guide your practice can refresh your skills and increase employee engagement.
Some key tools to spotlight and demonstrate to patients might include:
Demonstrating Your Advantages
Prospective clients likely come to you with a number of pre-existing concerns about their hearing healthcare. It’s important that you are able to demonstrate the importance of high-quality audiology overall, as well as the specific benefits of your services. It is crucial to ease their minds about the technology discussed above, and also to persuade them that your organization is their most reliable and user-friendly option. A few key points to emphasize include:
- Customer service
- Certifications and training
- Technology and facilities
The world of audiology is rapidly changing, and there’s no surefire single path to success. By implementing these best practices and maintaining a flexible mindset, however, your practice management efforts should be able to keep up with the changes and keep your patients satisfied and well-served.