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Getting Ready for Better Hearing and Speech Month

27 Apr

It’s almost that time of year again where we designate an entire month to emphasizing the importance of hearing health and wellness. That’s right – Better Hearing and Speech Month. This May, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), has selected the theme of “Communication Takes Care”. Be prepared for your social media timelines to be flooded with this hashtag as well as #BetterHearingandSpeechMonth or #BHSM this upcoming month.

BHSM photo

As professionals involved in the hearing healthcare industry, we know that the cause of hearing health and wellness should be at the forefront of minds every month. The challenge is that the general public has still yet to associate the month of May with the support of this cause. So how do we bring BHSM awareness to the mainstream in our communities?

The answer to that question is found by looking at BHSM from a different vantage point: the marketer’s perspective. Let’s consider these marketing tactics to help increase awareness for Better Hearing & Speech Month:

  • Promotional Collateral: Whether it’s a poster hanging in your office or informational pieces to distribute to patients, having collateral to promote BHSM is a great tool to educate people on the importance of spreading awareness for hearing health and wellness.

There are plenty of marketing materials out there to help your practice promote BHSM all month long. Check out AHAA’s Wellness Marketing Tools, which can easily be repurposed to include BHSM messaging. There are also tons of promotional resources and ideas on ASHA’s website. Remember, having materials is one thing – but make sure you are actively using any promotional items!

  • Engage Your Employees: It all starts with you and your practice. No matter how big or small your practice may be the first step is for everyone to get on board and excited about the cause. Encourage your employees to pass out your promotional materials and mention BHSM by name – the more times people are exposed to the name, the more likely they are to form an association with it. Brainstorm ways that your staff can get charged up about BHSM in your daily huddles. Making it exciting for your staff will ultimately translate a positive attitude towards BHSM onto your patients.
  • Community Events: Involvement in community events is important for your practice no matter what month it is (read more on that here!), but May is a good time to start if your practice doesn’t already have an active presence. Use this month to get your name and face out in your local community; host an educational seminar, coordinate a hearing walk, sponsor a local organization, or volunteer! Whatever you do, make sure you and your staff are utilizing the BHSM collateral to reinforce your efforts.
  • Digital Buzz: Utilizing online platforms to spread the word about Better Hearing and Speech Month will give a voice to this cause in the digital media realm. Use this month to educate the public on hearing loss by sharing facts, studies, and any other informative tidbits on your website or social media pages. If you are actively participating in community events or want to highlight a patient’s story, take photos and share them online. Make sure you’re using hashtags like #BHSM or #CommunicationTakesCare to get this year’s topic trending on Facebook and Twitter!

Think of the heights that BHSM can reach if we do our part to bring attention to it, even if we start on a smaller scale within our local community. Consider the success of Breast Cancer Awareness Month: October is a month filled with pink ribbons, fundraising campaigns, and social media hashtags galore. This month of awareness has turned into a social movement, raising money for research and ultimately de-stigmatizing breast cancer.

Starting Small

It all starts with the conscious efforts that you and your practice make to increase awareness of hearing loss in general. Taking advantage of a month dedicated to hearing and speech wellness can be the push needed to bring mainstream attention to a cause that is near and dear to our hearts. In order to reach the global scale that we know this cause deserves, we need to start small and focus on the initiatives within our grasp to bring awareness to our local communities first.

If you want to learn more about how AHAA can help get you ready to promote BHSM in your practice, contact marketing@ahaanet.com or your Associate Manager today!

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The FitBit is Now HIPAA Compliant!

11 Nov

fitbit-forceConsumer device manufacturer Fitbit announced that it now supports HIPAA compliance. The changes they made ensure they are aligned with federal compliance standards. What it means though, is that covered entities and business associates can continue to use their devices without compromising personal health information.

This announcement highlights the importance of meeting personal privacy regulations, across all segments of the healthcare industry.  Yet, surprisingly, many organizations are still not in compliance with the more stringent 2013 Omnibus Rule and face an increased business risk if a data breach occurs. Failing to keep protected health information secure and private can lead to serious consequences and significant fines.

Putting robust security and privacy policies in place can decrease the chances of having a breach, not eliminate it completely.  Organizations that do so will be less likely to face significant enforcement action by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) with a compliance program in place.  At minimum, all AHAA Associates should perform and document a risk assessment, implement technical, administrative and physical safeguards and provide training and guidelines for all employees!

Fitbit is in HIPAA compliance, are you?

Don’t Just Operate a Practice, Operate a Community Practice

4 Nov

community involvement

Community involvement can help your business and contribute to its growth and success. People show loyalty to businesses that are actively involved in the community. Having a practice that is recognized for caring about its community sets your practice apart from the competition!

If you aren’t already involved in your local community, consider these ideas for ways to get started:

Community Events

Sponsoring a community event is one way to get involved, but you can also participate in events.  Interactions with people who need to learn about hearing healthcare as a part of their overall wellness (along with their family members) helps establish your presence in the area. It’s also a fun way to get involved and meet people!

  • Festivals, Fairs and Shows: Many festivals, fairs, and shows have opportunities for local businesses to set up booths to promote their businesses and engage with attendees. Think creatively and don’t limit yourself to the obvious ones. A home show, dog show, or hobby event may provide you with a sizable audience and considerably less competition than a health fair. Look into setting up a table with information on your practice and hearing loss. Bring along literature about the importance of hearing to overall wellness, hearing loss and your practice. Remember to bring giveaways with your logo to distribute!

festivals

  • Hospitals: Hospitals often hold various health-related events throughout the year that your practice can participate in. There may also be specific events geared towards hearing during Better Hearing Month in May or National Audiologist Awareness Month in October.
  • Malls: Check with your local mall for any relevant events open to local businesses. Many malls also have Mall Walker programs, which primarily consist of baby boomers and senior citizens. Ask the mall management about any opportunities to get involved with the group to promote your practice.
  • Retirement Communities: Reach out to local retirement communities. Many have various levels of living where you can target Independent Living, Personal Care or Skilled Care residents. Look into offering a free hearing screening on the campus or host Lunch and Learn sessions.

Networking

Networking groups are great because they encourage members to refer business to one another. Look for groups to join in your area; your local chamber of commerce, hospitals or professional organizations are good places to start.

Sponsorship

A sponsorship is a great way to get your business recognized in the community. Neighborhood youth and adult sports leagues are always looking for sponsors.  Chances are your target audience has grandchildren or other family members who participate in local organizations. Association with a team or group will not only create brand recognition, but may also create a personal connection.

Does your community host local events or a concert series at a local park? These are additional sponsorship opportunities to get your name out there to numerous attendees. Think of all the concert-goers who might have trouble hearing and can’t fully enjoy the show. Seeing your practice name on a banner or program might help give them the nudge they need to get their hearing checked.

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Get Your Staff Involved

Find out what your employees are passionate about. Is there a cause that is near and dear to them that you can get involved with? Perhaps they are already involved in local community events or have a child on a sports team or group that has sponsorship opportunities so you have a connection to get started with those events or groups. Get together and volunteer for a local cause. Not only will it recognize your business as one who cares about their community, but it is also a great team building activity for you and your staff!

However you choose to get involved, make sure you incorporate a “doing well by doing good” attitude into your practice. Do you have a success story for how community involvement has helped your practice thrive? Share your story with us today!