Tens of millions of U.S. adults have untreated hearing loss, many no doubt in your community. How do you get their attention and convince them of the value of having their hearing loss treated?
What if what seems like a disruption — for example, telehealth or remote-fitting software — is really the way to capture a bigger, underserved population? What if the future of hearing technology looked younger?
An Example From Zocdoc
Consider telehealth. Early on in the pandemic, Zocdoc pivoted and offered a telehealth option, like everyone else was doing. And like everyone else, you were connected to the first available doctor.
But Zocdoc continued to tinker with the platform. Zocdoc landed on a model in which patients could select a provider for their telehealth appointment whom they might normally see in person. At a ratio of 10:1, this option was more popular! Patient experience is still top of mind, even in telehealth.
Keeping your mind open to new methods of helping your patients can allow you to still provide the level of care and service you’ve provided for years.
The Optometry Survey
Let’s circle back to earlier in this post. Our Primary Care Optometry News practitioners made their predictions about the future of the market:
- Solo practices will be things of the past
- Established practitioners will focus on primary eye health, not glasses and contacts
How did that shake out?
Regarding the first prediction, optometry has indeed seen a shift over the years to group settings, mostly in the interest of alleviating administrative burdens. But private practices are alive and well! Corporate eye care, such as LensCrafters, still only represents 7% of an expanding marketplace. In addition, out of all optometrists, private-practice owners are leading in individual income.
As for the second prediction, vision care — not eye health — still reigns in independent private practice. And there’s not only that: At the time of the article, vision care represented 75% of the income for most private practices.
Private practices have thrived amid disruption. No matter the industry, there will always be a place in the market for a business that provides an exceptional experience.
The Costco Effect
Our 2017 study, “The Costco Effect,” sought to answer the question, “What impact, if any, did Costco density have on nearby Audigy members’ hearing aid revenue and average selling price?” The results indicate:
- Costco density wasn’t a strong predictor of either revenue or price for Audigy members.
- In fact, Costco density had a weak positive effect on revenue and price for Audigy members.
- Costco functions as a market expander, ultimately helping Audigy members.
The study suggests using Costco as an ally and potential referral source, not a competitor. A provider from your practice could visit the local Costco, learn the provider’s pain points, and introduce your practice as a resource for the more complex cases that Costco isn’t equipped to treat.