Compliance begins and ends with the veterinary team
Millions of U.S. pets aren't receiving the best care and treatment available. Compliance is essential to a patient's health and well-being . . . the biggest obstacle to compliance is the veterinarian's own misconceptions about a pet owner's willingness to act.
- Dr. John Albers,
Executive Director, AmericanAnimal Hospital Association
Client compliance . . . wouldn't you know this profession would use a phrase that blames the client, while the very expensive American Animal Hospital Association study specifically identifies the veterinarian as the primary culprit in the delivery of substandard care.
Where does it start? Most of us entered veterinary medicine because we cared about animals, and almost every staff member entered this profession because they care about animals. Pet owners have become stewards to their companion animals because they care about those animals, and access veterinary care because they want assurance of health as well as personal peace of mind.
Then veterinary school occurs. People who have lost contact, or do not understand anything about private general practice train the future veterinarians. They are specialists or specialists in the making, they want 45-minute appointments and are supported by the state in most cases (the recent Pfizer studies of 35,000 to 37,000 clients, three years in a row, showed 85 to 87 percent of clients want to be in-and-out of the general practice's consultation room in 20 minutes or less).
Most veterinary teaching hospitals have twice the expense as income, yet no one seems to care. A private practice could never operate with this ratio, yet this is the environment where students are "educated" about the business of veterinary medicine. Students are told, "You cannot afford to do this in practice" or "Only specialists can do this, so you must refer these cases." And we wonder why most veterinarians seem to discount as a matter of course? We just consulted with one New York practice doing $1.5 million a year, but they had no cash flow (liquidity); they had discounted $200,000 and not charged for $300,000 of work during the million dollar year. No one can give away one third of their earned dollars and expect to stay in business.
Veterinary practices are no different than any other business, except most of us feel it is a calling rather than a job. There must be protocols and common expectations if the staff members are to become veterinary extenders. The staff cannot have trepidation when it comes to stating the wellness standards, pre-surgical protocols, or preventive medicine expectations.
Example questions to ask yourself include:
Review the Veterinary Practice Consultants (VPC) Signature Series monograph, Standards of Patient Care in a Bond-Centered Practice, and/or the VPC Human-Animal Bond Scoring Pocket Card (that comes with the monograph, from www.v-p-c.com), and determine what you really want to stand for in your practice and your community.