Fall 2013 | Vol. 10, No. 4
A WealthEnhancing Resource for Independent Veterinary Practices
Advertising Bang for Your Buck 3 | New 2013 AAHA Dental Care Guidelines 8
Connect with Your Clients 13 | Have a Disaster Plan 20
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From the Desk of Dennis A. Nelson, dvm EDUCATE YOUR TEAM ABOUT DENTISTRY Fall 2013 | Vol. 10 | No. 4
A Wealth-Enhancing Resource for Independent Veterinary Practices
Periodontal disease is the most common disease affecting dogs and cats, a problem that could be easily curbed with proper dental care. Are your clients getting the message about the importance of their pets’ dental health? Are you driving home the message that periodontal disease can progress and potentially damage their pets’ internal organs? Purchasing Services, Inc. announces a new Now’s a good time to get your whole team up to speed PSI Member Business Symposium to be held on dentistry. The American June 12-15, 2014, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Animal Hospital Association Stay tuned for more information. has updated its AAHA Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats with many important practice suggestions. Dr. Jan Bellows, one of the authors of the new guidelines, outlines these updates on pg. 8. February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Review Dr. Bellows’ suggestions for the whole team, and gear up your training efforts now.
SAVE THE DATE...
The Team is published to complement Pet Quarterly®, an educational resource for your clients. Look for these articles in the current issue of Pet Quarterly: Checkup Checklist; 5 Wounds that Won’t Wait; Essential Dental Care; Plan Ahead for Unexpected Weather.
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A lso in this issue: • You might be surprised at the affordable—even free—services available to improve your return on investment on both print and digital advertising and to track the impact of most advertising campaign dollars. Dr. Jed Schaible outlines how to do it on pg. 3. • How’s your exam-room manner? Brush up on your communication skills to help put clients at ease and to improve compliance. Dr. Mary Ann Vande Linde has some great suggestions on pg. 13.
The Team is an educational resource published by Purchasing Services Inc., St. Petersburg, Fla. Comments are welcome at email@example.com
• Help your clients be prepared for disasters. As Dr. James Randolph suggests on pg. 20, reminders about vaccinations, boarding considerations and microchipping can all help to keep pets safe in the event of a natural disaster. We’re sending many of these same messages to your clients in each issue of Pet Quarterly. Read both magazines to find wealth-enhancing suggestions for your business.
Visit us on the web at www.psi-inc.net © Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. The Team magazine does not make any representations as to opinions or facts as presented. Reproduction of contents in any form is prohibited without prior written permission of the publisher. Postmaster: Send address changes to: The Team, 2951 34th Street South St. Petersburg, FL 33711
Dennis A. Nelson, DVM Vice President, Operations Purchasing Services Inc.
www.psi-inc.net | the Team | Fall 2013 1
Take advantage of easy online solutions for tracking your advertising dollars.
ADVERTISING BANG FOR YOUR BUCK Is your advertising effective? Here’s how to measure and improve your return on investment for digital and print advertising. By Jed Schaible, VMD, MBA, CVPM
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” – John Wanamaker, a merchant considered the father of modern advertising
For a private veterinary practice, advertising is crucial to attract new customers and to grow your business. Do you know how to gauge the effectiveness of your advertising? Measuring your return on investment (ROI) with digital marketing is much easier than with traditional advertising, such as print, public relations, Yellow Pages and mailers. But there are affordable—even free—services available to improve your ROI on both print and digital advertising and to track the impact of most advertising campaign dollars. All are fairly easy to implement. Consider these scenarios:
Land Customers with Landing Pages Dr. Baker owns a two-doctor practice and just built an addition in order to provide enough space for boarding. She decides that she is going to run an ad on her local Patch.com community webpage that links to her homepage and focuses on the practice’s new boarding service. Like many local publishers, Patch.com doesn’t provide conversion analytics (reporting that shows clicks on the ad to your website), and she is paying
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Practice Management a rate based on “Cost Per Mile”—a fee per thousand views/impressions. She has Google Analytics set up on her website, but she can’t tell if the ad is driving visits to her website. Adding a landing page dedicated to pet boarding services could solve Dr. Baker’s problem. In fact, if you could do only one thing to drastically improve your marketing ROI of advertising, adding landing pages to your website would be a good bet. Landing pages are single web pages that appear when a person clicks on an online ad or searches for a term on Google or another search engine and are a logical extension of the ad or search term. For example, if you type “golf clubs” into Google, Golfsmith. com has the number-one ranking with a landing page that is not its homepage, but rather a dedicated page discussing its selection of clubs. If your practice, like most other practices, pushes advertising, email
Analyze Traffic From Social Media Did you know that there is a social section in Google Analytics? Using the “Network Referrals” tab in the social section will show you the traffic that is coming from Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Want to know who is calling your practice from your Facebook page? No problem; simply assign a call-tracking number to your Facebook page.
