Hearing aid manufacturers can effectively crank out top-notch units that rely on the latest technology, but the best of the bunch offer considerably more. As one example, ReSound, Bloomington, Minn., oversees a 12-month strategy intended to support independent practices across the United Sates.
According to Matt Lang, director of Program Management at ReSound, two aspects of the strategy are a marketing support initiative called ReSound Focus and the Accelerate Loyalty Customer Success program that rewards audiologist loyalty. “Within both programs, we have the practice in mind,” Lang says. “HCPs need to work with manufacturers that have their best interests. At the end of the day, it’s about the professional support and guidance that practitioners offer patients.”
Lang describes ReSound Focus as essentially a full-service marketing agency focused on audiologist success. It taps into a pool of marketing experts who work to promote the practice, build the brand with tailored solutions, and showcase practices in the community.
Relying on data-driven advice, the ReSound Focus team helps audiologists to achieve their business goals. Specific services include, but are not limited to: database communications; prospective advertising; digital tactics; in-office marketing; and practice fundamentals.
The Accelerate Loyalty Customer Success program gives audiologists credit for all of their purchases—including hearing aids, accessories, batteries, ear molds, and product-related services. It’s a way to make business expenses count while earning status and rewards.
“With the ReSound Accelerate Program, we are curating and creating opportunities and access to things for small independents,” Lang explains. “As an example, we are utilizing this membership base to build out access for healthcare, insurance, and different financial investing vehicles that are really difficult for independent businesses to access. From the HCP’s perspective, it’s something that should be strongly considered when choosing to partner with a manufacturer.”
Both programs are designed to help audiologists represent themselves to their local community and Lang believes, “These programs can foster trust among local patients who are looking to partner with practitioners on the journey toward hearing health.”
With the rise of telehealth (partially due to the pandemic) audiologists are also looking for remote/virtual solutions that are intuitive and effective. Part of the value proposition for any manufacturer in 2022 should include this feature and ReSound Assist Live Assistance has worked diligently to fill this need.
As chief audiology officer at GN Hearing, maker of the ReSound and Beltone brands (among others), Laurel A. Christensen, Ph.D. acknowledges that telehealth is not quite as mainstream in audiology as it is in other health-related professions. However, ReSound Assist continues to be a vital part of that transition.
“My 85 year old mother lives in my house and we use ReSound Assist to do telehealth visits with her all the time,” Christensen reveals. “It’s so convenient because it’s hard for her to get out of the house. I don’t think audiologists are embracing telehealth as much as physicians, but it will continue to grow over the years.”
“One of the reasons why people who really need hearing aids aren’t seeking out our help is that we have not been as accessible to them as we could be,” adds Jennifer LaBorde, Au.D., CCC-A, Medical Center Clinic, Pensacola, Fla. “The ReSound Assist Live Assistance feature has allowed me to come to patients when they need me. The technology is going to allow us to help so many more people. It’s marrying what we do in the office from a relationship-building standpoint while giving patients and us the convenience of a virtual appointment.”
If patients are having trouble with their hearing aid, they can request help through the Assist Live app, and the app facilitates communication with audiologists. “Audiologists can investigate the problem in their own time,” Christensen explains. “They can actually make changes, send the new settings to the patient’s phone, and the patient could upload it.”
“One of the great patient benefits for ReSound Assist Live Assistance is that we are bringing care back to the patient,” says Marisha Beck, Au.D., CCC-A, Cornerstone Audiology, Big Spring, Texas and Snyder, Texas. “Patients can be in their own location where they are most comfortable—whether it’s the home or work environment.”
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