Provide Easy Access to Hearing Services
In the current discussion of healthcare reform in the United States, much attention has focused on high cost as a reason that many people can't get the healthcare they need. However, a study recently reported online in the journal Health Services Research says that other barriers often play just as big a role.
According to a press release issued by the Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health, "The most common nonfinancial reasons for not getting medical care were being too busy with work or other commitments, not being able to get to the doctor's office when it was open, not being able to get an appointment soon enough and taking too long to get to the doctor's office."
This is interesting information for hearing healthcare providers, who have never had the benefit of insurance support for their main treatment product, hearing aids. And if by some chance the U.S. government's reform efforts actually are able to rein in health insurance costs, it's unlikely that hearing aids will become any more affordable because they still won't be eligible for insurance coverage. So the study's findings that access to healthcare is just as important as affordability offers some important strategies to hearing practitioners who would like to draw more people into their offices and expand their patient bases.
The press release suggests offering evening and weekend hours, making it easier to get timely appointments, increasing the use of e-mail and telemedicine communications, and providing services in underserved areas.
There always will be people who can't afford hearing aids or who aren't able make financial arrangements to get them, but they should have access to professional advice before making that decision.