In the current climate of over-the-counter hearing aid and device legislation and fears regarding where the future of audiology may go, we as a profession need to focus on our strengths in the patient service area.
The thing that defines us as providers is our ability to provide quality patient experiences. Consider taking courses and providing staff and administrative support with training on concepts such as behavioral economics, emotional intelligence, and motivational interviewing to allow them to connect and truly elevate the patient experience beyond the basics.
Regular training and a “grand rounds” approach to reviewing patient experiences as a group can help providers learn where they can improve or where they may have tools available they did not realize before. Our relationships with our patients are a long-term commitment that we need to be able to acknowledge and understand.
Identifying the underlying emotions for what motivates a patient is critical in their long-term success. Go back to the basics and walk through the patient’s shoes at each stop of their experience with your practice from the appointment setting to the points along the way where decisions are made. Ask yourself, is this the provider experience that I would want to have?
How to Keep Our Patients Happy in a Changing Marketplace
In today’s changing landscape, it is important for patients to recognize our value as audiologists to their hearing health success. The challenge is making sure we show that value to every person who walks through our door. Having a plan and following a protocol for each patient to streamline the process and enhance the patient experience can be something that easily sets your practice apart. Here are five ways to meet best practices and provide exceptional patient care.
- Income measures: Start by getting an idea of where the patient feels they have difficulty and where they are in the process of accepting help. You can use a simple questionnaire like the HHIA/E or COAT.
- Meaningful diagnostic tests: Complete a full diagnostic test battery with appropriate and helpful measures for each patient. A common battery may include otoscopy, DPOAEs, tympanometry, acoustic reflexes, air, and bone pure-tone thresholds, word recognition, and speech in noise.
- Patient-Specific Recommendations and Treatment Plan: Based on the income measure and diagnostic testing results you will be able to recommend the best treatment plan for each patient. This may include hearing devices, accessories, and hearing assistive technology, as well as establishing specific patient goals.
- Verify and Validate: Use real-ear verification on any hearing device fittings to ensure proper and optimal programming. Use outcome measures to validate that you have succeeded in meeting patient-specific goals and they see benefit and value in your treatment plan. You can use forms such as the COSI.
- Post-Fitting Follow-Up and Auditory Rehabilitation: Make sure to set up a plan for post-fitting follow-up care and counsel the patient on AR services or plans. Develop a schedule for return visits throughout the year, such as annual hearing checks and programming. Offer group classes, individual appointments, or external resources for patients to complete additional AR in order to be successful hearing device users.