I’ve been an audiologist for more than 25 years. For the first third of my career, I practiced in two very busy ENT & audiology clinics. I had the good fortune to work with some really smart and ambitious audiologists who taught me how otolaryngology and audiology, when practiced under the same roof, immensely complement each other; ENTs treat the acute ear problems and audiologists take care of the chronic hearing problems. Ultimately, patients are the beneficiary of that combined approach.
During the second third of my career, I had the privilege of working alongside the founders of Fuel and several of the Fuel management teams in one capacity or another. Fuel Medical is a group of individuals that is dedicated to innovative approaches to health care, extremely hardworking, devoted to customer service and not afraid to take risks to help the audiology profession move ahead. In short, these are individuals whose words have always been supported by their actions and deeds.
Now that I am entering what feels like the final third of my career, it seems I am combining the best parts of the first two-thirds. It’s an honor to be working alongside such a fine group of people – all with a common mission: to be the leaders in providing comprehensive services to medical audiologists and their ENT colleagues and staff.
The profession faces many challenges over the next decade – a growing shortage of audiologists, an aging population with high expectations, automated testing, self-fitting hearing aids and the rise of managed care to name the ones on our radar today. I want to help Fuel Medical bring responsible, ethical and innovative approaches to the forefront, turning these challenges and threats into opportunities for Fuel members and the entire industry.
What are you passionate about in this industry?
Audiology is one of the few professions combining medical and retail services. People who seek our services are both patients and customers. By virtue of our academic training and licensing requirements, audiologists are equipped to collaborate with physicians and other medical professionals to diagnose ear disease and treat hearing loss through the provision of amplification and counseling.
On the other end of the spectrum, because many of our services are not covered by third party payers, in order to run a sustainable practice, audiologists must be skillful retailers – we need to be comfortable managing a budget, charging for services and asking patients to pay out of pocket. It is that dichotomy between the medical and commercial aspects of audiology and figuring out how to effectively blend them using some combination of right brain and left brain thinking that keeps me motivated to improve my clinical, writing, research and teaching skills.
Given all the changes on the horizon with OTCs, Mobile Health and tele-audiometry, I think those professionals willing to embrace both sides of audiology equation – the science-based medical side and the more artful customer care side – will thrive in the future. I want to be part of a team that leads the charge and brings it to life. Those are big reasons I chose Fuel Medical.