What Hearing Healthcare Centers Do
Hearing loss can sneak up on you and take a big bite out of your life. It may start by muffled voices in a restaurant or on TV, but eventually it can steal your connection to your friends and family. As you might imagine, this can be a frustrating situation for everyone involved. The best way to combat this is through preventative healthcare and finding a good hearing specialist to help you keep your hearing healthy.
What They Do
Some healthcare insurance plans offer coverage for audiologist-provided diagnostic testing and may provide additional incentives, such as financial assistance or a reduction in out-of-pocket costs. In addition, federally funded programs for active duty military and veterans, including the Federal Employees Health Benefit plans, cover audiologist-provided hearing tests without requiring referral from a physician or nonphysician medical practitioner.
The United States also has numerous community-based hearing clinics that serve underserved and vulnerable populations, such as those who are elderly or live in rural areas. These community-based clinics are often run by community-based organizations and are free or low-cost to patients. Some of these centers focus on hearing loss prevention and early detection, whereas others offer comprehensive services for adults with severe to profound hearing loss who require long-term follow-up.
As with other healthcare systems, the quality of hearing healthcare can be improved by using a variety of mechanisms such as clinical practice guidelines and standards of practice, performance metrics, and continuous quality improvement efforts. These measures, along with other evidence-based practices, should be incorporated into the delivery of hearing care in order to ensure that the best available science is being applied to patient care.
In addition to reducing hearing healthcare disparities, quality improvements can increase the effectiveness of healthcare teams and improve the patient experience, reduce costs, and improve health outcomes. This requires a collaborative effort among researchers, health professionals, health systems, insurers, advocacy organizations, and other stakeholders.
These groups should have the resources to support these efforts, which can include ongoing research and data collection, a culture of learning and metric-based performance assessment, and opportunities for sharing feedback and ideas with the goal of implementing necessary change.
While many healthcare systems have implemented evidence-based guidelines and standards of practice for hearing healthcare, the extent to which these resources are applied in practice settings is unknown. Therefore, it is essential that these resources be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect the most up-to-date research findings.
How They Do It
There are many ways to go about getting quality hearing health care. A discerning consumer can choose from many local options, while more affluent citizens may have access to state-of-the-art facilities in their own backyards.
For many, the quest to find the right combination of providers and technologies can take time and effort and require a degree of savvy. Even if patients are lucky enough to find the best providers in their area, the challenge of keeping tabs on the latest offerings and navigating the maze that is the insurance process can be daunting.
In order to keep costs down and quality up, many health systems have adopted quality improvement models that involve a mix of process improvements, technology upgrades, and performance metrics. Among the most successful of these are clinical pathways or algorithms that integrate and optimize patient and provider data from multiple sources.
Using these tools in concert with a high level of patient engagement will produce a winning combination. The key is to make sure these tools are visible and readily accessible, to a high enough population of interested parties, for optimal results.
Besides, the right people with the right knowledge at the right time can make all the difference in getting high-quality health care to those who need it most. Whether you’re looking for an answer to the age-old question, “Who do I call when I have an emergency?” or just need a quality ear check, we’re here to help.
How Do Hearing Healthcare Centers Make Money?
Hearing healthcare centers make money through the sale of hearing aids. They may also provide other services and technologies that improve the hearing, speech, and communication of patients who need them. Some hearing healthcare centers also sell mobile health technologies, including biological sensors and mHealth apps, to improve patient care, reduce costs, and support the development of new products and services (HIMSS, 2016; WHO, 2011).
Many audiologists use a method of pricing that includes a markup or profit margin that is
based on the cost of goods sold (COGS) for the product being sold. This approach is similar to dollar-cost averaging when investing, as it allows the audiologist to achieve a higher profit on a lower price. However, this method is not always successful because it often takes longer for the audiologist to achieve a break-even point and leaves less money to re-invest in the business.
There are several factors that impact the price of the hearing aids the audiologist sells, including the cost of the instrument and other variables. Audiologists must also consider the level of competition in the market for that instrument, as well as overall economic conditions.
Setting prices that reflect the COGS is important because it helps to ensure that the audiologist will get the maximum amount of profit. However, setting a price that is too high can be risky since it can result in the practice running out of cash before reaching the desired break-even point.
Another way that an audiologist can make more money is to take advantage of the discount that a manufacturer offers on instruments. By pricing instruments at a lower MSRP, the audiologist can obtain a discounted price that will give the patient a more affordable option and a more attractive financial package.
One of the biggest challenges that hearing healthcare practices face is dealing with insurance and third-party payers. They need to be prepared to negotiate with these entities and to understand the terms of their contracts, reimbursement schedules, and other documents.
In addition to negotiating with insurance companies, hearing healthcare professionals need to be aware of the laws and regulations associated with their profession. They must know their state licensure requirements, the legal implications of providing tele-audiology to patients in other states, and possible consequences for malpractice liability.
Who Do They Serve?
In a nutshell, hearing healthcare centers provide the latest in cutting-edge technology, state-of-the-art equipment, and expert assistance to patients who need it most. They also help to educate the public about a health condition that is often misunderstood or mistreated, and thereby preventing costly and debilitating consequences for those affected. Despite this, access to quality hearing care can be challenging if not impossible, especially for those with limited resources and high medical costs.
To their credit, hearing healthcare centers are adamant about being part of the solution rather than part of the problem. As a result, they are among the most innovative and forward-thinking companies in their respective fields.
They are in the business of partnering with health insurance carriers, government agencies, third-party administrators, and employers to offer innovative, affordable, and exemplary hearing healthcare solutions that drive down costs and improve member satisfaction and loyalty.
The best way to answer this question is to ask a group of industry experts what they consider the most important issues facing their businesses today and into the future, and then to develop a list of top priority areas for focus. These include increasing the use of electronic health records to streamline processes and improve care, improving the efficiency of health information exchange, integrating telehealth services to complement face-to-face interactions, and ensuring that all stakeholders, including patients and their families, have access to high-quality, evidence-based information and tools at the point of need.