When I first joined OT , more years ago than I care to admit, many in the profession were talking about the benefits of offering healthcare in a single location, a super-hub of care so to speak, with GPs, pharmacists, dentists and opticians located under one roof.
Due to many practicalities, which I won't list here, this never came to fruition. However, when I spent time in the audiology area of 100% Optical last month, the basis of this idea was seemingly rising again.
Gathering as exhibitors for the first time, a number of audiology companies large and small were on hand to talk me through the business benefits, and the practicalities, of integrating audiology into an optical practice.
A number of large optical companies such as Specsavers and Boots saw the synergy of these healthcare areas some years ago they informed me, so why should the wider profession not benefit?
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Can optometry and audiology work well together? Share your views
For Audiology Business Central's Patrick Myers, this change is certainly coming. During a talk at the show he estimated that while currently around 900 independent optical practices offer audiology services and 3600 do not, this will switch by 2020 to 80% offering and 20% not.
As an opticians in the 'offering' camp, Leightons' CEO, Ryan Leighton, told OT that it would be expensive for the company if it did not offer audiology.
"In 2017, 52% of the patients we saw for hearing were brand new to our opticians," he shared, adding that 25% of them became eye care customers after a short period of time.
So is audiology something that you offer or are thinking about offering? Why, or why not? Share your views on the AOP's community forums.