By Brian Urban, Au.D., President, CounselEAR
No one needs to be told that the playbook has been thrown out the window. No matter where you work or what patient population you work with, the world has been turned upside down.
Virtually everything is weird for everyone right now – including your patients. And it will be for some time to come. So, my advice: Embrace the weird. Take on a guerrilla business/audiology mindset. Ask yourself, what can I do now to:
- Support my current patients
- Support my staff/coworkers
- Attract new patients
- Solidify my standing with referring physicians
- Understand my business better
- Prepare for the new “normal”
Not surprisingly, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that can be taken. Each practice needs to understand their intrinsic value (i.e., your “why”). This means being introspective. This means writing thoughts/ideas down. This means being creative ̶ trying/failing/reconfiguring/succeeding/repeat. This means recognizing that your patients and your team need you. And, that you are the perfect person for the job.
Support current patients
Patients and their devices still need your expertise, even if they cannot visit your office. Routine follow-ups and clean/checks are a great opportunity to maintain and build upon the rapport you have developed with each patient. During that time, you can make the patient aware of your services options (e.g., curbside service, eAudiology, remote programming, etc.) and determine if the patient may benefit from additional communication aids and advice (e.g., Roger accessories, telecoil activation, communication strategies, etc.).
Patients and their devices still need your expertise, even if they cannot visit your office.
While these conversations are typically not revenue-generating, you are helping to ensure the long-term viability of your practice by demonstrating your commitment to your existing patients. It is important to note that some of these check-ins can be managed by clinic staff with the provider being incorporated as needed. You make yourself and your practice memorable by showing that you care … that connection will outlast any virus.
If there was ever a time to try something new … now is that time. Adding these services can typically be done at minimal expense. They just need your time, attention and creativity.
- Provide remote care: eAudiology, remote programming, curbside service, etc.
- Expand the clinic offerings: tinnitus rehab, CAPD, basic vestibular, etc.
- Empower staff to work from home: call patients for warranty checks, conduct Remote Support sessions for routine follow-ups, etc.
Attract new patients and solidify standing with referring physicians
You’ve got it … now flaunt it. Tell potential patients and physicians what you have been doing. Detail the infection control processes that you have undertaken, the innovative ways that you are delivering care, and differentiate your clinic all along the way. Email and social media are easy methods for communicating your message far and wide at minimal expense.
Email and social media are easy methods for communicating your message far and wide at minimal expense.
Video is also a quick and personal way to share what you and your practice are doing. Talk straight to the camera and say what you are feeling and what need them to know. Please note: You do not have to be good at recording videos. Do not record tons of takes until you get it “right.” Just be yourself and speak clearly. If your message is genuine, it will be well received.
Prepare for the new ‘normal’
Take time to reintroduce yourself to your practice. The numbers are there just waiting for your attention. Leverage the Phonak Inner Circle team to gain amazing insights on your business’ strengths, weakness and opportunities.
So, embrace the weird and make yourself memorable.
Activate CounselEAR on the Phonak Inner Circle Dashboard and see your data from a whole new perspective. When combined with the steps you are taking to support your patients and staff/coworkers, as well as promote your clinic’s ingenuity, you will have an adaptable set of tools that will enable your clinic to find its way through.
So, embrace the weird and make yourself memorable. Be creative and keep connecting with patients. Most of all, know that you chose this profession to help people. Keep your focus there, and your practice will thrive regardless of the twists and turns ahead.