March 5, 2007

Sonus has announced the launch of its 2007 Gold Standard Initiative, a network-wide strategic plan a company news release said is intended “to further strengthen its industry-leading practices.”

“Since its founding in 1993, Sonus has worked diligently to create a model of excellence for hearing-health practitioners,” states Dan Quall, senior vice president for Sonus Network. “With the maturing of our brand, we believe it is now time to redefine Sonus standards – to raise the bar on quality – which we will be accomplishing during 2007 through a series of best-practice initiatives.”

Details of the venture will be made available at the Sonus exhibit appearing at the American Academy of Audiology’s AudiologyNOW! 2007 conference April 18-21 in Denver. Visitors to the Sonus booth (#1464) will find additional information on various components of the Gold Standard Initiative, including the following:

Sonus Certification

Completing its first year of operation, the Sonus Certification program
requires providers to complete a rigorous eight-month process developed to ensure that they uphold high quality care standards and consistently practice evidence-based clinical procedures. Components of the Sonus certification process include a chart review, attendance at required training events and passing a written exam with a score of 90 percent or better. Sonus has certified 35 providers and has announced plans to certify 40 more throughout the year.

Sonus Medical Model

“Doctors do not usually recommend a specific retail outlet for hearing aids, just as they don’t recommend specific pharmacies for drugs,” Quall says. “However, Sonus has developed a proprietary system of obtaining referrals from family practitioners and ENT physicians.” The system includes preformatted agreements for establishing contracts with physicians. To date, research indicates that more physicians refer their patients to Sonus clinics than to any other hearing-health provider.

Professional Education through the Sonus Greenhouse

Continuing education options offered through the Sonus Greenhouse professional development division address patient care and business management topics. The courses are nationally accredited, recognized by the American Academy of Audiology and the International Hearing Society.

“With 140 webinars and conference calls, approximately 90 classes in
addition to our regional seminars and in-house training sessions, Sonus will offer more professional development courses in 2007 than any other hearing health provider,” states Michele Fusco, senior vice president of professional development for Sonus.

Sonus Scholarship Program

Launched in early 2007, the Sonus Scholarship program provides financial assistance to third- and fourth-year doctoral students in audiology. The initiative awards up to eight students $2,500 per year. “By offering scholarships to up-and-coming audiologists, Sonus is helping to ensure that the best and brightest students will have the financial support necessary to complete their programs and make an immediate impact in the hearing-health industry upon graduation,” Fusco said.

Customer Satisfaction Measurement

During 2006, Amplifon conducted an extensive customer satisfaction
measurement protocol through telephone surveys and receipt of customer comment cards at Sonus clinics. “We learned that the overall driver of customer satisfaction is interaction with the hearing care professional, seconded only by interaction with the front office staff,” Quall said. “We are now implementing initiatives to address these customer satisfaction issues.”

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Source: Sonus