If you read our blog regularly, you know how much we believe in the value of what we do. We believe in the power of wellness plans, and the positive effects for healthier pets and a practice’s bottom line. Also, as the leading wellness plan management software company, we understand the business of wellness and how important it is to successfully integrate it into the culture of a practice. Yes, we are in the business of wellness, but it is the real-life evidence and benefits that keep proving wellness plans are great for pets and the practice. And while more and more practices are offering wellness plans, and the effects continue to be identified in articles and lectures, it is this need for a culture change that continues to be identified over and over again, regardless of whether wellness plans themselves are ever mentioned.
Consider an article in Veterinary Practice News written by Dr. Phil Zeltzmann, titled How Do Top Practices Increase Profitability?1 Not once are wellness plans identified specifically as a solution in the article, but all roads lead there without hesitation.
First, Dr. Zeltzmann’s article refers to a 2014 AAHA study that found that practices considered “Outgrowers” (achieving more than 10% growth annually) focused on advancing the bond between pets and owners, practices and clients, practices and patients and veterinarians and staff. What was the second similarity among “Outgrowers” according to the study? These practices place a tremendous emphasis on the importance of preventive medicine. He writes, “…any hospital can develop the bond with patients and clients, focus on education, and foster a stress-free environment.” Yes they can, and offering wellness plans, by their very nature, will help accomplish each of those things (read our previous blogs for data on that front).
Dr. Zeltzmann also writes, “While the future may look bleak, it’s up to the veterinary community to adapt so that it can continue to practice high standards of medicine that benefit both our patients and their owners…practice owners must re-evaluate traditional business techniques that may have become outdated.” Yes again, with the key words here being “adapt” and “re-evaluate,” which in more uncomfortable terms means “change.” The emphasis here is that veterinarians need to change the way they conduct business by listening to clients and finding out what they want, and what will make it easier for them to provide optimal care for their pets. Here too, offering pet owners the ability to purchase an annual bundle of preventive care services based on the age and specific needs of their pet, and to pay for that care in monthly installments, is one of those changes that will further this ability. Creating a comprehensive program of wellness helps ensure that the veterinarian and practice are at the heart of the majority of pet related decisions their owners make.
Whether you choose to heed the advice of Dr. Zeltmann and others regarding where general practices need to focus their attention is a decision only you can make. What is important to recognize is that the advice being given is all about changing the way we interact with pet owners and patients – from the exam room to the payment methods offered. Offering wellness plans continues to be one of the best ways to address all of these issues and grow your practice at the same time. It really is a “no brainer.”