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marketing and social media traffic to your website homepage, you are missing out on a sure way to increase the odds of converting that traffic into customers. Why? Because directing potential customers to your homepage does not give them immediate targeted information about what they searched for. In Dr. Baker’s case, if a person is interested in boarding a pet, that person will click on the ad about boarding and be brought to the homepage of a veterinary hospital. The content at the destination is not targeted to fill the needs of that potential customer. If Dr. Baker adds a landing page with a great pitch about the boarding services, it will not only increase the likelihood of a sale, but also allow her to use Google Analytics to measure the traffic being generated from the advertisement and shed light on of the ROI of her ad campaign.
Are Your Ads Converting Prospects into Clients? Use CallTracking to Assess Advertising ROI and Customer Service Dr. Nash has a practice near a high-end gated community with a favorable demographic. He has a competitor in the shopping center right next to the gate at the community entrance and he suspects that the competitor’s location is providing a huge competitive advantage. Dr. Nash offers more comprehensive services, such as acupuncture, laser therapy and rehabilitation, but it has been difficult to get the word out to the community. He decides to advertise in the community’s publication and the local newspaper. He has no idea if these advertisements are driving business to his practice. Dr. Nash didn’t know that he
could use a call-tracking service to create virtual phone numbers that redirect to his reception desk. By assigning a different phone number to each of his ads (Yellow Pages, Newspaper, Pay Per Click Landing Pages, etc.), he could assess whether or not his ads are driving business and cut the ads that are ineffective (which would more than pay for the call tracking). Call-tracking analytics can be accessed through an online dashboard, and the system can even announce to the receptionist what ad the call originated from prior to answering the call. Call tracking can go to another level by providing analytics around how effective team members are at customer service. You can attain customer service performance metrics and use them to identify problems at the reception desk by having incoming calls recorded and graded on specific criteria by the >>
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Practice Management call-tracking service. Call tracking can be set up through a service such as TelaTrax: www.TelaTrax.com.
Calculate Cost Per Acquisition for Advertising Campaigns – It Is Time to Cut the Fat Use call tracking to know what types of ads are driving your business.
Now that you are able to estimate the revenue from your print ads and your digital campaigns through landingpage analytics and call tracking, you will want to calculate the Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) for those campaigns. Let’s pretend you are evaluating your advertising dollars spent on the Yellow Pages. A Yellow Pages ad for your practice costs $2,000 per year, and the call-tracking data shows that it produced 50 calls. Because you have a call-tracking dashboard, the office manager can cross-reference the inbound phone numbers on your practice-management software to see what percentage of calls led to new clients. As it turns out, 10 of those became new clients.
Leverage Website Analytics to Assess ROI Free is a good thing when it comes to assessing ROI, and Google Analytics is one of the most, if not the most, important freebies out there. If you are using Google Analytics only to track the total number of visitors to your website, you aren’t taking full advantage of this platform’s power. Be sure to assess which landing pages are driving traffic and which third party websites (such as your social media accounts) are driving traffic to your site.
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You can then do a ballpark estimate of the client lifetime value (LTV) by using this equation: (Average Value of a Sale) x (Number of Repeat Transactions) x (Average Retention Time in Years for a Typical Customer). As it turns out, the gross LTV for your practice is $850. Since your margins are 20 percent, the net profit LTV is $170 ($850 x 0.2). The value of those 10 clients is therefore $1,700 in net profit (10 x $170). CPA calculations allow you to focus primarily on how your advertising costs compare to the number of client acquisitions those costs yield. Using this example, the ad cost $2,000 and resulted in 10 clients, therefore the CPA for that ad is $200. The CPA shouldn’t exceed the profit made from each client acquired, which was $170. In this example, the CPA is 15 percent higher than the net profit that the ad created and therefore, you should second-guess renewing your Yellow Page ad in the next sales cycle.
