Differentiating your practice: Taking it to the next level during COVID-19

By Deanna Serrano, Senior Practice Services Manager

It is safe to say we have been bombarded with an infinite amount of information about COVID-19. This situation has forever changed how we conduct business and manage our own personal lives. Suffice it to say, things have been overwhelming, stressful and constantly changing. However, amid all the chaos, there is positive news to report.

Patients are proactively searching for care

Phonak has presented information, in conjunction, with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to review trends in the hearing healthcare industry, during times of financial crisis. The results of previous economic events, like the Great Depression, Black Monday and the Great Recession, has shown hearing healthcare as resilient and considered essential by consumers. The same is being witnessed during COVID-19, and there is a pent-up demand for hearing healthcare by consumers.

70% of first-time users want to do something about their hearing loss and treat hearing healthcare as essential and necessary.

In fact, 70% of first-time users want to do something about their hearing loss and treat hearing healthcare as essential and necessary. The pandemic is forcing us to go beyond the financial impact; we have to consider health and safety of patients. BCG is anticipating consumers are going to be cautious about visiting healthcare professionals, even though we have entered the “fight” portion of the COVID-19. This means for approximately the next 12-24 months, as businesses reopen, consumers are willing to spend money and adapt to new ways to access hearing healthcare, but it will unlikely return to pre-COVID numbers.

Make patients feel comfortable

Patients will require flexible solutions to manage their comfort levels through the pandemic, and they want choices to access hearing healthcare. Differentiating your practice and focusing on patient health and safety, employees well-being, product management, marketing/e-commerce and managing cash will help you thrive over the long recovery projected. So, how can you capture these opportunities?

Patients want to see you now more than ever, but they want to know how the visits will be managed, and they want to be prepared and have choices to match their current comfort levels.

The first step is to start by prioritizing how you communicate the health and safety changes you have made in your practice to your patients. How have you been differentiating your care during COVID-19? How will you continue to provide care until there is a vaccine or new treatment available? Patients want to see you now more than ever, but they want to know how the visits will be managed, and they want to be prepared and have choices to match their current comfort levels.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Review your current patient journey and assess the touch points of access with patients: from check-in for service, reception area cleanliness, exam room and follow-up options.
  • What is the new routine? Can you demonstrate and differentiate the new care and have patients feel safe?
  • Would you consider these touch points average experiences or exceptional, when it comes to safety?

What can you do better?

If you find there is room for improvement, then identify ways to make the processes better and more efficient and safe. Do you need PPE supplies in the office? Do you need to train all staff on what the new protocols are and how to handle patients? Are you communicating to patients on your web site and social media pages or phone messaging?

We can thrive in 2020 if we continue the changes we made for COVID-19 and continue to support our patients through this journey.