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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6 Today's Veterinary Business Business Business PARASITICIDES A term commonly used in the veterinary profession in regard to the prevention of fleas and ticks is compliance. By Merriam-Webster's definition, compliance is "the act or process of doing what you have been asked or ordered to do." When I hear "compliance," I think of all the choices the human makes for the pet. Are the choices in line with what we feel is best for the pet based on our years of training and experience? Compliance starts with the client calling us with questions or concerns. If clients go to neighbors or the internet first, they are not compliant. If they choose to "wait and see," they are not compliant. I know all this is different from how we often think of com- pliance — how many cats with dental disease get a dental pro- phy performed? — but I believe the biggest gap in compliance is non-contact with the experts in the field: the veterinarian and team. The fact that veterinary visits are down is an indication that a portion of compliance is failing. Why? There are many reasons, but I believe the main contributors are: • Clinics that do not have a standard set of recommend- ed medications. Can you ex- plain why you endorse them? • Clients who don't know what to expect. • A poor client and pet experience. • A lack of engagement or perception of value. • Financial challenges. Consistent Messaging Does everyone in your clinic have the same answer regarding flea and tick preventives? When a client asks, "What should I use?" is there a universal answer? I know we are all different and have different opinions on many subjects. I am not recommending we go to complete protocol med- icine; there is an art to veterinary medicine and we need to preserve it. What I am saying is we need a consistent message. If one doctor recommends a topical and another doctor tells the owner, "I would never use a topical," we create confusion. If you do not feel this is an issue in your practice, ask your clients or team — they will tell you. The lack of consistent messaging creates doubt in the mind of pet owners and often leads them to seek another opinion. Creating standards takes time and effort. I recommend you in - volve every member of the team. Client Preparation Do your clients know what to expect when they come see you? I have spent over 40 years in veteri- nary hospitals. They are very com- fortable for me, a second home. Few clients feel the same way. They worry about the diagnosis, wheth- er they will be late to pick up their child, whether the dog will urinate on the floor, how much everything will cost. A substantial portion of the fear is based on the unknown. We cannot resolve all their fears — I do not know if the dog will urinate on the floor — but we can do a better job of setting ex- pectations. It's as simple as telling a client booking an appointment for a preventive care visit that "Dr. Brown will do a complete physical exam, update vaccines, perform routine diagnostics, and discuss the best flea and tick preventives for your pet." Sounds simple, but it's impactful. Some interesting technology coming out soon will provide clients with a cost range before they contact the clinic. I recommend you look at every reason a client comes in and think of how we, in a simple manner, can prepare them for what to expect. The Client-Pet Experience This is a big one. Look at the impact Dr. Marty Becker's Fear Free concept has had on the veterinary industry. Fear Free is a major We are in a unique industry. Our ultimate customers, the ones who receive our services, play no part in deciding whether to see us, pay for the visit or recommend us to their friends. That's why pet owners matter. Without their saying "yes," we can't perform to our oath: Always do what is best for the pet. By Peter Brown, DVM We need a compliance alliance Pets and their owners are best served when the practice is united on flea and tick solutions and committed to a terrific customer experience.

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