In today’s day and age, more people are beginning to choose their physicians based off research instead of referrals and location. In fact, more than half of millennial patients will Google health information before seeing a doctor, according to Nuance Communications. Background and experience of the practitioner, patient reviews, and practice accreditation are all among things they pay attention to when researching.
Of course, factors such as word of mouth, insurance provider network, and proximity still hold more weight in the grand scheme of things, but trends are showing that is changing with the younger generations. While this data is based off of how people choose a general practitioner, audiologists should still take note of it.
The best practices follow best practices
In 2018, the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) began to develop a practice accreditation program “to recognize clinics that meet or exceed national standards, which exemplify best clinical and business practices in the delivery of audiologic care.”
While some other certification programs base their standards strictly on the knowledge of an individual audiologist, the ADA Practice Accreditation Program measures how a clinic’s processes and procedures compare to a set of peer-established, evidence-based standards.
Let the spotlight shine on your practice
Accreditation is regarded as the ultimate goal by audiologists who wish to let current and potential patients know that their clinic meets or exceeds standards established by the ADA. It deems all aspects of your audiology practice as being excellent, including your facility, audiology equipment, and transparency in administrative procedures – from the front desk through the billing process.
Accreditation makes you credible to your patients
When incorporated into your practice, the ADA Audiology Practice Accreditation Standards will exemplify that you have made a commitment to ethical, legal, clinical, operational, and relational excellence. According to a working draft, among the standards that must be met to obtain ADA accreditation are:
Commitment to patient-centered care.
Audiologists and their support staff shall provide patients with timely, transparent, and complete information about the benefits, risks, and side effects regarding the proposed care and services.
Patients shall be treated in a manner that promotes health, well-being, and safety, and is free from violence, neglect, and any form of abuse.
Protection from discrimination and harassment.
The practice shall maintain an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment.
Access to medical records.
The practice shall provide access for patients to review, inspect, receive, or transfer their medical records in accordance with federal, state, and local laws.
Commitment to transparency regarding fees, costs, and coverage of care.
The practice shall operate in such a manner that promotes transparency in the cost and coverage of audiologic and vestibular services to empower patients to make informed decisions regarding their care.
Commitment to preventive care within the community.
The practice shall engage in concerted education, outreach, hearing conversation, and falls risk prevention activities ... and educate and increase public awareness for the prevention of hearing and balance disorders.
Process of diagnosis.
The practice shall use and document systematic, evidence-based protocols throughout the diagnostic process ... in support of a comprehensive assessment of each patient’s auditory and/or vestibular system.
Process of treatment.
The practice shall develop specific goals outlined within patient treatment plans, which recognize and support the unique needs of each patient.
Treatment with amplification.
The practice shall adhere to rigorous and consistent measures of quality control in the dispensing of amplification products ... using the most reliable, evidence-based method for gain verification to measure audibility of soft and average speech input signals across the speech spectrum.
Mission and vision.
The practice shall develop a mission statement or formal statement of purpose that clearly outlines its purpose, services offered, and how and by whom services are rendered.
Stand out among your peers and within your community
As an ADA-accredited audiology practice, you will demonstrate your commitment to patient-centered care, transparency, and total adherence to clinical and ethical guidelines as outlined and established by several leading national organizations and institutions.
At the ADA’s AuDacity 2018 Conference, to be held in Orlando, Florida, October 22 through 24, Standards and Accreditation for the Audiology Practice will be a featured session in which information regarding the accreditation process and how to prepare for the accreditation audit will be discussed. Membership in the Academy of Doctors of Audiology is not required to apply for ADA accreditation.