Customer case

Hoorcentrum Aerts delivers high-quality care with clinical workflows

Hoorcentrum Aerts is a hearing care chain with more than 25 shops across Belgium, they prioritize high quality and exceptional service. To provide their customers with best-in-class hearing care and solutions, their audiologists receive ongoing training on the latest tools and technologies. Hoorcentrum Aerts offers the most innovative equipment to provide an optimal solutions for every customer. Using verification technology and automated clinical workflows, they adjust the hearing aids very precisely for superior results and a better customer experience. To understand how Hooercentrum Aerts are using Primus, we have conducted an interview with Lore Heylen.

Lore Heylen

"“We use a clinical process or workflow to give the best quality to every client that comes in, and to ensure the same high quality across all shops and employees. No matter which hearing center a customer visits, they will start at the same point, go through the same journey, and will end up with the best possible hearing solutions to meet their specific needs.”"

Lore Heylen, Audiologist and Quality Manager

Hoorcentrum Aerts

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A better, more streamlined workflow

Hoorcentrum Aerts used to have their clinical workflows outlined on paper and trained to all clinicians. This manual system worked for the most part, but had some flaws. For instance, they couldn’t centralize and simplify scheduling, or instantly access secure patient records from any office across their network. Likewise, when using paper systems, they didn’t have a way to update processes and instantly communicate these changes to all staff, nor to track performance.

As part of a commercial excellence initiative – and their commitment to provide extraordinary customer experiences – Hoorcentrum Aerts upgraded to Auditdata’s Measure hardware and software solution, Primus in 2019. Since then, they’ve used Primus to streamline their organization’s processes and protocols. One huge asset is the Primus clinical workflow function, which outlines exactly what audiologists need to do, and in what order. 

This standard of care helps ensuring clinical excellence across the enterprise, onboarding new staff and helping them convert more leads into paying customers.

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"The clinical process leads to the sales process, so if we do our job like we are supposed to, we will make the client’s hearing better, and the client will buy the hearing aids. This means that if you improve your clinical process, then you will sell more hearing aids."

Lore Heylen

Hoorcentrum Aerts

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What differentiates Hoorcentrum Aerts from other hearing centers is their focus on setting up clinical workflows and constantly improving service delivery in the shops. They have implemented a workflow where everybody works the same way and completes tasks in a specific order. Each audiologist must input information into the user-friendly Primus system, indicating that they’ve completed a particular task, and if they haven’t completed one step, they can’t go on to the next. By following this process, they’ll provide excellent care throughout the customer journey, from asking the right questions in the initial consultation to knowing what kind of hearing aids will meet each client’s specific needs.

9 best protocols in the automated clinical workflow

This guide investigates the use of best practice protocols and how it improves customer experience and increases customer satisfaction. 

Primus solves business challenges and boosts compliance

The Hoorcentrum Aerts team has found Primus to be a valuable measurement software system. It helps the business overall by providing transparency throughout the shops, maximizing compliance, and proving that the proper tests are conducted. Managers and shop owners can instantly track data from each audiologist, each shop, and across the enterprise, ensuring that important metrics are met and a benchmark of best practices outlined.

In addition to helping the business and the audiologists, this set of standards benefits their customers, who can feel comfortable that no matter which of the Hoorcentrum Aerts shops they enter, they’ll have the proper tests, receive the best solutions, and experience consistently high-quality customer service. 

The organization’s audiologists, managers, and employees all like working with Primus, understand its benefits, and enjoy having the workflows optimized in this way. 

“We told our staff, especially the ones that were working here when our workflows were on paper, why we made the transition to Primus and what we hoped to accomplish with the new system. All our employees see it as helpful and not something that they ‘have to do’ or a system that works against them. They know it makes things go faster and more efficiently, and they can fully engage with each client and not worry about the order of the tasks to complete,” Lore explained.

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"It helps us ensure consistent quality. With Primus, if our audiologists have a client that they have questions about, they flag it with the quality department. And if managers see there is something wrong with the workflow, we can immediately ask why an audiologist didn’t do a test or why they didn’t follow the protocol."

Lore Heylen

Hoorcentrum Aerts

Learn more about Hoorcentrum Aerts

Elevating data collection

Hoorcentrum Aerts uses Primus to collect and analyze data, which they utilize in a variety of ways.

Standards of care

First, they can view the data segmented by audiologist, per shop, and across the business to track metrics and ensure standards of care. They can easily spot any deviation from the workflow and determine why an audiologist didn’t follow the predetermined processes. They can also gauge personal and shop performance, using this data to drive business decisions.

Operations

Additionally, the staff can use the data for operations, for example, to determine the purpose of each client’s visit. They can also examine the data to determine whether patients have major hearing loss that would be helped by hearing aids and/or accessories. 

Marketing

Their marketing team uses information collected through Primus to spotlight the hearing aids that audiologists are recommending and fitting in the shops.  This helps ensure that they’re promoting top performing/top selling solutions in their campaigns. Moreover, the results they have from the REMs are shared with ENTs who then know how good a treatment their patients get.

