On a mission to help you run a far more effective, lucrative and modern hearing aid center.
In 2012, my brother Travis (above — in focus) and I (Skylar — blurry) were working as hearing specialists for a company that owned nearly 200 hearing centers across the nation.
I was running two clinics in Los Angeles; Travis was over three clinics throughout the Milwaukee area.
On the surface, all was well. Our centers were growing, revenue was consistent, and most importantly, our patients were satisfied.
We knew it could be better.
We’re both sort of obsessive when it comes to organization (we have both our Mom and our Dad to thank for this), and the ‘organizational’ software (i.e. glorified calendar) we were using didn’t cut it for two guys who grew up scrubbing the sink with a toothbrush.
The one goal Travis and I both had for our clinics was to achieve long-term success. Real long-term success. The kind of success where we could stop gambling away money on advertising and focus on satisfying repeat and referral patients. We knew software would (or should) play a big part in gettin’ us there.
We started creating spreadsheets and patching together bits and pieces of assorted software applications just to keep things organized the way we felt they should be. Here’s what we wanted.
An effective way to get people back in the door.
There’s an old saying, the fortune is in the follow-up. Sure, patients walked in the door, but not all of them purchased. Those that needed time to consider their options, or (at the time) didn’t think their hearing loss was severe enough, fell through the cracks.
So how do you keep up with all those people who walked out the door? You rely on your (already busy) team to keep track and follow-up. This could have been done with far more accuracy and efficiency had the process been automated.
There are several things that can bring a patient back in the door: a warranty expiration, an interest in new technology, or a possible renewal by their medical insurance. Keeping patients aware takes a well-organized system and very methodical follow-up. Our software couldn’t do this. In fact, if someone missed an appointment it just sort of forgot about them.
Better collaboration on patient care.
Discussions were done via scan, or back-and-forth emailing, or a series of phone calls, or messages left with the secretary… Communication was random, outdated, and never fully documented within the patient’s file.
Simplicity and reliability.
Great software should be easy to use, beautiful, and work when you need it to work.
The ability to enter data once and move on.
From the intake form to the management system, over to NOAH, into a third party credit card gateway, handwritten onto a purchase agreement, then manually entered into Quickbooks. What a mess. By the time a patient left, their information had been entered up to five different times.
A (real) paperless experience.
We can FaceTime with our kids from a Caribbean cruise ship — yet we’re still scanning, shredding, uploading, renaming, and shuffling through physical files. Having a scan of the document in ‘the cloud’ isn’t exactly an improvement. A scan is just a photograph, which means its content isn’t searchable.
More efficient communication with our team.
Building a culture of clear communication within a team is vital. Emails, phone calls, sticky notes, and hand-written to-do lists no longer cut it. Communication needs to be happening all in one place. It needs to be searchable, archivable, and interactive.
Our experience wasn’t uncommon.
Though this year’s research is just shy of 100 hearing clinics, it’s become obvious that the majority of you suffer with the same frustrations we did.
There had to be a better way.
Even though our software solution was a hack job of bits and pieces of other applications, our offices were more productive and organized. We soon discovered we were really on to something.
In our minds we could see so clearly how well-thought-out software could really benefit our industry.
We just needed to build it.
To create anything remarkable, the right people need to come together.
We were excited when developers and designers from Groupon, Priceline, South by Southwest, General Electric and others saw the vision and joined the crusade.
Many incredible people saw this as an opportunity to make a real difference in an industry that deserved more recognition.
We can’t wait to show you what we’ve come up with.
Smartcare will completely change the way your hearing center operates. It’ll be like going from a flip phone to an iPhone — you’ll wonder how you ever functioned before.
Spring of 2016 can’t come soon enough.
— Skylar, Travis, and & the Smartcare Team
We’d love to hear from you.
Clinic owners, hearing professionals, future friends in the industry, etc., we’d love to hear from you! Have opportunities or ideas? Don’t hesitate to reach out!