Google Analytics is one of the best freebies to help you track traffic on your website.
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Putting It All Together If you create unique landing pages with relevant content for each advertisement and assign a unique phone number to each ad through call tracking, assessing the ROI of your advertising dollars becomes way more scientific than the “where did you find us” box on your new client sign-up form. These marketing analytics will also solve the problem of a client writing “newspaper” as where they found you while you have ads in multiple newspapers or writing “online,” which could mean your website, Google Maps or a payper-click ad. You will be left with one problem, however—what are you going to do with the freed-up funds in your new advertising budget? n Jed Schaible, VMD, MBA, CVPM is director of Market Commmunications for Purchasing Services, Inc. He is an expert in social media marketing, digital publishing, practice management and veterinary practice marketing. Follow Dr. Schaible on Twitter: @JedSchaibleVMD
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Rub the OraStripÂŽ diagnostic test strip along the gums to measure dissolved thiol levels and gauge periodontal disease.
Delve into Dentistry Is your team up to speed on the 2013 AAHA dental care guidelines? Hereâ€™s vital information to help you make dentistry a priority. By Jan Bellows, DVM, Diplomate, American Veterinary Dental College and Diplomate, American Board of Veterinary Practitioners
As veterinarians, every day we strive to do our
jobs better, to help more animals and their caregivers, to have fun and to make sure the office stays afloat. Dentistry is (or should be) an important part of every healthy practice. Each dog and cat we see has an oral cavity that needs continual care. Fortunately, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has embraced dentistry to help us do better. In 2004, a group of boarded veterinary dentists, technicians, general practitioners and practice managers authored the evidence-based AAHA Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. Now, nearly 10 years later, AAHA assembled many of the original contributors and fresh eyes to create updated recommendations: The 2013 AAHA Dental Care for Dogs and Cats, available online at www.aahanet.org/Library/DentalCare.aspx. The 8 Fall 2013 | the Team | www.psi-inc.net
modifications have been approved and endorsed by the American Veterinary Dental College. Key enhancements to the guidelines include: n Expanded exam room evaluations include inspection for occlusion, asymmetry, tooth resorption, missing or extra teeth, tooth mobility and evidence of oral pain. n Use of a periodontal diagnostic test strip (Fig. 1 above) to measure dissolved thiol levels. This helps the practitioner evaluate periodontal health during the oral examination of the conscious patient. n Care of dental instruments. Dental instruments for oral surgical procedures need to be sharp and sterile (Fig. 2). Establish and follow a written protocol for equipment and instrument care.
Periodontal diseases. The section in the guidelines addressing assessment by life stage introduces the concept of “periodontal diseases” (plural) with their many appearances, compared to the catch-all term “periodontal disease.” n Two-step dental care process. The new guidelines introduce the concept that after the exam room visit, the professional oral care appointment is a two-step process. qS tep 1: While the patient is under general anesthesia, clean the teeth and assess the oral cavity and dental hard structures tooth by tooth. Record findings on a dental chart. q Step 2: Inform the client of the findings and any additional care and fees needed for optimum dental care. Put protocols in place to give clients ample time to make an informed decision on how they want to proceed with the proposed treatment plan.
n General anesthesia with intubation. The guidelines stress that general anesthesia with intubation is necessary to properly assess and treat any companion animal dental patient (Fig. 3). Endotracheal intubation is essential to prevent the pet from aspirating water and debris. Nonanesthetic teeth cleaning is considered unacceptable and below the standard of care. It does not provide for patient health and safety such as necessary immobilization without discomfort, periodontal probing, intraoral radiology and the removal of plaque and tartar above and below the gum line. AAHA-certified animal hospitals are mandated to provide general anesthesia with intubation when dental care is provided. >>
Sterile, sharpened extraction pack.
Anesthetized, monitored and intubated dental patient.
