Are you an audiologist (or aspiring Kudupreneur) eager to make a difference in your community by offering home visits through a mobile audiology practice? Then our handy guide with five top tips for kickstarting your mobile audiology practice is essential reading!
We chatted to eMoyo CEO and Kuduwave inventor Dr Dirk Koekemoer, eMoyo Quality Manager John Tidy and eMoyo Sales Manager Jessica Ender to get the low-down on all the crucial points to keep in mind when setting up your mobile audiology practice (or expanding your traditional audiology practice to offer mobile services).
1. Ensure You Have All the Necessary Tools and Equipment
In order to offer mobile audiology services, you will require certain essential equipment and tools:
- Transport. You will require a reliable vehicle to transport you and your equipment to and from the various locations where you will be testing clients and fitting hearing aids. Locations where you’ll be working as a mobile audiologist could include hospitals, clinics, retirement homes, schools, private companies, clients’ homes, and the likes.
- Laptop and accessories. In order to operate your Kuduwave portable audiometer, you will need a fully charged laptop that fits all the necessary requirements and specifications. In South Africa, you will also require a laptop with a long battery life, as well as the necessary equipment from which to power or charge your laptop, in the case of load shedding or other interruptions to the power supply.
- Kuduwave Portable Audiometer. To carry out hearing tests in just about any location, you will need to make use of the clinically validated Kuduwave portable audiometer. Which Kuduwave model you select for your mobile practice will depend on your professional requirements. The Kuduwave comes in the following models:
> Kuduwave Pro-TMP (diagnostic boothless audiometer with integrated tympanometry)
> Kuduwave Pro (diagnostic boothless audiometer)
> Kuduwave OH (screening audiometer for occupational health, available in South Africa only. SAHPRA registered)
> Kuduwave Prime (screening audiometer for occupational health, available internationally outside of South Africa. FDA registered).
- Complementary tools and equipment. In addition to your Kuduwave portable audiometer, you will require the use of certain complementary tools and equipment. This includes:
> Kuduscope Ultra-light Otoscope
> Kuduwave Ear Tips
> Sound Tubes and Couplers
> Otoclear Ear Irrigator for clearing earwax
> Equipment and materials for taking impressions to fit hearing aids
> Any other items and equipment needed to carry out hearing tests off-site or outside of your audiology practice
2. Conduct Thorough Market Research
Before you can start advertising your mobile audiology services, you will have to conduct some extensive market research. This will empower you to gain a comprehensive understanding of who your main client base is, as well as potential clients’ requirements and behaviours. When it comes to healthcare market research, some important factors to consider include:
Your area of service
Where will you be based, and which suburbs, cities or towns will you service? Will there be enough business for you in the areas you want to work in? For example, areas that are popular with retirees could ensure many bookings to test for age-related hearing loss, while areas with lots of young families could ensure lots of testing at schools and youth centres.
How many other audiology practices are there in your area, and how many of these offer mobile audiology services? What are their rates, and who comprises their main client base?
Your area of focus
It will be in your professional interest to decide on an area of focus, such as elderly patients, remote clinics, occupational health, schools, etc., and then highlight your unique selling points in your marketing materials, in your messaging and on your various marketing and social media platforms, such as your website, your Facebook page and your Instagram profile.
3. Create Strong Marketing and Communication Strategies
A well thought-out marketing and communication strategy can really assist you with reaching potential clients. It can also help to position you as a thought leader and innovator in your area and in your profession. Your marketing and communication strategy will include things like your practice’s website and the information it offers users, your social media platforms and the messages you share with followers – and that’s just scratching the surface!
We cannot stress the importance of a thorough marketing plan for your practice enough. If marketing is not your forte, it will be well worth your while to rope in the services of a professional person or company that specialises in healthcare marketing.
It is also important to educate yourself on what is legally allowed when it comes to marketing your hearing healthcare services, as this will vary from country to country. For example, in South Africa, the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) offers these advertising guidelines for healthcare practitioners, while the South African Medical Association has also set out advertising guidelines for healthcare practitioners.
It is also very important that you create a Google Business account, so that your practice has an online presence. Having a Google Business account will ensure that your practice appears on maps, that visitors can view your contact information and business hours, and that they can click through to your practice’s website and social media accounts.
If it is allowed in your country, a marketing strategy that includes branding your vehicle, distributing flyers or advertising your services in local newspapers can really help to create awareness of your practice and the services you offer.
4. Decide on Your Business Model
When plotting out your mobile audiology practice, it is definitely worthwhile to think about your unique healthcare business model. Sure, offering mobile audiology services will definitely be a defining aspect of your business. However, it’s also worthwhile to think about whether you’ll be running the practice all by yourself or whether you will run your practice with the help of one or more assistants.
Working using more than one Kuduwave with the support of assistants will enable you to test multiple patients in various locations simultaneously, as the assistants can carry out tests in more than one location at a time. As audiologist, you will be interpreting the test results for your patients, as well as guiding them on the next steps in their treatment.
5. Boost Awareness of Your Mobile Audiology Practice Through Community Outreach Initiatives
Joining forces with other audiologists and healthcare practitioners in your area to run outreach initiatives in less-fortunate communities can generate great awareness of your practice – and services as a mobile audiologist.
Outreaches for hearing screening can take place at shopping centres, schools, community halls, and other similar venues. This will spread awareness of your service offering, and it can be a great boost to your client base, as well as a fantastic opportunity to give back to your community.
Test Drive a Kuduwave Portable Audiometer
Have you experienced the power of truly boothless, clinically validated portable audiometry yet? Book your product demo to test drive a Kuduwave Portable Audiometer today!