Boost in Online Hearing Services

New Study Foresees a Boost in Online Hearing Services

As the world continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, it is becoming increasingly clear that some things will simply never be the same again. Other things may return to what was previously considered normal, but it will take time. Social distancing of six feet is being enforced in stores, restaurants, offices, and other public places, and certain businesses are requiring temperature checks before admitting entrance as well.
While this means you may be able to return to your favorite restaurant soon (with new restrictions and guidelines in place), what does it mean for your hearing practice? Will everything go back to “normal”?
According to a survey conducted in April 2020, your practice may not go back to normal—but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The survey was conducted in Spain, with 782 persons from the Spanish audiology industry taking part. It was carried out during the height of the lockdown in Spain, from April 20-24, 2020.
First, the survey revealed that most practices had taken a big hit to their business due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown restrictions. In hearing aid sales, 77 percent of practices claimed they saw a 100 percent reduction in turnover from device fittings. 52 percent reported a similar loss of business in accessory sales, and 45 percent said they had registered zero income from repairs during the time in question.
Because of the reduction in sales and income, many practices reported they had had to take measures in regards to their staff. 76 percent said they had taken measures that affected employees, and 40 percent planned on a reduction in their overall business budget. 26 percent reported that they expected to spend in order to announce the reopening of their practices.
However, the survey reported more than only the business losses suffered by these Spanish audiology practices. Almost half of the participants said they believed an upturn in sales would come in the fall, around September or October. 20 percent of respondents, on the other hand, believed they would have to wait until 2021 to see an increase.
As for returning to “normal” practices, 61 percent of participants reported that they expect their sales revenue to continue coming through traditional channels. In other words, they expect that they will continue to make income through in-office visits and in-person appointments. 34 percent of respondents, however, foresaw a “mixed model” of business, with both online and offline services.
Many hearing practices have adopted a service model that is focused more on online services since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes virtual appointments, at which the hearing specialist and the patient meet online. As seen by the respondents to the survey in Spain, it is not expected that online services will cease once lockdown restrictions are lifted. Some patients may choose to continue virtual appointments, especially if they have health concerns and would prefer not to go to public spaces.
Because of this continuing shift to a mixture of online and offline services, it is essential that you are prepared to accommodate your clients, no matter how they prefer to meet with you. Telehealth services like myVirtualClinic are ready to help you easily make the shift to online hearing healthcare.
To learn more about the importance of offering online services at this time and how you can better meet the needs of your clients, we welcome you to contact us today at AudiologyPlus. We are eager to help you grow your business.