Normal-appearing maxillary incisors.
Intraoral radiograph revealing a non-vital right second incisor evidenced by an enlarged pulp chamber and periapical lucency. Root canal therapy or extraction indicated.
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Dental Health n Essential X-rays. Since most teeth are located below the gum line, they cannot be properly evaluated without intraoral dental X-rays. Intraoral X-rays are needed during each professional oral hygiene visit and before and after each extraction (Fig. 4a, 4b). Addition of post extraction films confirms complete extraction of all dental hard tissue. n Tooth extraction by trained, licensed veterinarians only. Practice Acts vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; the veterinarian must be familiar with the local laws.
Tooth extraction is an oral surgical procedure. Surgical extractions are to be performed only by trained, licensed veterinarians. n Two more cleaning steps. Two additional steps have been added to the list of essential professional dental cleaning procedures, raising the number of steps from 13 to 15: qS tep 7: Provide instruction to the owner regarding home oral hygiene. Recommend the Veterinary Oral Health Council list of “accepted products.”
The Team Approach How the whole practice team can help put the new guidelines into practice and make dentistry an important and profitable offering.
Receptionists/Technicians Make dental health care part of the preventive wellness examination discussion. It should begin at the patient’s first appointment and continue throughout all subsequent exams. Recommend semiannual dental evaluation examinations that include using the periodontal disease diagnostic strip.
Veterinary Assistants Be familiar with the AAHA Dental Guidelines and the recommendations for clean sterile instruments, dental charting and full-mouth dental X-rays. Since you spend much time in dogs’ and cats’ mouths, it is your job to look for abnormalities. To get familiar with what is not normal, be sure to examine every mouth, even when the patient is not in for a dental problem.
Practice Managers n Embrace the positive effect that adherence to the AAHA Dental Guidelines can have to patient and practice welfare. Intraoral dental X-rays are a must—no getting around it. The expense and learning curves are minor compared to the information and patient care opportunities.
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n Discuss and implement the two-step process (dental evaluation first, followed by care of what is found). n Have the team rehearse answers to “What does a teeth cleaning cost?” so everyone gives the same response. n Often, pricing dentistry falls to you. Set fees that cover the costs and profit for the in-office periodontal diagnostic strips, dental X-rays on every case, expertise and VOHC accepted home-care products.
Veterinarians Diagnose, treat and prescribe, based on the information brought to you. n Use the periodontal disease test strip on every wellness exam to show the client the importance of subgingival health. n Get up to speed interpreting dental X-rays; this can be facilitated through the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), textbooks and consults with local veterinary dentists (AVDC.org) who are willing to help. n Appreciate that extractions are surgical procedures and as such should be performed by n
you, the veterinarian. Excellent handson training is available at the Oquendo Center (www.oquendocenter.org) and the Annual Veterinary Dental Forum (www.veterinarydentalforum.com). Per the Dental Guidelines recommendations, endorse VOHC accepted products that retard the accumulation of plaque and tartar.
These products have been demonstrated to be significantly effective in retarding accumulation of dental plaque and/or calculus. (www.vohc.org/ accepted_products.htm) qS tep 14: Examine and rinse out the oral cavity after the teeth cleaning. Remove any packing or foreign debris.
Dental Definitions Here’s a sample of improved definitions that appear in the new guidelines.
Periodontitis. A destructive process involving the
n n Know your dental diets. Nutrition plays a role in oral health. It is important for the healthcare team to have an understanding of its effect. Dental diets and chews can be very effective in decreasing the accumulation of plaque and tartar. Dental diets work either by “brushing” the crowns of the teeth as they are chewed, and/or by coating an anti-calculus agent on the surface of the teeth. Feeding hard chews and bones are discouraged. Again, recommend products accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council for efficacy and safety. Getting your team up to speed on the new AAHA guidelines will help keep your dental practice sharp and up to date, offering an important service to your clients. n
Dr. Jan Bellows, one of the authors of the new AAHA dental guidelines, specializes in veterinary dentistry at All Pets Dental in Weston, Fla.
loss of supportive structures of the teeth, including the periodontium, gingiva, periodontal ligament, cementum and/or alveolar bone.
