By David H. Kirkwood
ST. JOSEPH, MI—After building Professional Hearing Services into one of the leading private audiology practices in the country, Gyl Kasewurm, AuD, is taking it on the road.
Starting this month, the innovative audiologist will be using a Mobile Audiology Center to provide under-served populations in rural southwestern Michigan with the same caliber of hearing services that patients in St. Joseph and environs have been getting from the clinic that Kasewurm established in 1983.
Professional Hearing Services has received national attention for the amenities Kasewurm has introduced “to create a remarkable and comfortable experience for our patients.” When patients arrive at the facility, they are invited to treat themselves to a fresh cup of coffee from the gourmet coffee bar while they await their appointment. They can also enjoy a warm cookie fresh from the oven, relax on the sofa in front of the fire, or take advantage of their virtual theater, where they can see how hearing aids are made, watch a movie, or play games on their Nintendo Wii.
Professional Hearing Services’ patient-friendly approach was often cited by former Better Hearing Institute Director Sergei Kochkin, PhD, as a model for private practices. It has also proven extremely successful. The practice has more than 18,000 patient visits a year and, says Kasewurm, holds an 82% market share in the St. Joseph area.
She is also a leader in her profession. Long active in the American Academy of Audiology, Kasewurm received its Distinguished Service Award in 2006. The year before, Professional Hearing Services received the Best Audiology Private Practice award from Advance for Audiologists.
For years she wrote a bimonthly column on practice management for an industry trade journal, and she is editor of the just released Marketing Handbook for Audiologists.
A NEW APPROACH
Unlike many successful practice owners, Kasewurm has never opened additional locations to grow her business. She considered it, but then decided that a mobile clinic would be a better way to reach out to additional consumers. In an interview with Hearing News Watch, she explained that each satellite office could serve only one area. On the other hand, her mobile clinic can cover a much wider area and would need only one set of equipment and furnishings.
“The Hearing Bus is an example of the ever-expanding mobile services industry,” said Kasewurm. “You can’t come to us? No problem, we’ll come to you.”
To do this, she purchased a bus that had belonged to Richard Petty, the famous stock car racer, and had it totally refurbished. Along with the driver, the Hearing Bus will be staffed by Terry McIlvaine, AuD, and Tony Mayer, a hearing aid dispenser. They will provide services to people in more remote locations, while also turning the bus into a vehicle for spreading hearing awareness throughout Southwest Michigan.
Kasewurm said that the first week had gone well. Even without advance publicity, there was a good turnout on December 4 in Allegan and December 6 in Niles, the two towns where the bus made its first stops.
One advantage, she said, is that she already has 200 patients in Niles, who will spread the word for her there. In the future, she is planning to send the bus to events such as health fairs and to hold tailgate parties and other promotions to stimulate interest.
For more information, visit the Hearing Bus online.