“I have always tried to incorporate personalized care into my practice and to enable my patients to partner with me in their hearing care,” says Dr. Esther Fogel from her Lynbrook, Long Island clinic.
To help her provide the kind of care she aspires to, Fogel recently joined the Inspired by Ida program and took courses in person-centered care.
Inspired by Ida is a quality benchmark that identifies hearing care professionals who are committed to providing personalized care. The program offers free training to hearing care professionals and support staff to help them hone their person-centered skills and apply them in their practices.
Fogel was first introduced to the Ida Institute during a class in university called Counseling and Aural Rehabilitation. She learned about Ida tools like the Line, the Box, and the Circle, as well as Ida’s ethnographic videos. Her interest in person-centered care had been ignited.
Fogel began her career as an audiologist at a hospital before opening her own practice, Comprehensive Audiology, three years ago.
Appointments at Comprehensive Audiology are often preceded by coffee and snacks. It’s important to Fogel and office manager, Lori Altman, that clients feel at ease before consultations, which is why everything is built on good and open communication. When Fogel initially takes her clients’ histories, she allots a generous amount of time. In addition to the medical history, she asks about work environments, social activities, family members, and other things that seem relevant during the conversation. She uses motivational interviewing to encourage her clients to talk about their experiences. Sometimes she uses the Line or the Box as well. And to get the most complete picture of her clients she can, Fogel encourages them to bring their communication partners to appointments. “The goal is to understand a person’s communication needs and expectations in order to offer the best treatment options for them,” says Fogel.
A recent review of communication studies published in ASHA Perspectives included this finding from the Institute for Healthcare: “Research evidence in the last few decades suggests that there are strong positive relationships between health care providers’ communication skills and patients’ ability to follow through with health or medical recommendations, self-manage chronic conditions, and adopt preventive health behaviors.”
The review concluded, "Clinician–patient communication, especially at initial consultation sessions, is important in building a long-term relationship and will have bearing toward patient outcomes. It is essential for audiologists to adopt patient-centered strategies for effective communication, which makes patients comfortable and helps in building trust and positive therapeutic relationships."
"I started my practice to provide the quality of care that our patients require and deserve," Fogel explains. “Each person has a different way of coping with hearing loss and a different level of readiness to address it. My job is to work with them to manage their hearing loss in the way that is best for them. Taking the Inspired by Ida courses helped us incorporate these ideals into our practice more comprehensively and more effectively."