Changing and Evolving to Meet the Future of Patient Care

Changing and Evolving to Meet the Future of Patient Care

Dawn Heiman, Au.D.

I’ve always loved how the seasons change throughout the year because I feel like life would be boring without those changes. (I also like roller coasters.) And our profession also has had seasons and we are changing with the times while you as the practitioner are evolving and changing the ways you care for your patients. Like seasons (and rollercoasters), we can find ourselves repeating ourselves repeating what we’ve done in the past or remembering that the storm doesn’t last forever. Over the years we have changed from paper billing and paper charting to electronic. Some of us remember the industry uproar and pushback from the patients when we wanted to fit digital products and move away from analog technology. We prepared for the changes as best we could by tweaking our patient protocols. Sometimes these seasons of change bring us opportunities for more services to create a larger offering for our patients.

No one really truly enjoys change, but it is possible to make the little adjustments over time, and gradually they can make huge impacts on how your office runs. We have a recession on the horizon, and many of us are looking for positive ways to prepare. At the end of the day, looking back at what you created for the good of the patients and the health of your program is the best part!

In this edition of Audiology Practices we have excellent topics that help you help more patients including

  • Promoting Hearing Health Literacy in the Medical Community
  • Educate and Obligate: A Physician Outreach Case Study
  • Treating Tinnitus across a Broad Patient Population
  • Insights on Operating a Balance Center
  • Reader reactions to A New Analysis of the Audiology Workforce

And as changes are occurring around you, the medical community should be updated through your lens and by you, not from the nightly news or general articles. I love the article in this edition that discusses promoting hearing health literacy in the medical community, as well as the physician outreach case study. You truly are the expert in the area of hearing, tinnitus, and balance disorders and it is your job to educate your community about hearing health. This is definitely an on-going initiative that requires meeting with physicians and allied health professionals and educating them about the importance of helping their patients improve their hearing. Unfortunately, because there are negative stigmas around hearing loss, many of these professionals may have false beliefs about hearing health solutions—and the importance of hearing health. It is our job to tell them the positive stories of success and educate them about the different treatment options and motivate them to encourage more people do something about their hearing loss and refer patients to audiologists.

Speaking of receiving patient referrals, treating patients with tinnitus and vestibular disorders is so important to our community and I encourage you to read the about treating tinnitus across a broad population and operating a balance center. Diving in deeper and helping your patients to the fullest scope of practice is the best way to not only stand out in your community, but also to truly help them when others refer to you for treatment. Finally, don’t miss the follow-up article on reader reactions to the audiology workforce issue from the December 2022 issue, which further makes the case for practicing at your full scope and offers perspectives on delegating hearing aid services to hearing aid specialists (HAS) in favor of performing services at the top of your scope to meet growing population needs and mitigate the projected audiologist shortage.

As you and your practice evolve and grow, you may find yourself going back to the fundamentals. The changing of seasons can bring joy and discomfort at varying times, and I believe this edition of Audiology Practices will help you and your practice revisit what you might have focused on in the past and can help you to move forward into the future. I look forward to evolving and changing with you! ■