Today's Veterinary Business

OCT 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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Today's Veterinary Business • Equipment Guide 2018 28 ELECTROSURGERY DENTISTRY Are you thinking about moving beyond dental scaling and polishing? You'll be in good company. Rick Warter, RVT, national equipment sales manager at MWI Animal Health, told us: "Dentistry experienced a boom five to 10 years ago. Practitioners began providing expanded services and acquiring better equipment that has improved care tremendously." Oral health services make great sense when a veterinary practice wants to stand apart from nearby hospitals and give patients the most comprehensive care. If you use only a tabletop scaler-polisher, consider purchasing advanced equipment so you can perform more procedures and complete them faster. Here's what to look for: • Compressor-driven dental machines: Today's best units are air-driven and in- clude high- and low-speed hand pieces, so you can perform most, if not all, dental procedures in-house. High speed has become the standard of care and is "essential for removing teeth that have damaged crowns but still have heathy roots, where sectioning is needed," Warter said. • Lighted hand pieces: Lighted models provide enhanced visibility during exams and procedures. • Digital X-rays: You will want to see below the gums and identify oral health problems, such as fractures, cysts and tumors, that could be treated before they become worse. At the very least, digital X-rays provide baselines that can be referred to later. Keep in mind that a growing number of states have rules stating that a clinic cannot perform oral surgery without the availability of dental X-ray equipment. (Be sure to check your state policies.) As you look into adding oral care capabilities, think of the services as a new revenue source that pays for itself quickly as additional treatments are performed each year. To get started, talk with your distributor or manufacturer's rep about equipment options and support. Many provide free demonstrations, education and protocol assistance. The fourth quarter is when many practice owners seriously consider whether they should buy capital equipment before the year is over — not only to improve patient care and services but also for tax purposes. Section 179 of the IRS code, as explained on Page 34, provides incentives for the purchase of veterinary equipment, from X-ray and dental machines to lights and mon- itors. On the next few pages, learn how equipment features and capabilities have changed over the past decade. (A special shoutout to Rick Warter of MWI Animal Health for his insights.) Equipment Guide 2018 Digital imaging technology has matured since its launch in the late 1980s, and it has proven to be a highly effective and efficient way to examine patients. You won't go wrong with any of today's digital X-ray machines because they use time-tested technology to deliver crisp detail, varying depths of view, notation capabilities and instant connection to patient records. So, what's new in digital radiographs? Manufacturers are developing better workflow features at a lower overall price tag. Lucky you if you're considering an upgrade! Here are a few of the most popular features: • Image libraries: You can display "normal" images next to the patient's X-rays during a client consult, showing the pet owner what's typical and what's not. • Position coaching: Pictures of a patient in the correct position give staff mem- bers clear guidelines to follow. • Cloud PACS: These picture archiving and communication systems store images directly to a secure cloud site for viewing from any device that has a web browser. It's great for sharing with specialists anywhere. Because of workflow improvements and other upgrades, practices are moving from CR (computed radiography) to DR (digital radiography) in record numbers. When choosing a digital imaging system, research the manufacturers, the software and their technical support. Start with your distributor rep, who likely represents several repu- table companies. Request a demo and be sure to ask these important questions: • "Once I acquire a patient image, where does it go and how can I work with it?" • "Explain the warranty and support. Who provides the support and training?" Since imaging systems are complex, it's sometimes best to stay with veterinary- specific units from companies with a track record of product excellence and great support. Has it been a while since you upgraded your surgical tools and procedures? Are you still using classic blade techniques? Now might be the time to switch to today's electrosur- gical units (ESUs) or cutting laser technologies. Transitioning to either an ESU or a cutting laser can deliver these important benefits: • When using a standard blade, the cells are split open and the material inside the cell goes into the surrounding tissue and causes an immune response: inflammation and pain. ESUs and cutting lasers evaporate the "stuff " inside cells so that they lose their bond with surrounding cells, causing less inflammation and pain. • Reduced inflammation and pain can lead to better outcomes and faster healing. If you're using older laser tools, you can expect today's models to give you more power and features for less money. Most of today's better units provide greater control of your cutting and coagulation procedures. Depending on the tool, you can use a pencil switch or a foot-control switch with a button to fire cutting and "coag" separately. This is much more efficient. No more wasted time and effort when switching the power mode from cut to coag. In addition, today's ESUs won't fire if the patient is not well-grounded on the disper- sive electrode. This major safety enhancement keeps patients from getting burned. You and your team will encounter a learning curve with the latest ESUs and cutting lasers, but most manufacturers provide extensive training either onsite or online. Plus, you'll find technique courses offered at the VMX conference and other industry training venues. With practice and today's high-tech tools, you'll become proficient in no time and offer a high-value patient and client experience. DIGITAL RADIOGRAPHY By Pam Foster

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