LACE Clinic Edition takes auditory training to a whole different level
by Mary Beth Wright, MS, F-AAA
Avada Audiology & Hearing Care Centers
Over a year ago, our clinic in Mansfield, Ohio started LACE. We chose to start out with the LACE Home Edition (HE), but found that about half of our patients did not have home computers. So we installed the LACE Clinic Edition (CE) in our office, and rapidly discovered some major, unexpected advantages with CE vs. HE. CE gives us more control over the patient doing their listening therapy correctly. Also, the patient has very few distractions or noise in the background, as compared to all sorts of interruptions they face at home.
We have it set up in a separate LACE room, which is bright and cheery, where our patients can do their training on their own. The patients feel like they are getting special treatment in their therapy. We felt close to our patients before we started using LACE CE, but now there’s a real family feeling instilled in the patient as they approach completion of their 20th session. It builds rapport between our staff and patients. I would bet they rave about us to their friends. In short, LACE CE takes auditory training to a whole different level.
Ours is a pretty busy practice: we have two practitioners and see about 30 patients/day. The practitioner sits with the patient while they do their first session of LACE, especially to encourage them in going through the first QuickSIN™ test. Our secretary then takes care of the patient for the rest of their LACE sessions. She did LACE herself, and is a strong believer in the value of the training and has become our LACE Coach.
At this time, we have had 40 people perform LACE training, roughly 20 at home with LACE HE and 20 in our clinic using CE. The patients using CE usually come into the clinic three times weekly, sometimes only twice, and take 7-8 weeks to complete their 20 sessions. When patients ask us for our recommendation on whether they should use LACE HE or CE, we encourage them to go with CE as we feel it is a better overall experience. At first we expected pushback from the patients about having to come into the clinic because of gas prices. To our surprise, we have had none whatsoever.
Having all these patients coming in and out every day to do their LACE training makes our already busy clinic look even busier. Consequently, people come in, see the crowds in the waiting room and figure these folks must know what they’re doing to have so many patients – it looks good to prospective patients.
As for compliance, 40 patients is not a lot of data but here are our initial results on the average number of sessions completed at the point the patient stops doing LACE:
At home using HE: 13 sessions
In the clinic using CE: 18 sessions
In the clinic, the patient gets to take a reward from the LACE coach’s bucket of candy after they complete each session. When they finish their 20th session, they get a rather modest graduation prize. These things may sound silly, but never underestimate the power of recognition. To increase compliance with our patients doing LACE at home, we send notes home and call them occasionally to offer encouragement.
LACE CE has truly changed our entire practice in the last few months – it’s a whole different environment. For example, follow-up checkups are much shorter than they were before we adopted LACE. Patients rarely ask for changes to their hearing aids. They understand that it is their responsibility to do their training and improve their listening skills.
This has been such a profound change that we now use LACE as part of our “selling” process. It gets discussed as an integral part of the patient’s initial visit, and helps us set their expectations as to what were going to do to improve their communication skills and who’s responsible for what.
So if you want your hearing aid patients to become your customers for life and part of the family, I heartily recommend your adopting LACE CE – you will be delighted with the results!