8 Things Your Audiology Website Needs Right Now

8 Things Your Audiology Website Needs Right Now

Simply having a website is a great step towards helping your audiology practice grow. Now that you have a website, you should consider exactly what you put on your site. Here are 8 things your audiology website needs right now:
Great content
People come to your website looking for answers. It’s as simple as that. Your content should provide the answers to the questions they have.
Remember that people’s questions will vary widely, so your content should be broad enough to answer many types of questions. Consider questions you are frequently asked in your office or via the phone, and answer those questions are your website. These might include questions relating to hearing topics (e.g., “What is a hearing aid”? “Do I need hearing aids?” “What is tinnitus?”, etc.), as well as those relating to your office (e.g., “What are your hours?” “Where are you located?” “What are your qualifications?”, etc.)
Telehealth
While many offices were already beginning to incorporate telehealth into their practice model, the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns around the world have only highlighted the importance of telehealth.
Telehealth services like myVirtualClinic enable you to care for your patients without seeing them in your office. This can save time for your patients (and your staff, too) and can make it easier for patients to reach you.
Social media
Social media isn’t just for teenagers anymore! Businesses need a strong presence on social media as well. You should have a dedicated page for your audiology practice on all main social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. (You can branch out beyond these if you want to!)
Of course, it isn’t enough to simply create a social media page and abandon it. Patients (both existing and potential) want to see that you actually interact with your customers. Be sure to reply to any comments or questions that are left on your page, as well as reviews. It’s also important to post regularly so your practice is kept fresh in the minds of your patients.
Individualism
Unless you are located in a very small town, chances are there are multiple audiology practices in your area. This means that potential patients have a choice of whom they give their business too. In order to win their business, you need to stand out!
There are a few ways you can do this on your website. Include photos of your office and your team. Consider including biographies as well, so your patients can get to know your team before coming in. You might also want to showcase your practice philosophy online, which can highlight how you are different from the others. Positive reviews are another good way to feature what’s great about your practice and why patients should choose you.
Opportunities to sell
Although the optimal setting for selling a hearing aid might be at your office—once you have completed a hearing test and provided a professional consultation—you shouldn’t pass up on opportunities to sell on your website. This can be as simple as listing out (with images, too) the hearing aid tools available through your practice.
eCommerce can be powerful, too. This allows people to buy directly from your website rather than coming to your office.
Great imagery
The old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is still true. Showcasing photos of your office and your team on your website can be a great way to help patients get to know you before they even step foot inside your practice. In addition, a website with eye-catching imagery is much more inviting to look at than one that’s only filled with 10 pt size type!
If possible, have some professional photos taken of your office. This can make a big difference in the quality of the photos and how they appear on your website. You can even have a “patient” (either a real patient or a family member of your staff) in the photos to highlight the level of care you provide.
Patient testimonials
You simply cannot go without patient testimonials on your website. One recent study found that 59.9% of patients chose their medical provider based on positive online reviews, and 60% said they have avoided a medical provider because of negative reviews.
Highlighting a few positive reviews on your website can do wonders for drawing new patients to your practice. If you don’t currently have any testimonials to showcase on your website, just ask your happy customers! Using a service like ReviewMe can also make it easy to continue gathering reviews.
Consistent branding
Have you ever visited a website for a business and wondered if that was actually their official website? You might not have been able to pinpoint the reason at the time, but your questioning was probably due to a lack of consistent branding.
The aim is to provide a consistent experience for your website visitors across your entire website—and the rest of your online presence as well, including your social media pages and any other online listings. This should include using the same logo and practice name. Make sure your office hours, phone number, and address are updated as well. You could even consider using colors on your website that are similar to the colors in your office for an especially consistent patient experience.
These 8 factors are essential to creating an audiology website that draws in new patients and helps your practice succeed. To learn more about how you can build your practice online, please contact us at AudiologyPlus. With over 20 years of experience in marketing, we have the experience and expertise you need to grow your business.

Top 10 Marketing Ideas for Audiologists

Top 10 Marketing Ideas for Audiologists

The secret to success for a hearing practice is not a secret at all—you need loyal patients who love your practice. You know that you provide exceptional care and run a great office. However, in order for your practice to grow and thrive, you need other people to know that, too.
That’s where marketing comes in. To help your practice grow—no matter how big or small you are right now—we have the top 10 marketing ideas for audiologists:

