Today's Veterinary Business

APR 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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62 Today's Veterinary Business VetPartners Corner I define personalized medi- cine as veterinary care tailored to individual pets based on their risk of disease and their likely response to intervention. This is a common sentiment in medicine, and it is known by a variety of other names, including lifelong care, client-cen - tric care, precision medicine and genomic medicine. At its core, personalized medicine focuses on prevention, early detection and evi- dence-based management using a pet's individual risk factors and circumstances to determine the best course of action. The Situation All veterinarians intend to practice the highest quality of veterinary medicine possible, but this is not always the case. For example: • Animals continue to contract infectious diseases even when highly effective vaccines exist. • Animals get parasites despite the widespread acceptance that all pets should have year- round parasite control. • Diagnoses are often not made until a pet has overt clinical signs of an illness. • Genetic predispositions are not always considered for each pet in a proactive manner. • Even well-understood chronic diseases like atopic dermatitis and osteoarthritis are some- times treated with on-again, off-again regimens despite the lifelong timeline. Imagine the difference to the health of patients and to the bot- tom line if we ensured that preven- tive care was provided to all pets in the practice, that we embraced an early-detection model for disease surveillance based on risk rather than waiting for pets to get sick, and that we tailored treatment to patients on the basis of consistent guidelines rather than by relying on individual expertise to dictate how patients are managed. Most veterinary practices are aware of the importance of preven- tion, but inconsistencies between doctors in the same practice, a failure to address compliance gaps, and not standardizing hospital-wide recommendations mean too many pets are not receiving optimal care. Practices lose the compensation that would be associated with such care. Currently, many pet owners only appreciate the need to see a VetPartners Corner For veterinary medicine to provide real value to pet owners and real financial success for veterinari- ans, there is a need to focus on being proactive, appreciating risk factors, closing compliance gaps and manag- ing through evidence-based guidelines. This is the essence of personalized medicine and an opportunity that veterinarians should embrace. Personalized medicine improves outcomes Preventive care and early detection can enhance the health of pets and the practice. Continued on Page 64 By Lowell Ackerman, DVM, DACVD, MBA, MPA, CVA

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