By: Trisha Ostermeier, A.u.D., Clinical Audiologist
Evergreen Speech & Hearing Clinic, Redmond, Washington
Evergreen Speech and Hearing Clinic is a private practice with three locations in Redmond, Kirkland and Bellevue, Washington. The audiology department consists of five Doctors of Audiology who regularly collaborate on program development to keep improving patient outcomes. Over two years ago, this collaboration resulted in the creation of a new program to better meet the needs of our hearing patients. During the development of this new program, the product LACE was introduced to the team, and we integrated it into our program.
How did we apply LACE?
For over a year, LACE was introduced to each patient during the consultation appointment, after his or her hearing evaluation. This delivery format simply placed the opportunity in their hands, like a gym membership, and told them to go “work out” to “exercise” their hearing. We emphasized the importance of this computer-based therapy program in maximizing their ability to communicate. However, as with many gym memberships, we found that few used the product consistently.
Analysis of results
A few months ago, we compiled data from the LACE website on program utilization. The statistics showed a gap in patient motivation. Patients were intrigued but didn’t know how to maximize the value of the entire program. We decided to look deeper. Our audiologist team, together with each member of the office staff, committed to doing LACE over a six-week period in order to gain a user’s understanding of the program and its full range of benefits. We kept track of the effects of the program, and I took on the role of LACE coordinator.
What did we learn?
The result of this effort is that we all now know from personal experience how well LACE works, and we are all now true believers. This has resulted in a fundamental attitude change in our company regarding LACE. We are all now re-energized and have become active participants with our patients in driving LACE compliance. Through firsthand experience with the program we have identified four components that greatly affected motivation to complete the program. In addition, we have a better understanding of the areas where difficulties can emerge during the 20-session process.
The greatest motivation resulted from four components:
- Education on benefits of the program
- Individualized coaching
- Encouragement and reminders emails
- Feedback on results
Application of our personal experience
Since the completion of our in-house case study, we have taken these lessons directly to the patient, and are using multiple forms of communication to motivate each individual to work through the program. Since we implemented these changes we have seen a shift in patient attitude and compliance.
I encourage each of you to take time out of your day to walk in your patient’s shoes, and try the LACE program. Not only will you have a new outlook on your patient’s experience, you might just improve your own communication skills.