  1. Referral Offers

One of your practice’s greatest assets is your patients! Word of mouth is a great way to bring new patients to your practice. So, why not give your existing patients (who already love your practice) an incentive to spread the good news?
A referral offer is a discount you offer to existing patients who refer a new patient to your office. In some cases, you give the new patient a discount as well; the details are up to you.
2. Reward Positive Reviews
In addition to word of mouth referrals, positive reviews are an excellent way to showcase how much your patients love your practice. When potential new patients research your office online, they will be able to see those positive reviews, which could influence them to choose your practice as their new audiologist.
Consider offering a reward to existing patients who submit a positive review. This could be a discount on their next appointment or a gift card to a favorite local restaurant. Submitting a review is very easy and takes little time on their part, especially if you use ReviewMe.
3. SEO and Local SEO
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is critical to the success of any practice. SEO is what enables potential new patients to find your practice online. Local SEO is especially important for location-based businesses like audiology practices.
VisibilityBooster is a powerful tool for improving your website’s online presence and gaining valuable SEO traffic. With this tool, more people will find your practice, your website will rank higher in search engine results, and you will also be notified of new online reviews.
4. Fun Content
As an audiologist, content related to everything-audiology is probably of great interest. However, to put it frankly, audiology isn’t fascinating to everyone. That’s why it’s important to feature some fun content on your website, too.
One way to bring some fun to your website content is to make use of your blog. A blog allows you to add more personalized content that you can tailor to topics that are relevant at the time. Of course, you can still create blog posts about audiology-related topics, but they don’t all need to be about audiology. Consider creating blog posts about fun topics like office birthdays and celebrations, local events, practice milestones, and even your staff’s favorite recipes.
5. Video Tutorials
If you’ve been on Facebook lately, you might have noticed that more and more people are posting videos instead of written content. That’s because so many people prefer watching videos to reading lengthy posts.
Use that to your advantage! Create simple, easy-to-follow video tutorials for tasks that patients frequently inquire about. This may include how to insert a hearing aid battery, how to clean a hearing aid, etc.
6. Telehealth
In this day and age, having an alternative to in-person appointments is crucial. For many patients, telehealth virtual appointments are more cost-effective and use less of their time than driving to and from appointments at the office. Telehealth is also essential during times when health risks are high, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Telehealth services like myVirtualClinic allow you to provide personalized, quality care to your patients, no matter where they are. As long as they can connect with you via their computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can serve them.
7. Create Customer Campaigns
You already know that not all of your patients are the same. You have patients of different ages and genders, not to mention family demographics, financial backgrounds, and more. Because your patients are so unique, you should have customer campaigns that target these different “types” of patients.
For example, maybe you have certain marketing materials that are targeted towards seniors. These will differ from the marketing tactics you use to target the parents of deaf or hard-of-hearing children. You can also use different marketing platforms to reach varying audiences. Be sure to consider email, direct mail, social media, PPC, and other types of advertising.
8. PPC
Pay-per-click advertising is just what it sounds like: you pay each time someone clicks on your online ad. This can be a cost-effective way to advertise, as you won’t pay for any ads that are not clicked on.
If you want to get your biggest bang for your buck when it comes to PPC, try PPC+. This program is designed to get your business listed at the top of Google results, to keep your practice on people’s minds, and to ultimately draw new, high-value patients to your office.
9. Request Customer Feedback
Even happy patients might have ideas about how you can improve your practice. You won’t know unless you ask them! Don’t be afraid to ask your patients for feedback about their experience at your office. This feedback can be a valuable way to improve your services and enhance your patients’ experiences.
If you do happen to get an unhappy patient, ask them for their feedback, too. This could give you important insight into what could be changed so you have fewer unhappy patients.
10. Have a complete, fresh, branded, and modern website
One rule of marketing in the twenty-first century is that if you don’t have a website, you are missing out on a huge portion of patients. For some people, if you aren’t online, you might as well not exist!
It’s important to not only have a website, but also to have one that’s complete, fresh, branded, and modern. You never want potential patients to become frustrated with your website because they cannot find the information they need or it’s too difficult to navigate; frustrated website visitors typically leave your site and rarely become patients. If your website needs a refresh (or you need a website, period), check out our exceptional, modern website services.
With these 10 tips, you’re well on your way to growing your practice. If you would like more information about how to market your practice online and how we can help, please contact us at AudiologyPlus.

Increase hearing aid sales

Want to Increase Hearing Aid Sales? This Is What You Need to Know

As a hearing healthcare practitioner, your business depends on your patients. If your practice is like most hearing practices, you rely not only on appointments but also on sales–hearing aid sales. So, how can you increase hearing aid sales and therefore boost your business? Here are a few simple ways to increase hearing aid sales:

  • Listen to your patients’ needs.

Pushy salesmanship does not earn repeat customers–and it rarely earns sales. Rather than pushing certain devices on your patients, listen to their needs. Listen to your patient’s preferences, difficulties, and interests. This will allow you to make better recommendations that better fit their particular needs.

  • Follow up with your patients.

Once a patient purchases hearing aids, be sure to continue following up. Make sure they know you have not forgotten about them or their needs. Follow up to make certain that their devices are functioning properly and that they know how to appropriately care for their hearing aids.
It can also be helpful to take the opportunity to remind your patients about follow-up appointments, routine maintenance, and regular fittings.

