As a private practice owner, you know all too well that it can be a challenging field, but through the love of helping people and through the actual practice of audiology itself, you also know it be incredibly rewarding.
Our superb private practice owner, audiologist, and “Under The Hood” host, Nancy Duncan, recently had an interview-style chat with Jana Emola-Austin, Au.D., a fellow successful private practice owner from Allison Audiology, who shared some insights about the industry and the lessons she’s learned over the years. Here are the highlights of what she shared…
What Was the Best Decision You Ever Made in Your Clinic?
When asked about the best decision she’s ever made in running her clinic, Dr. Jana admitted that it’s not just one thing but rather a series of lessons that have led to better hiring decisions and a commitment to staying ahead of the game.
“We’re constantly investing in new equipment and trying to keep moving forward with where private practice is headed,” she said.
And where exactly is private practice headed, you may ask? Well, according to Dr. Jana, it’s all about education.
“Patients want to understand what hearing devices they’re getting. They value the service, they value your expertise,” she explained.
However, there’s also a group of patients who prefer to take matters into their own hands, and that’s okay.
“We’re going to have to understand that those are the people we have to let go,” she said. “There are people who are just out for the least expensive widget. That’s really what they’ve broken a hearing aid down to, and that’s OK, too.”
What Is the Key To Success in Private Practice?
Dr. Jana believes the key to success is understanding your audience and being honest with yourself about who you can and cannot help.
“Sometimes you just have to be okay with saying that person is not my person,” she admitted.
“It took me a long time to be okay with that. And I wish them the best and we’re here if they need us, but good luck.”
That’s not to say that private practice owners should turn away every patient who doesn’t fit their ideal client profile. It’s all about finding the right balance and understanding that although you might not be the one who can help them throughout their hearing loss journey, say… because they can’t afford your service or are looking for a quick fix, the very act of directing them toward a more OTC-based service, which is low cost, is still helping and encouraging that person to understand their options.
What Advice Would You Give to Someone Just Starting Out?
Dr. Jana is a firm believer of taking the rough with the smooth and not romanticizing owning a business as something that’s “easy.”
“If it was easy, everyone would do it,” Dr. Jana said with a laugh. “Just remember that though, because there are really, really crappy times where you feel like ‘I have no friends. I hate my life. Why did I do this?’ There are also some incredibly good times too, and you have to remember why you entered the profession in the first place, which is often because you truly want to help people live a better life with their hearing intact, and of course, because you really love the physical practice of audiology!”
It’s no secret that private practice isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. There will be times when you have to roll up your sleeves and put in some serious sweat equity, but for those who are willing to put in the time and effort, the rewards can be truly amazing.
As Nancy and Jana’s conversation drew to a close, it’s hard not to feel inspired by Jana’s passion and dedication to her field. Private practice may not be easy, but with the right mindset and a commitment to staying ahead of the game, it’s possible to make a real difference in the lives of your patients.
So, to all the private practice owners out there, keep up the great work – you’re doing something truly special.