April 13, 2007
Sonus (www.sonus.com) is preparing for Better Hearing and Speech Month in May with a renewed focus on its patient-education program. The Sonus Patient-Centered Approach guides all Sonus hearing-health professionals through a protocol that ensures patients receive up-to-date information about hearing technologies and a superior service experience.
“The Sonus Patient-Centered Approach protocol teaches our providers about the critical points for educating consumers throughout each patient-provider relationship,” says Michele Fusco, Sonus senior vice president of professional development. “It starts from the first time a patient dials a Sonus provider until the patient is satisfied with his or her hearing product and our services.”
The Sonus Patient-Centered Approach steers professionals through a variety of activities from scheduling a first appointment with a new client to presenting recommendations for hearing aids. The protocol also provides visual and written materials for practitioners to use while explaining the complexities of hearing loss. Additionally, the protocol identifies crucial moments in a patient-provider relationship for education, yet allows the provider to customize the information for each patient’s specific needs. The Patient-Centered Approach also standardizes the length of key appointments, such as the initial fitting of a hearing aid.
“Hearing-health professionals spend so much time marketing and trying to bring in patients, so why rush them through the fitting process and potentially turn them off?” says Dan Quall, senior vice president of the Sonus Network who led the creation of the Patient-Centered Approach in 1999.
The Patient-Centered Approach includes the use of newsletters, Web sites and grassroots marketing efforts that allow hearing-health professionals to share their knowledge about hearing loss and its solutions with their patients.
Sonus providers frequently test new technologies and assessment methods and evaluate their effectiveness before integrating them into the protocol. Many Sonus professionals are now testing the Listening and Communication Enhancement (LACE) computer program in their practices, and their feedback will help determine whether Sonus adds LACE to Patient-Centered Approach.