  • Offer financing options.

Do not let financing be the reason you miss out on additional hearing aid sales. If the hearing aids your patient needs are a little outside their price range, offer flexible financing options that fit their needs. Make it simple for every patient to afford the device that is best for them.
It is also important that the way you explain financing options is clear–and that every member of your team can also clearly explain the financing options. Confusion will only hurt your practice and your sales.

  • Get a modern website.

A modern practice needs a modern website. On your website, you can feature the hearing services you offer, including hearing aids. This helps patients (both current and potential) find the services and devices they are looking for.
With a website built to the latest specifications, your site will function and display optimally on all types of devices. This includes mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. You will also want to consider adopting telehealth to ensure you can serve patients who can’t easily travel to your office. You can troubleshoot and manage hearing aids over telehealth!

  • Focus on Local SEO.

Of course, a modern website will not do much to bring your practice more patients and more sales if people cannot find your website. SEO (search engine optimization) ensures that people who are searching for your services will find them. Local SEO is especially important for making certain that people in your area find your practice.

  • Highlight positive reviews.

In today’s world, reviews are an important part of choosing both products and providers. Showcasing positive reviews on your website can help potential customers feel more comfortable in trusting your services and purchasing the hearing aids you offer.
To do this, you need to gather reviews from your existing patients. Once you have a few glowing reviews, you can start to feature them on your website.
At AudiologyPlus, we have over 20 years of experience in marketing hearing healthcare practices, and we are dedicated to helping your business succeed. If you need help with a modern website, SEO, reviews, or other online marketing services, we have the expertise you need. We welcome you to contact us today to learn more about us and how we can help your practice grow.

Brand messaging on social media - COVID-19

Brand Messaging on Social Media During a Time of Crisis

It is no secret that a lot has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Around the world, people are staying home and practicing social isolation in order to curb the spread of the disease. Fewer people are going to work every day as they instead work from home, with their children home from school as well. Healthcare practices like your hearing practice are taking extra measures to ensure the safety and health of both staff and patients.
Limiting the number of patients who come to your office is likely one of these measures. You may have restricted your office to emergency or essential appointments only. With all these new guidelines and restrictions, it is important to recognize that your goal in using social media is now different than ever before.
Prior to this health crisis, it was essential to maintain a strong social media presence and to create a brand that attracted the notice of your target customers. Once they noticed your brand, your social media was one of the ways they could learn more about your practice and eventually become a patient. While you can still use social media to bring new patients to your practice, its role is different than ever before.
In this time of uncertainty, when their everyday lives are disrupted and they may have loved ones who are suffering or at risk for the virus, people want to see kindness and compassion. Take this opportunity to showcase that your practice truly cares for your patients. Share messages of encouragement, hope, and compassion on your social media pages.
Take steps to ensure that your patients feel cared for. If patients are canceling or rescheduling their appointments, consider waiving any usual fees for these changes. Be flexible with rescheduling, especially as most cities, counties, and states are uncertain of when “stay at home” restrictions will lift. Be compassionate, understanding, and accommodating when emergency situations arise.
Offer options to keep your patients cared for while in-office visits are limited. Telehealth technology is one way to ensure that your patients can still receive high-quality, personalized care while staying home. This form of healthcare utilizes telecommunications technology to allow you to see, talk to, evaluate, and care for patients without meeting them in person.
Since this can be done in most cases using a computer (laptop or desktop), tablet, or smartphone, most patients will have access to this type of appointment. For your patients who are unfamiliar with telecommunications technology (such as senior patients), be sure to provide clear, simple instructions and be ready to patiently answer questions.
Now is the time to use social media to offer genuine empathy and real value to your patients. When this time is over and life becomes more normalized again, you want your patients to remember your practice as one that truly cares. To learn more about how you can take advantage of tools like telehealth during this unique time, we invite you to contact us at AudiologyPlus today.

