The next episode of the Future Ear Radio podcast features an array of six audiologists from around the country to discuss what life has been like within their business settings from the start of the shutdown to the re-opening that’s underway now (albeit at a different pace depending on where you live). My goal for this episode was to get a sense of how the shutdown has impacted different types of practice settings within the industry, in different regions around the country.
One of the re-occurring themes throughout these conversations was adaptation. Obviously COVID-19 has changed the way providers in this industry interact with their patients both physically and digitally. As you’ll hear through the course of this episode, we talked at length about how practice owners are rethinking just about everything that pertains to the patient experience.
I think it’s important to note too that while some of these modifications and changes may be short-term, a number of them seem to be viewed as long-term additions or adaptions as well. All six of the interviewees mentioned that curbside pickup was something they’ve introduced during this time and will continue using moving forward into the future. This fits into the macro-level transition providers will likely undergo these coming years as they pivot more toward service-based models. I envision that this curbside service (or “white glove” as Dr. Gyl Kasewurm called it) will evolve to include many more services over time, such as high-end hearing aid drying.
Telehealth and remote services will clearly play an important role in the future of this industry as well, as noted by the audiologists interviewed in this episode and past episodes. As Dr. Sheryl Figliano pointed out midway through the episode, telehealth can be a really effective way to screen patients before they come see you, as you can gather lots of information (i.e. feature preferences and insurance information) and therefore reduce the time you see a patient. In the short-term, this is great as it allows people to get in and out without lingering in the office, and in the long-term, it increases efficiency.
Along the same vein, Jason Aird and I discussed at the end of the episode that this period of time has allowed for deeper reflection into ways to better optimize his practices. Prior to the pandemic, business was humming along and it might not have seemed practical to take a step back and really examine where the business can be improved. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Even though these conversations are not a full representation of what’s been transpiring across the industry at the provider level, they helped me to better understand the state of this facet of the industry. While it has been difficult for many of us within the industry in different ways these past few months, I’m optimistic about the audiology profession and the industry that surrounds it. These conversations further solidified that for me and I hope they do the same for you.
-Thanks for Reading-