How to grow a private practice you believe in
Ginny Lezotte, Au.D., CCC-A, practice owner of Grosse Pointe Audiology, decided to go into the hearing care industry after witnessing a touching, personal situation she saw when following an audiologist during Lezotte’s undergrad.
A son-in-law had earlier shared with the audiologist that his father-in-law was a concert pianist, but he wouldn’t play anymore because he couldn’t hear himself and he didn’t want to make a mistake. “During a follow-up appointment, after the father-in-law had been fit with hearing aids, the son-in-law slipped the audiologist a cassette tape,” Lezotte said. “It was his father-in-law playing the piano again.”
“Just to know that you can make that much of a difference in someone’s life, and that they weren’t able to do something that they loved because they couldn’t hear, and you were able to give that back to them is amazing,” she said.
As our Inner Circle Spotlight, Lezotte explains insights into building a private practice and how the Inner Circle program has helped her invest in her business.
Building up a family atmosphere
Lezotte opened Grosse Pointe Audiology, located in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, in 2002, and basically grew her practice from scratch. “When I opened, I was everything from audiologist to receptionist to biller – all encompassing,” she said. “But over the years, we’ve been able to help so many more people in my area where I live.”
“We make the patients feel comfortable, because it’s a scary experience coming in when you have hearing loss. We wanted everybody to feel very welcoming and very comfortable.”
One of the reasons Lezotte went into private was that she wanted to be able to dictate a patient’s experience from the moment they walked in her front door to the moment they left. “I wanted to make sure that they were treated in the way I wanted them to be treated,” she said. “We make the patients feel comfortable, because it’s a scary experience coming in when you have hearing loss. We wanted everybody to feel very welcoming and very comfortable.”
Making a patient feel like family is part of her team dynamics. “My front desk staff is phenomenal. They have relationships with all of the patients,” Lezotte added. “In fact, sometimes it’s hard to get a patient to come back with me because they’re telling my receptionist about everything they did that weekend and what their grandkids are doing.”
What does it ‘take’ to open a practice?
Besides having dedication, Lezotte said that having good business sense is important when opening your own practice. “You can be a great audiologist but not know how to run a practice. So, time management is incredibly important,” she said.
“My advice for people going into private practice would be to put your heart into it and do the things in your practice that are important to you.”
Lezotte also shared that you have to have your hand in a bunch of different areas, and sometimes it can be difficult to do things like all the hiring and firing, discipline and getting the staff on board.
“My advice for people going into private practice would be to put your heart into it and do the things in your practice that are important to you,” she added. “And I really believe that if you do what you do and you do it well, you don’t have to worry about anybody else. You just worry about your practice, and the patients will come. Provide good service and the patients find you!”
Providing an all-in-one choice
According to Lezotte, Phonak Marvel™ rechargeable hearing aids have made a big difference in her practice. “Up until that point you could choose, based on different features, so I would have to counsel my patients on what was the most important to them,” she said. “Was it rechargeable, was it direct connect, was it cosmetics? And so, to be able to offer a product that has everything in one is wonderful.”
Lezotte tells her patients that Marvel has everything, but if they don’t want to use a feature, we can turn it off. “If a year from now they decide to get a new iPhone, and they want to have direct connect, I let them know we can do that, too,” she added. “So, it’s wonderful to have all the features in one product and to have it be such a great product. Patients are not getting Marvel just for the direct connect, they’re also getting Marvel for the sound quality and the performance in noise. So, it’s a whole package.”
Take advantage of Practice Services
“The nice thing about the Inner Circle program is it’s very specialized to what you need,” said Lezotte. “So, whether you’re a big ENT private practice or a small privately-owned private practice, they really have different things that they can do to help your practice, different programs that can really help you succeed in your private practice and make your practice successful.”
One of the Practice Services Lezotte took advantage of was a complete redesign of her website. “I had had the same website company working with me pretty much since I opened, and the fees just kept going up and up without any explanation of what I’m paying for,” she said. “So, for me to completely redesign my website after I had been in business for 16, 18 years, was a difficult decision to make, but the Inner Circle team working with SEO made it so much easier of a task to complete.”
“…completely redesign my website after I had been in business for 16, 18 years, was a difficult decision to make, but the Inner Circle team working with SEO made it so much easier of a task to complete.”
According to Lezotte, having the website redesigned was an easy process and she loved the product. “The Inner Circle points are such a blessing to have for the office, because it allows you to maybe invest in something that you wouldn’t normally invest in because Phonak is going to help you out with that cost, with those Inner Circle reimbursement points,” she added.
Lezotte encourages other hearing care providers to join the Inner Circle program. She said, “When I look at all the Inner Circle offerings, I may not be interested in some of the things, but there’s other things that would really help me out as a practice, and there are things that you weren’t trained to do or you may not know about that Phonak has the capability and the people in place to help you with those things, which is really nice.”
Jo-El M. Grossman is the Content Manager for Sonova. She is an avid storyteller, as well as an accomplished, creative and qualified marketing and editorial leader with a multi-media background.