5 Tips for Providing Patient-Centric Care

May 14, 2018 | Operations

In support of Better Hearing Month, we curated some of the top tips that successful Audigy providers use to deliver the highest level of care focused on what’s most important: the patient. Creating a patient-centered approach starts as soon as your patient walks into your practice. We’ve all heard that adage “you only get one chance to make a first impression.” This leads us to our first tip:

Tip #1: Connect with your patients instantly.

You probably already know that when meeting your patient for the first time, it’s important to smile, make eye contact, have open posture, and use a friendly tone. But is that really enough? You need your patients not only to like you but also to trust you. One way to build trust very quickly is to start off your appointment by sharing something personal about yourself. You may be wondering what talking about yourself has to do with patient-centric care. Sharing something with your patient allows them to see you as human and makes them more comfortable opening up and trusting you. Hearing loss is often very difficult to talk about. There are stigmas and associations that make patients nervous and closed off. You can break down that barrier in the first five minutes of your appointment by setting an example of openness and authenticity. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” You can show your patients that you care by building a genuine human connection. This creates trust, and the level of trust established leads to your ability to provide treatment.

Tip #2: Find their true motivation.

When a patient says, “I can’t hear in restaurants, they’re so noisy,” what are they really telling you? Is their problem as simple as wanting to hear better when they go out to eat? Perhaps they have stopped getting together with a group of longtime friends because they aren’t able to keep up in conversation. Or maybe their weekly date night has turned into simply a meal out, sitting in silence. Hearing loss impacts our ability to communicate with the world around us. Patients don’t move forward with technology simply because they want to hear better when they go out to eat; they do it because they want to reengage with old friends or have meaningful conversation with loved ones. They do it because they are tired of feeling frustrated, embarrassed, or left out. The more you can learn about your patient’s true motivations, the better your success will be with getting them to see the value of technology. Try asking your patients how they are impacted when they can’t follow the conversation at dinner. You might be surprised how much they tell you!

Tip #3: Avoid “tech talk.”

Hearing aids have come a long way in the past 10 years. And let’s be honest, they can do some pretty amazing things! Get a group of hearing care providers together and they could talk about features for hours on end. Remember, though, we’re focusing on what our patients want. Do your patients really care about the number of channels and bands? Do they know what “intelligent speech enhancement” means? We argue that all that your patients really care about is that the hearing aids can fix their problems. They want to know that when they are in a work meeting, they will be able to hear around the conference table and won’t have to constantly worry about missing something important. They want to know that they will be able to hear their grandkids reading them a story without having to strain so hard. I know it’s tempting to focus on the technology and all the amazing things it can do…but your patients don’t care about that. Focus on what your patient needs, which is the reassurance that you will be able to use the technology to help them in the areas that are most important (which, if you found their true motivation, you already know!).

Tip #4: Focus on your value, not your product.  

Let’s face it, your patients have a lot of options for where to buy hearing aids. The market is changing, and I’m sure you feel it now more than ever. So how do you stay competitive and continue to offer the highest level of care? Simple — focus on your value, not your product. Can your patients buy hearing aids online? Yes. Can they buy they from Costco or Sam’s Club? Yes. Does that make the technology bad? Not necessarily. Don’t try to compete on product; anyone can get access to great technology. Instead, tell your patients the importance of you as their hearing care provider, and explain to them exactly how you are going to take care of them and ensure they are successful. It’s not the technology alone that creates better hearing, it’s the relationship you have with your patient combined with your expertise. Don’t assume your patients understand this. It is your responsibility to educate them on the value you provide and how that translates into the highest level of care and the best outcomes.

Tip #5: When you get an objection, pull — don’t push.

No one likes it when a patient objects, especially when you think your appointment was going great, and you get to the very end and hear the dreaded, “I need to go home and think about it.” When this happens, we generally do one of two things: We either freeze and let them leave, or we respond with all the reasons they should pursue treatment, reiterating things we have already said. Consider this: When your patient objects, do you really know why? Instead of taking an objection at face value or pushing more information on them, turn the tables and ask a question. Look at objections as opportunities to learn more about where the patient’s head is at. If you approach objections from a place of genuine curiosity and the desire to help, you will never come off as pushy or aggressive. Your goal should be to pull as much information out of the patient as you can so that you can ensure you are providing them the answers or reassurance they need. The next time a patient tells you they are going to go home and think about it, try saying, “I understand wanting to think about it — this is a big decision. Out of curiosity, what specifically is it that you are considering?” This will open the conversation and allow you to get a better understanding of exactly what is making the patient hesitate.

These five tips are merely scratching the surface on how to provide a patient-centered approach to care. Audigy providers have access to the Patients for Life® platform, which is an entire patient-driven process focusing on the highest level of patient involvement and care. Being a hearing care provider is more than just a job, it’s a career. And your work is about more than just a salary, it’s about changing lives every single day. We understand this and strive to provide our providers with the highest level of support through proven processes, tools, training, and ongoing professional development. At the end of the day, what matters most is your ability to help your patients live their best possible lives through better hearing. We’re just here to support you on that journey.

To learn more about being an Audigy provider, contact Audigy Medical today.