Today's Veterinary Business

FEB 2019

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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52 Today's Veterinary Business Leadership Compliance and adherence go hand in hand with our patients receiving the continued care and treatment they need. If our pa- tients are not receiving prescribed medications, they won't get better. Clients will not see positive treat- ment results and might not accept future recommendations, so your compliance rates will decline. Choose the Right Words The veterinary team has little direct control over whether a pet owner accepts the veterinarian's recom- mendations or adheres to a course of prescribed treatment. However, tangible actions can be taken to influence client behavior. Start with your delivery of the treatment plan. Once the veteri- narian has outlined the best course of treatment, now is the time to communicate to the client what is needed. How recommendations and treatment plans are com- municated often can make the difference between a client who is agreeable and one who leaves without optimal treatment or, in some cases, opts for no treatment. The veterinary nurse often has the responsibility of presenting treatment plans to the client. Sev- eral steps can be taken to enhance this communication and improve acceptance rates. Start by changing some of the words used. For example: • "Treatment plan" instead of "estimate." This shifts the fo- cus to the medical rather than the financial. Communicate the medical needs first and then the financial aspect. • "Need" instead of "rec- ommend." "Monty needs preanesthetic bloodwork" has a different impact than "We recommend preanesthetic bloodwork for Monty." This approach conveys a sense of importance or urgency. When treatment plans align with the practice's defined patient-care models and best medical approach, they will speak to the patient need as well as the client need. • "Preventive care" instead of "wellness." Shift the focus to what can be done with regard to prevention and early detection while maintaining wellness. Rather than calling them wellness plans, let's say preventive care plans. Be a Master Communicator Recommending a treatment plan must be restricted to those capable By Sandy Walsh, RVT, CVPM The veterinary nurse and every other team member has an important role in client compliance. But first, what is compliance? By our definition, compliance is the extent to which pets receive the services and treatments that have been recommended by the veterinary team, from preventive care to more complex medical treatments and procedures. Adherence, on the other hand, is the extent to which patients receive the medications or at-home treatments pre- scribed. This includes the pet owner fi lling and re fi lling the prescriptions, correctly administering the appropriate dose or treatment, and then completing the prescribed course of treatment. of conveying the need and address- ing client concerns without guilt or exerting pressure to accept. Com- municate your treatment plans in a confident, straightforward manner. Clients will not accept what they do not understand or believe neces- sary. Allow them the opportunity to express concerns, ask questions and gain understanding. Effectively dealing with resis- tance is an important part of the communication process. If ade- quate time is taken in the treatment plan's preparation and presen- tation, clients will have a better understanding of their options for treating the pet and will be less like- ly to decline treatment. Once the treatment plan has been accepted, the team must continue to work with the client and keep the com- munication open and active. When the pet is hospitalized for a treat- ment or procedure, keep the client informed as to what is happening and what she can expect when her pet is discharged and sent home. We make too many assump- tions about a client's ability to treat her own pet, especially when Leadership GETTING TECHNICAL Continued on Page 54 Wield your influence What a veterinary nurse says and does can make the difference between a pet owner following a recommended treatment plan or rejecting it altogether.

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