Person-Centered Hearing Care

The Importance of Person-Centered Hearing Care

In your profession as an audiologist, your greatest priority is ensuring high-quality patient care that leaves patients satisfied and happy. However, in running your practice, you also recognize that in order for your office to succeed, you need to get paid (and pay your staff) as well. In addition, your team members need to feel valued.
Together, these three factors (client satisfaction, financial viability, and staff happiness) lead to practice success. While all three aspects are needed, the most important is client happiness. According to research in several different fields, a person-centered care (PCC) approach helps to ensure that services improve both client satisfaction and treatment outcomes. PCC also typically leads to financial benefits for the organization and staff satisfaction.
A recent study evaluated aspects involved in person-centered care, whether hearing care professionals felt they provided PCC, how PCC is evaluated, and how organizations can improve PCC. In this study, as well as in related literature, a patient-centered care approach is defined with the following factors:

  • Care is individualized to meet each patient’s goals and needs
  • Patients can make informed decisions if provided with accessible information and options
  • Patients and their families should be involved in a shared decision-making process with their clinician in a setting of trust and respect, without sales pressure

In this study, senior managers at hearing rehabilitation organizations were asked about PPC and how PPC was evaluated at their organizations. Although these senior managers defined a PCC approach as outlined above, they largely reported that clinicians were not evaluated on these points.
It is clear that a person-centered care approach is important to care providers, but the implementation and assessment of this approach vary widely across organizations. As you consider the above points and how to implement them in your practice, here are a few tips to ensure you stay on the right track:

  • Evaluations should include the factors you most want to be implemented. A clinician is more likely to be sure to include a certain aspect of patient care if they know they will be assessed on that aspect.
  • Keep assessments short and evidence-based, so the evaluation is linked with real outcomes. If a specific point of a PPC approach will not affect a patient outcome, it is likely not essential.
  • Listen to comments, questions, praise, and complaints from patients, and use those to direct your efforts.
  • Gather input from your team. Your approach will be unique to your practice.

In addition to surveying clients and evaluating clinicians, there are other ways to evaluate whether a clinician has provided person-centered care that leaves the patient feeling satisfied. For example, does the patient return for follow-up appointments? Does your office receive word-of-mouth referrals? Do you have a low rate of hearing aid return? Is your appointment book consistently full?
As you work to add more person-centered care to your practice, you will find your patients are happier and your practice is more successful. If you would like to learn more about the PCC approach, we invite you to contact us today at AudiologyPlus. We look forward to working with you!

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