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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64 Today's Veterinary Business VetPartners Corner VetPartners Corner VetPartners member Stith Keiser is CEO of Blue Heron Consulting. Founded in 2001, VetPartners is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping the veterinary profession improve practice management standards and elevate the levels of service, expertise, responsibility and professionalism provided by veteri- nary consultants, advisers and specialists. Learn more at www.vetpartners.org. If you run a similar report and don't find agreeable numbers, ask these questions. • How can we improve the customer experience? • Are we using forward- booking? • How do we communicate with clients and at what frequency? • Is our practice growing suffi- ciently? (Last year, the average hospital grew gross revenue by 5.5 percent.) Medical Ratios Medical ratios, another KPI gleaned from PIMS, provide a re- ality check after a practice owner says, "We practice progressive, quality medicine." Historically, how do we really know? Sure, ADTs, ACTS and revenue are telling, but they're big picture. When I hear veterinarians coaching others about medical ratios, they do it by encouraging other veter- inarians to ask if they are provid- ing the services and diagnostics necessary so that each patient who comes through the door is receiv- ing the best care possible. In other words, are they doing everything they can to get a complete picture of the pet's health? Don't get me wrong. I un- derstand that not every client can afford, or even wants, "best medicine," but if we don't offer it, we're doing that client and pet a disservice. After sitting down with dozens of hospital owners, we elected to focus on four key ratios that we believe contribute to thorough, quality care: nutrition, laboratory, imaging and dentistry. Ratios are defined as the amount of revenue generated in a particular veterinary service area divided by the opportunity (in- voices) to provide that service. To keep the focus from being about money, because ratios are about quality of care and compliance, I recommend displaying ratios with only one digit to the right of the decimal and never with a dollar sign in front. For example, a ratio would never read "$10.50." It would read "10.5." Within that definition, we look at these two types of ratios to capture the essence of quality medicine being a team effort: • Doctor opportunity, or doctor touch points with a patient. These include office visits for purposes such as medical appointments and rechecks as well as surgical and dental procedures. • Hospital opportunity, or nurse, grooming or boarding appointments. I've seen ratios improve the quality of care in hospitals of all sizes. An added benefit in a multi- doctor hospital is that they allow practice owners to eliminate the service gap between associates. As veterinary professionals and practice owners, we have a choice to make: show up, practice med- icine and let the chips fall as they may. Or, as one of the four hospital partners decided in the previous article, we can resolve that flying by the seat of our pants isn't fair to our patients, clients, team and our- selves. When this happens, it's time to ask this million-dollar question: "Now what?" Continued from Page 60 and adding personal touches that the box stores can't touch. Start with enthusiasm. I know that Monday mornings come early for most of us, but show- ing the client that you are excited about taking care of the pet will go a long way. Anticipate the client's needs and realize that the majority of us are going to wait until the last minute for a prescription. We live in a world of "right now," so make it happen. Embrace technology and send a text or email to the client when you have verified that the prescription is ready for pickup. Then get proactive. Create a reminder to check on the pet in a couple of days, and then schedule refill reminders. With a new outlook on prescription refills, we can start to fend off the other choices. Change With the Times The veterinary industry continues to see amazing advancements in pharmaceuticals designed to prevent disease in pets and pro- tect, lengthen and maintain their lives, which in turn will bring happiness to our clients. As prod- ucts become stronger, faster and safer, we face the daunting task of keeping clients ed- ucated and informed. They arrive at our office to get the same drug from the last visit and — surprise! — we don't carry it anymore. This can leave them feeling uneasy and unsure about whether they want to try something new. After all, the old product worked for their pet and they are familiar with it. The first encouraging words to the clients should be to tell them about the time and energy that the clinic spends in evaluating and testing Selling Points columnist Brian Conrad is practice manager at Meadow Hills Veterinary Centers in Kennewick, Washington, and immediate past president of the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association. products. This response displays confidence in your choices. Enthusiastically explain why the clinic switched, talk about the benefits of the new product and discuss some of the results you are seeing with other pets. Even better, if your pet uses the drug, bring up your personal experiences. Also, mention any product promotions and guarantees. You will instill trust in a client who hears that you stand behind your prod- ucts. Finally, brag about the new choices on your social media. Thinking our clients won't buy pharmacy products elsewhere is unrealistic. But you can support your pharmacy by maintaining a confidently trained staff, understanding your clients' time-sensitive needs, embracing technology and educating pet owners about all your new offerings. In addition, we should al- ways monitor the margins on the inventory we carry and ensure that we stay competitive. Rebates and product rewards can bring addi- tional client value. On occasion, I evaluate our top clients' sales summaries. This is a fancy way of saying that I look at the gross income each client has brought to the hospital over a speci- fied period. We once looked at a five- year span and found that our No. 3 client had spent nearly $36,000. Ironically, all her product sales were done online or elsewhere. Imagine if anger and frustra- tion had boiled over and we had refused to approve the client's in- ternet script. The thought of losing the beloved client is unfathomable, especially because I had allowed box stores and online retailers to become more attractive and pro- gressive with their offerings. We once looked at a five-year span and found that our No. 3 client had spent nearly $36,000. Ironically, all her product sales were done online or elsewhere.

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