Reimbursements

Since insurance in Belgium requires specific data for hearing aid reimbursements, Hoorcentrum Aerts uses Primus to show ENT doctors and insurance companies that they’re doing the proper tests and ensuring compliance.

 

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Easy to get health insurance reimbursement

Health insurance varies by country, of course, and in Belgium, there's no public reimbursement, it's only private insurance.

In Belgium, the reimbursement process depends on clinical proof, so Hoorcentrum Aerts must demonstrate that a customer has a hearing loss and they’ve had the proper hearing testing as instructed in the insurance guidelines. If a customer needs a binaural solution, the audiologist must show that the customer hears better with two devices versus one. And the customer’s ENT doctor must sign the testing paperwork before it goes to the health insurance company for reimbursement. By using Primus, Hoorcentrum Aerts can easily provide the necessary documentation to ENT doctors and insurance companies – and demonstrate compliance – making it much more efficient for customers to get reimbursed.

Clinical workflows in Primus - Auditdata

Primus boosts clinical success

The use of hardware and software like Primus boosts their clinical success. Their team works with data they secure through Primus to increase purchasing – and repurchasing – rates in the shops. For many clients, hearing is relative. They don't know exactly what they are missing until they come into the shops and experience hearing aid demonstrations firsthand. The Hoorcentrum Aerts audiologists use Primus data and testing to determine the extent of each client’s hearing loss and come up with a solution to meet their needs and help them overcome their hearing challenges. 

“If you don't use any software to measure hearing aids, I think that you will still have some results, but less than you’d have using a tool like Primus,” Lore explained.

Primus workflows for trial optimization

Hoorcentrum Aerts offers a six-to-eight-week trial for hearing aids, and customers don’t have to pay up front. During this trial period, the organization uses Primus to manage the clinical workflow and a practice management system to process booking appointments and follow up calls on specific dates. Their team provides each client with the best solution, the proper fitting, a pro-active follow up experience, and exemplary customer service throughout their journey. Primus ensures that the ENT doctors and health insurance companies receive all necessary documentation, making it easier and stress-free for patients to get their reimbursements. In short, the organization uses Primus to elevate the customer journey every step of the way, and to ensure consistently excellent experiences.

Future aspirations for system

Currently, only Hoorcentrum Aerts audiologists use Primus for their workflows, but their managers hope to expand it to other non-audiologist staff, like the front desk workers. 

“There’s a telephone conversation before a customer comes into our hearing center, and I could imagine something in the workflow that our front desk staff could use to check some boxes before the initial appointment, but that's not the case at the moment,” Lore explained. “We could ask questions and fill out the responses through an online form in Primus, so we’re sure to ask each customer the same things as part of the workflow. And if the front desk staff determines that a customer has problems hearing in noise, for instance, that can help the audiologist know to run tests around that issue.”

To improve efficiency and reduce the amount of manual work in the clinic, Lore would eventually like to have an encrypted, secure link they can send to each customer prior to the first visit. The link would include a questionnaire about the customer’s hearing loss and medical history. Once complete, audiologists throughout the enterprise would have secure access to this information through Primus, making the process more efficient. This way, the customer wouldn’t need to explain their medical history and hearing issues in depth during a pre-appointment telephone call or at their initial visit.

Lore also envisions a more integrated approach, where the Primus software and other practice management systems are aligned.

“The thing that’s missing in the workflow is that we cannot see exactly what kind of tests are being done. Our workflow and our practice management system don’t talk to each other. So, we have to open the workflow in Primus and can see what's done, but we cannot see updates,” Lore said. “In the perfect situation, we would love to see what kind of rule our audiologists used for fitting the hearing aids, using the Primus software.”

“An integrated system with clinical processes guiding staff all the way would take less time, be easier, boost quality, require less assistance, increase accuracy, and cost less,” Lore continued. “The biggest challenge is that it's not that easy to combine everything, and maybe it would be slow because it's a lot of data.”

In Belgium, customers must wait five years to purchase a new hearing aid with reimbursements. So, the Hoorcentrum Aerts team alerts each customer after four years to remind them that, in a year, they’ll have a new reimbursement and can get new hearing aids. They need to do this manually in the practice management system to filter by specific criteria, such as pulling a list of clients who have had their hearing aid for four years.

“We would see a benefit if this process was automated and you've got a list every month of who needs to be contacted because it's a year, or four years, to determine who needs to be notified,” Lore said.

In terms of improving the workflows in the Primus software, Lore would love to have audiologists type in why they didn't do something that’s standard practice. If there was an electronic form for the audiologists to explain why they altered from the workflow, their managers could immediately understand their rationale.

While there are always areas of improvement in even the best systems, Lore said the Hoorecentrum Aerts team has truly enjoyed using the Primus system and has found it to be tremendously beneficial for the customers, audiologists, and enterprise.

Primus Pro is an advanced portable audiometer, which is one of the most sold audiometers linked to Auditdata Measure equipment solutions. With modern and innovative features, Primus Pro is a fast, efficient, and user-friendly audiometer that delivers everything you need to perform advanced clinical audiometry and counselling. Driven by advanced software, it makes data available from your testing and fitting processes empowering you to streamline workflows and provide better customer service.

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