Dr. Madonna Blair had a dream of opening a private hearing practice in Princeton, West Virginia. She focused on raising her children, and with 20 years of experience, she was eager to get back into the workforce. Located in the southern part of the state, Princeton is a small rural community surrounded by stunning mountain views. The clinic opened in the summer of 2021, bringing Dr. Blair’s dream for New Hope Hearing Solutions to reality.
Starting a hearing clinic was anything but easy. Dr. Blair faced the real challenge of balancing the desire to open quickly with the constant difficulty of keeping costs down. SHOEBOX ended up playing a vital role in achieving this goal with its affordability, ease of use, and adaptability.
Dr. Blair estimates that SHOEBOX’s quick setup helped her clinic open and start seeing patients approximately two months earlier than initially expected. In addition, the time saved by using SHOEBOX helped her save an estimated $15,000 in overhead expenses by reducing the time the clinic sat empty and more money was saved by not needing to purchase a traditional audiometer. Combined, Dr. Blair thinks she saved a total of $40,000 in start-up costs by choosing SHOEBOX.
“SHOEBOX. It was an affordable solution, and it was very quick and easy to get. And in doing that, we were able to provide the services fast for the patients, open the doors and also be someone in the area that has something new, something different than what everybody else does here,” explained Dr. Blair.
The portability of the SHOEBOX audiometer has had an enormous impact on Dr. Blair and her team’s workflow. Her hearing care coordinator can enter all the patient’s demographic data into the portable audiometer as soon as they arrive. Dr. Blair then uses the SHOEBOX unit to perform testing on the patient. The results are simple to share with the patient seeing their test on the mobile audiometer’s screen, promoting higher engagement and trust.
Our tablet-based audiometer utilizes ambient background noise testing, opening the door for clinicians such as Dr. Blair to bring boothless, clinically valid audiometric testing to their clinics. Boothless testing combined with its quick and easy-to-use interface makes for a more pleasurable experience for everyone.
“Nobody likes the soundproof booth. It’s something people are used to when they’ve had a lot of hearing tests, but nobody actually likes going in there,” said Dr. Blair. “So, people are really receptive to that and enjoying the fact that they get to sit in an open room and have their testing done. Testing is quick; it’s easy.”
Time is a precious commodity for a small business, and SHOEBOX’s ability to instantly upload test results to a HIPAA-compliant cloud-based data management system is a tremendous benefit. In addition, keeping everything paperless helps keep Dr. Blair’s clinic running efficiently.
In the beginning, Dr. Blair looked at SHOEBOX as a temporary solution that would help her open her clinic before having a traditional audiometric testing booth permanently installed. However, the more she and her team worked with it, the more they fell in love with it, with it making sense to keep using SHOEBOX to support all of their audiological diagnostic testing.
“I thought, ‘Oh, how cool. That’s gimmicky, or that’s not going to be something that is valid,” explained Dr. Blair. “The more I researched it and read the studies about it, the more impressed I was. And so, when we decided to use it, it was a very good option for us.”
The optics of operating a hearing clinic without a traditional audiometric testing booth were a concern initially. Now, Dr. Blair thinks that her clinic’s utilization of a tablet-based audiometer makes New Hope Hearing Solutions unique, so much so that she has coined the term’ open audiometry’ as a way to describe the clinic’s boothless hearing screening process.
One of the biggest challenges facing many rural hearing clinics is connecting and providing audiometric testing to patients in any location, regardless of its remoteness. However, with everything needed for testing being completely portable, Dr. Blair and her team can offer audiological testing in locations convenient for them, including primary care groups, health fairs, community assisted living facilities, and more. Eventually, she envisions utilizing SHOEBOX to conduct testing for hearing conservation programs and providing telehealth services.
“In our practice, we love the flexibility. We love how affordable SHOEBOX was, and how accessible it was. And starting a new practice, especially in this day and age, was a leap of faith. And so, I just think that it’s fun to have started this and using something new and innovative like SHOEBOX,” further elaborated Dr. Blair.
At SHOEBOX, we build audiometric testing solutions with clinicians such as Dr. Blair in mind, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to play a part in the success of New Hope Hearing Solutions. Learn more about how SHOEBOX can make diagnostic hearing evaluation more manageable while helping your clinic generate more leads and revenue sources by reviewing our solutions for hearing services. Also, take a moment and visit the New Hope Hearing Solutions website.