Using Telehealth to See Patients

Using Telehealth to See Patients

“We need to be ready for a new (environment). There’s no going back.”
-Alexa Boer Kimball, CEO of Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Healthcare providers are scrambling to keep up with the demand for telehealth services and many are seeing unexpected benefits in the shift to virtual healthcare. Some providers hesitate to try telehealth because they are unsure about laws and how health insurance billing will work with video appointments, but actions by state and federal officials have loosened a lot of those barriers, allowing providers to test new platforms and see more reimbursement.
Telehealth (also known as telemedicine) is not a new idea; it has been used as far back as the late 90s. But now, it is a necessity so practitioners can continue treating patients more efficiently. Sometimes, in-person treatment isn’t possible, so integrating telehealth into your regular business practices ensures you will be able to offer your services regardless of the circumstances.
Are you utilizing telehealth to see patients? Integrating telehealth into your regular business practices is key, because:

  • Telehealth is an enhancement to your current business practices and makes your business more advanced. Just because you use telehealth, doesn’t mean you’re going to stop seeing patients in-person, but you can now treat your patients from anywhere.
  • You can be more efficient by delegating telehealth responsibilities to your employees, like appointment scheduling and billing.
  • You will be able to collect and track all your data, including correspondence with patients, billing accuracy, and treatment plans.

In order to execute a successful telehealth service, you will need to use a reliable provider.
Do some research. Do you know what you need? Do you know what you want to get out of a virtual platform? There are a lot of telehealth technology options available, but you will want to make sure you include things like:

  • Ease of use
  • HIPAA-compliance (video service through a secure portal)
  • A reliable connection
  • Availability in your state
  • Automated appointment booking and reminders
  • Secure video and file sharing
  • Branding for your business

You need to choose a technology that enables your practice to deploy an easy-to-use virtual platform that fits in seamlessly with your practice.
Once you commit to a platform, you will need to immerse yourself in it; Test it out, involve other employees who will be using the platform for scheduling and billing, and make sure all who need to use it are comfortable with it.
Finally, you will need to make sure you reach out to your patients. If you have their email addresses, you can easily reach out via email to let them know that telehealth is now an option for you to continue with their treatment. If you don’t have emails for your patients, that is ok! You can take some time to make follow-up calls to your patients (or designate this task to an employee who can schedule your appointments) and before you know it, you’ll be getting back to business.
We know how important your patients are, and telehealth is the bridge that will reconnect you. Whether your doors are open or closed, integrating telehealth into your regular business practices ensures you will be able to offer your services regardless of the circumstances. If a patient can’t travel into your office for their appointment, virtual appointments help solve their transportation problem. Plus, you can expand your business by offering virtual appointments to individuals who live remotely and don’t have a local practitioner available to them.
To learn more about telehealth, telemedicine and all things remote-healthcare, contact us at AudiologyPlus!

How to Succeed in a Virtual World as an Audiologist

How to Succeed in a Virtual World as an Audiologist

It is no secret that the healthcare field requires technology. Whether it be through testing or communication, technology is advancing healthcare business practices quickly. Traditional methods just don’t cut it anymore. So, how do you succeed in a virtual world as an audiologist?
Define Your Strategy
When you are considering telehealth, it is important to consider some key factors, like:

  • What services do you want to offer?
  • How do you want to process billing?
  • Are you going to handle a lot of the backend work or are you going to delegate it? And if you are, who is responsible for what?
  • Is the platform you are considering completely secure and HIPAA compliant? Can you offer it in your state?

All these questions should have firm answers that allow you to move forward with confidence.
Choose a Provider Who is Reliable and Efficient
There are a lot of free video providers (like Zoom, Skype and Facetime) and while those are great, they are not secure or compliant with HIPAA. We probably don’t have to stress to you the importance of security. You will want to find a provider (like myVirtualClinic) that can offer a secure portal, so the patient’s information gated and protected.
Commit and Train Your Employees
Whether you want to use this exclusively or delegate roles to people in your office, you will want to decide how you integrate the service into your business practice and integrate your employees, so they have a grasp on what is expected of them.
Test Out Your New Platform
Once your platform is live and you can poke around, make sure you set up mock appointments and have some employees test it out with you. You want to make sure you are completely comfortable with it and get any questions answered from your provider before you offer it to your patients.
Embrace Technology!
When you make the decision to offer telehealth services, that opens many more doors for you, including:

  • Treating more patients (expanding your reach to target more areas)

Rural areas lack audiologists and one study showed that more than half of all U.S. counties do not have any audiologists.

