By Maggie Kettler This article is a part of the July/August 2017, Volume 29, Number 4, Audiology Today issue. The landscape of health care is continually changing and there is no part of the health-care system, including all providers that is not impacted by these changes. This impact extends to all patients, as they are facing larger out-of-pocket medical costs than ever before. They are having to make choices about which appointments to schedule, which medications to buy, and which medical recommendations to follow. Large institutions and small practices are seeing changes in reimbursement. Changes in reimbursement force health-care providers to reduce operating expenses. Third-party payers are being challenged by shifting regulations at both state and federal levels, and government payers have more subscribers than ever before, in part due to the changing demographics of society, but also due to the impact of the Affordable Care Act. Much of these changes are coupled to changes in reimbursement, something that affects large institutions and small practices. These changes in reimbursement cause institutions and health-care providers to focus on reducing the cost of operating expenses in order to assure the margin necessary to remain viable. All of these changes in health care directly impact audiology practices, regardless of setting. Make Sound Business Decisions Audiologists are finding it necessary to focus more and more on strategic business plans in an effort to optimize reimbursement and reduce expenses due to financial uncertainty. Increasingly, many business decisions in the medical organizations, particularly large institutions such as hospitals, are made by business professionals, often without looking to the clinicians to discuss the clinical implications of the decision. Conversely, audiologists can offer business solutions that improve the operating margin without sacrificing patient care. A cooperative approach to decision making can result in better decisions for both the practice and the patient. One way audiology practices can improve the bottom line is to focus on the daily operations and look for creative ways to increase revenue and/or decrease expenses. One daily operation worth examining is the scheduling practice, particularly to understand how it impacts revenue. It is quite easy to assume that one’s current scheduling system is effective, particularly if the process has been in place for many years and everyone is comfortable with the process. However, having a scheduling model that is ineffective may create unneeded delays in patients accessing services, decreased patient satisfaction, and missing out on additional revenue. This content is an exclusive benefit for American Academy of Audiology members. If you're a member, log in and you'll get immediate access. Member Login If you're not yet a member, you'll be interested to know that joining not only gives you access to top-notch resources like this one, but also invitations to member-only events, inclusion in the member directory, participation in professional forums, and access to patient resources, tools, and continuing education. Join today!