Today's Veterinary Business

FEB 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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supplies and dog gland expression through Amazon home services. Why it's important: There is grow- ing recognition that pets are family members that provide more than simple companionship. The average spend has increased commensurate with this humanization trend. Veter- inary professionals would be wise to seek new ways of understanding the humanization of pets if they want to understand and relate to clients in ways their clients will understand. New Models of Care What happened: In-home care, telemedicine, specialization of care and wellness/preventive plans continued to grow the market. Why it's important: Companies are examining the client journey and identifying areas of highest need and lowest service — typically when an acute situation emerges unexpectedly. If the companies can provide just-in-time and wellness care with minimal disruption of the current client experience, they will inevitably win over those clients. Gaze Into the Crystal Ball These new models of care are worth considering for a moment. What might things look like in the near future? Here's a scenario: Potential pet owners drop by a shelter to look at puppies. The shelter has a relationship with a ge- netics-testing company like Wisdom Panel or Embark, thereby giving the family a better understanding of what the puppy might look or act like in four or five years. They pick Fluffy and, as part of the checkout, are offered information about pet insurance and a free wellness exam by a mobile clinic that will come to their house at a convenient time and in the meantime establish a veteri- narian-client-patient relationship. Before the wellness exam takes place, the mobile clinic offers to pair the family with a dog-walking com- pany like Rover in order to provide basic socialization training for Fluffy. A couple of weeks go by and a telemedicine company, hav- ing paired with the mobile clinic, contacts Fluffy's owners to check if they have any questions. The VCPR is transferred to the telemedicine providers to allow for basic triage, diagnosis and prescriptions. The company suggests that Fluffy is ready for his neutering and offers to book an appointment with a local surgery center. Shortly thereafter, an information package is sent to the owners. A week later, the dog walk- ers come by and pick up Fluffy while his owners are at work and take him to the veterinarian for surgery. The owners have completed the patient history forms, so the clinic is pre- pared for Fluffy when he arrives. The dog walker checks in on a mobile app to let Fluffy's owners know that he's at the clinic. Using the same app, the clinic snaps a photo of Fluffy before surgery to let them know he's OK. At each point in Fluffy's day, the clinic team checks in on the app and updates the own- ers and tells the dog walkers when Fluffy will be ready for pickup. A week later, Fluffy's owners are prompted to send a photo of the incision site to the surgery team. The photo is compared against a data- base to look for swelling, coloration and discharge. The owners are told that all is fine or that further exam- ination might be needed. If the latter, the veterinarian receives the photo and determines a course of action. The veterinarian is uncomfortable with what she sees. She sends an appointment request to the owner, the dog walker and the clinic. At this point, we haven't even included in-home diagnostics, the use of telemedicine for remote communities or many of the other emerging trends. But the point is clear: These trends are lowering the barriers to care for many pet owners. As a result, a growing opportunity exists to open new areas of the pet market and extend health care be- yond its limited physical domain. 5 Dr. Aaron Massecar is executive director of the Veterinary Innovation Council. Dr. Adam Little is co-founder of FuturePet.

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