  • Limitless potential

Many hearing aid brands come with accompanying smartphone apps so a hearing care provider can remotely program a person’s hearing aids via the app

  • Support for patients who have limited mobility or cannot drive

A lot of older patients must rely on others to get them to appointments. This virtual option can be set up for them and give them more flexibility.

  • Ease of use

Tele Audiology allows you to see more patients and process payments through the tele audiology portal securely and efficiently

  • People are shown to be receptive to Telehealth (or Tele-Audiology)

A recent audiology study, 20 participants with dementia were fitted at the university clinic with hearing aids, which were paired to a smartphone app, managed by their caregivers. Researchers monitored wearing time, program use, and the patient’s satisfaction in different real-world listening conditions. The staff could remotely change noise reduction and other algorithms and communicate through real-time video calls, as well as text and voice chat services. The results: Caregivers rated the participants “general comprehension” as 4.5 on average on a 5-point scale in the telehealth period, compared to 2.7 when they weren’t using the remote service. Caregivers said the remote service decreased their stress and improved the patients’ “alertness” and “awareness.”

  • Telehealth can potentially improve the Audiology field as a whole

The current goal of telehealth audiology is convenience but over time, it could bring down hearing aid prices. While regulations and insurance coverage vary by state, the trend is towards more coverage of telehealth.

  • Less overhead

Efficiency saves money!
Building a successful tele-audiology program includes these tips. If you have any questions about telehealth or adapting to technology as an audiologist, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at AudiologyPlus! We are here to support you.

How to Become a Telemedicine Provider

How to Become a Telemedicine Provider

Telehealth (or telemedicine) is completely changing the healthcare landscape and how practices offer essential services to their patients. By using telehealth, medical practices of all types and sizes can maintain patients’ health needs from anywhere, while generating more revenue and keeping costs down. And studies even show that telehealth is the type of service that patients increasingly prefer.
Get started with your telehealth plan by following the easy steps below:
Organize Your Goals for Your Practice
You should plan for and consider some key factors when moving toward a telemedicine program to ensure the transition is easy and successful. You should consider things like revenue, customer satisfaction, wait times, no-shows and cancellations, staff efficiency, patient retention, new patients, and any other measurements that are important for your practice.
Find the Right Partner
There are a lot of telehealth technology options available, but you will want to make sure you include things like:

  • HIPAA-compliance
  • Availability in your state
  • Automated appointment booking and reminders
  • Secure video and file sharing
  • Branding for your business

You need to choose a technology that enables your practice to deploy an easy-to-use virtual platform for a small investment. Just because you want to become more modernized, doesn’t mean you need to pay an arm and a leg!
Train Your Staff
Once you select your telehealth platform, you will want to train your staff and get them up to speed on the software. You may want to designate a few key employees who can become immersed in the process and teach others about how it works. Or you may want to designate specific roles to each employee and assign them features that will be part of their job duties (for example, your receptionist is responsible for the appointment scheduling portion while your office manager is responsible for the billing portion).
You can also easily test out the appointment feature with your staff so all of you are comfortable with the virtual platform.
Launch the Platform on Your Website
Whether you do a formal announcement or just add a link to your site, you will need to make the service available to your patients online. We recommend you add a link to the homepage, so it is easily accessible.
Release an Announcement to Your Current Patients and Market to Potential New Patients
You can do this by either emailing your current patients (if your records include email addresses) or you can add a banner image to your site. You will also want to post this update to your social media sites, as well. Any way you can spread the word!
While telehealth may be a new addition to your everyday practices, you may find that it is a very welcome option to ensure your patients receive the care they need. You will be more able to treat even more patients with ease.
To learn more about telehealth and video appointments, please contact us at AudiologyPlus!