Navigating COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Professional Insights from Dr. Gyl Kasewurm

As many hearing healthcare providers reopen their doors, amid lingering uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re asking them to share their key learnings with us. Dr. Gyl Kasewurm answers our questions and shares valuable insights below.

Q: How have you remained engaged with patients in your community?

A: We’re encouraging 35% of patients to use telehealth appointments, especially for minor adjustments. This way, we reserve office visits and space for those whose hearing health concerns would most benefit from an in-person appointment. My practice also offers curbside service from 9-10am every morning, offering select hearing health services right in the safety and comfort of patients’ own vehicles.

One thing that my practice lacked was patient education. To fix this, we’re using Zoom to offer educational content on connectivity, tinnitus, and communicating with someone who has hearing loss. We’ve also introduced Ears and Beers Trivia Night to have some fun and keep the mood light.

Q: How have you envisioned your practice ramping back up to be at full strength?

A: Our goal is to be at 60% of last year’s revenue in July and August. We’ve added a pre-consult phone interview that providers use when calling new and existing patients. Question topics include COVID-19, hearing health concerns, check-in processes, and appointment expectations. This not only shortens the appointment time in office, but also lets us know how we can best serve them.

When meeting patients curbside and in office, all providers wear gloves, facemasks, face shields and medical gowns. We use UV wands and medical grade chemicals to sanitize surfaces and equipment between appointments. We use a plexiglass divider at the front desk and have rearranged our lobby seating to accommodate social distancing guidelines.

Our office is unique in that it has several doors, allowing us to ensure potentially overlapping patients aren’t entering and exiting out the same door at the same time. We’ve also changed our policies and procedures surrounding walk-in appointments.

Q: What did you do to migrate from business as usual to the “new normal”?

A: I’ve been through tough times before, but this is unprecedented. I saw a quote that said, “Marginal businesses will go out of business, good businesses will be ok and great businesses will be even better than before, because they will use this time to transform.” So, after I pulled myself off the couch, I came up with ideas on how I could transform my business to make it even better. I focused on what I could do, instead of what I couldn’t do. We’ve changed software in the office to be more automated and time efficient. We’ve also changed our marketing and communications plan to include more social media engagement. We’re doing so much more on social media. To help patients gain peace of mind before returning to our office, we posted our COVID-19 infection control plan online. Our providers have also taken this time to participate in more continuing education. We’ve used this time to build a business that will come back stronger, and we feel confident that will be the case over the long term.