Today's Veterinary Business

DEC-JAN 2017

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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34 Today's Veterinary Business Community Why do we spend enormous resources collecting and analyzing data? Because it helps us better understand what is happening in our veterinary space. It allows us to explain what is happening and sometimes why it happens, and data allows us to be better advo- cates for the veterinary medical profession. Data also allows us to be storytellers. As individuals involved in veter- inary business, you understand the value of data collection. You likely collect a great deal of information about your clients and patients. You likely collect demographic data about your clients that helps you better understand them. This month, I would like to ex- plore the value to your practice of collecting various kinds of demo- graphic data. The collection doesn't just enhance the general data you likely gather about your clients, it also sends important messages about core values related to diver- sity within your practice. Check the Boxes Including demographic questions on client forms gives you much more detailed information about your clients as individuals. The data becomes even more powerful when aggregated as it can reveal trends and shifts in the demo- graphic makeup of your clients and the surrounding areas that feed your practice. Much is often made about encouraging people to self-identify using a bunch of boxes. You might ask why knowing whether a client is black or a Spanish speaker would matter to your business. These are not new questions. In fact, argu - ments are made that demographic data collection serves only to advance disparate and possibly dis- criminatory practices against small- er subpopulations. The phrase "We are all a part of the human race" is frequently used to refute the need to gather demographic data. The The case for inclusive data collection Asking demographic questions can enhance a practice's knowledge base and the ability to serve clientele. Businesses and organizations collect a huge amount of data. For example, the American Veterinary Medical As- sociation maintains divisions that gather copious amounts of data about veterinarians and veterinary practice. At the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, I annually collect and analyze data related to student enroll- ment, applicant numbers, faculty and research. Community DIVERSITY TOOLBOX By Lisa M. Greenhill, MPA, EdD

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