Julianne is Senior Operations Director at AmeriVet Veterinary Partners.Read Articles Written by Julianne Evenhus
Today’s advances in veterinary technology and integrations have led to improvements in communication between pet owners and pet care providers. And it is now more important than ever for veterinarians to adapt to remain competitive. A pet’s place within the family dynamic continues to evolve, with owners willing to spend more money and resources to provide the best care for them. For many pet owners, choosing a veterinarian is just as important as choosing their own primary care provider, and there are overlaps in their research. Clinical safety and efficiency are two leading attributes that pet owners look for when choosing a veterinarian (and when choosing a primary care provider for themselves). Coupled with professional ethics, integrity, and a genuine love for animals, pet parents want the best care for their four-legged family members today.
The global animal hospitals and veterinary clinics market size grew from $95.94 billion in 2021 to $106.2 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $138.37 billion in 2026. There are several areas you should focus your practice’s resources on to meet the demands of today’s evolving pet-owner and care provider ecosystem. Small investments today will help your practice remain competitive to meet the growing benchmarks raised by engaged pet owners, while also allowing you to focus on the patient.
Let’s examine three ways veterinary practice managers and owners can boost efficiencies and meet the growing demands that pet parents look for when choosing a veterinarian for these important furry family members.
1. Embrace Technology
Technology is advancing across all industries and the veterinary space is no exception. Practices with outdated technology or a lack of technology may be seen as out of touch or (worse) outdated when it comes to medical care as well.
If you have not already done so, recycle those paper files and start utilizing an electronic medical records (EMR) system for all patients, conduct follow-ups virtually with telemedicine, and implement online patient registration and appointment scheduling to ensure your veterinary clinic is operating seamlessly. EMRs offer an efficient way to collect, store, and track health information for each pet that comes through the practice. This system can accurately represent vital data while ensuring pet history and relevant information, which is always accessible and easy to use. This allows veterinarians to conduct proper health maintenance and scheduling and helps examine possible trends and long-term changes in the pet’s record. From a business operations standpoint, integrating an EMR system also improves productivity and reduces payroll for staff manually inputting data into the system.
Additionally, EMR systems increase communication with the pet owner while improving diagnostic potential. Improving communication between the veterinary practice and its clients by using technology provides opportunities for repeat visits and more robust engagement. Veterinary clinics can significantly benefit from sending reminders for annual checkups, vaccines, seasonal parasite control, grooming appointments and more through electronic communication platforms.
Clinics can also offer additional services for a pet’s overall health and wellness regimen that many pet owners do not have top of mind. Some examples include yearly preventative care packages, dental cleanings, boarding, grooming, and pharmaceutical and nutraceutical requirements/recommendations. Patient portals and apps are another viable option for providers and pet parents to use as a healthy way to remain connected and engaged with their veterinary practice.
Lastly, embracing technology can allow for a practice’s resources to be streamlined, providing greater profitably, even for smaller practices. It simplifies scheduling, charting, billing, and communication and introduces a platform for cost savings, increased productivity, engagement, and improved overall patient care and experience.
2. Utilize Your Team Wisely
It is no secret that teamwork is essential for practice growth and efficiency. To rally and inspire staff at all levels, elevate your licensed and credentialed veterinary technicians and allow them to apply their expertise to promote the entire healthcare team’s offerings. Vet techs have a lot to offer, both professionally and through the passion they have for animals. The vet tech is the cornerstone of the client and veterinarian relationship. The engagement of vet techs can make or break a practice, so offering continued educational opportunities can enhance the expertise and professionalism of staff members.
Successful teams start with building trusting relationships. Each team member is valuable and should feel valued and supported. When staff feel appreciated and understood, they are much more willing to go the extra mile to benefit the practice. Instituting consistent communication throughout the practice and ensuring that your team is engaged will allow practices owners to provide higher quality patient services, which are paramount to the practice’s success.
3. Look into a Veterinary Partner
Explore your options to collaborate with a veterinary partner. Researching veterinary organizations that align with your values and goals is crucial when considering partnerships for rapid growth in scale and profit. By selecting a veterinary partner like AmeriVet Veterinary Partners, clinic owners can gain support for the business side of their practice (including payroll, HR, recruiting, marketing, and more), alleviating the stress put on owners and operators.
One benefit of partnering with a veterinary partner is that practices get access to a wide range of business support and time-tested best practices – but you must do your research beforehand. There are some organizations that will insist upon full ownership and overhaul the way a practice is run, even imposing name changes on their partner clinics. AmeriVet works differently. By honoring all their partners have accomplished, allowing them to retain operations, and encouraging them to build upon their success by giving them the resources to do so. They embrace what makes their practices unique and work to enhance the team and system that is already in place.
Running a Successful Veterinary Clinic
Embracing technology, utilizing your team wisely, and collaborating with a veterinary partner are all ways that you can operate your veterinary practice more efficiently. Whatever methods you choose to utilize, keep your end goal in mind. Look for opportunities to continue to connect with your clients and provide top quality veterinary care to your patients. You’d be surprised how often those goals coincide with operating a veterinary practice that is both efficient and profitable.