Periodontal surgery. The surgical treatment of
periodontal disease. This is indicated in pockets greater than 5 mm, class II or III furcation exposure or inaccessible areas.
Periodontal therapy. Treatment of the tooth-
supporting structures where periodontal disease exists. This involves the nonsurgical removal of plaque, calculus and debris in pockets, and the local application of antimicrobials.
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CONNECT WITH YOUR CLIENTS How’s your exam-room manner? Brush up on your communication skills to help put clients at ease and to improve compliance. By Mary Ann Vande Linde, DVM
There are multiple keys to success in the exam room. There is your knowledge base of veterinary
medicine and issues, your diagnostic skills, your problem-solving skills and your physical-exam skills. One skill that is often overlooked (and that can make a substantial difference to the exam-room experience for the client, the patient and your team) is how well you communicate with your clients. Communication is a core clinical skill essential to clinical competence. Studies show that excellent examroom communication skills build rapport with clients, improve compliance and reduce the risk of liability. What can you do to improve the exam-room experience for your clients and patients? Try these steps to connect with clients and advance compliance.
Be Prepared A key step to a successful exam-room experience is to make sure you have objectives and a plan for the visit. >>
Plan ahead: One minute of preparation saves three minutes in the exam room.
The Team Approach Here’s an example of how the whole team can work together to create a smooth client experience during a standard preventive care visit. In this case, the focus is a fecal exam to check for parasites and zoonotic diseases.
Before the Visit Administration: Establish protocol and systems so that in the case of positive lab results, recheck appointments are made and reminders for six months are created. (Optional: Implement a pre-paid recheck fecal examination with supplied and labeled fecal kit.) Receptionist: Send reminder notice. When client makes appointment, ask client to bring in fecal sample from
pet. When confirming client’s appointment, remind client to bring in a walnut-size fecal sample.
During the Visit Receptionist: Greet client warmly. Upon check-in, obtain patient file. Print out physical exam sheet. Weigh in. Hand the client a Companion Animal Parasite Council brochure.
Technician or Veterinary Assistant: Escort client
and pet to exam room. Begin intestinal parasites video. Veterinarian: Based on animal lifestyle, recommend regular parasite control and heartworm prevention. If fecal sample is not provided, use discretion in obtaining sample during rectal exam. Fill out travel sheet. Technician: Assist doctor with exam. Assist with filling out travel sheet. Always be sure to record results of fecal.
Review any medical care plan recommendations with client.
Follow-up Veterinarian or Technician: Contact client with lab results and advise of plan. Veterinarian: Speak to client if any abnormalities are noted. Answer any questions or concerns the client has. Make recommendation for next steps. Secure appointment if needed and dispense medications.
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General Wellness Before you enter the exam room, you want to have as complete a picture as possible of the client’s and pet’s needs—not as a means to predetermine the solution, but to give you a better vantage point to clarify client concerns and develop the most beneficial plan. One minute of preparation saves three minutes in the exam room. In the long run, the time invested up front
will save you time. Before you enter the exam room, review the patient’s history and presenting signs to identify as many concerns as possible. Ask the technician or assistant for the bullet points from the medical history. Review the record for vaccinations, fecal checks, heartworm medication and testing, flea control, previous medical problems and weight
changes. From this information, identify your three to five concerns and set specific objectives for the visit. On the record, list the concerns you wish to confirm or raise awareness of, along with your plan. For example, let’s say that Fluffy, a seven-year-old mixed breed cat, is in for her annual exam. In the past year, Fluffy’s weight has gone from 25 to 30 pounds and her BCS is 7. During the lifestyle review, the technician noted that Fluffy has a nightly bowl of ice cream, is having trouble with stairs and gets tired very easily. Your SMART (Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, Time-bound) objective: The client will agree to place Fluffy on a special food (for example, Hill’s R/D) and eliminate all human-food treats, with the goal of Fluffy losing five pounds over the next three to four months with monthly weigh-ins. Share your plan with the technician so you are communicating a common message when you enter the exam room. Consistency helps build client trust and confidence.
Set the Tone Establish Rapport: Your entry into the exam room will set the tone for the appointment. Help put clients at ease. Knock on the exam room door before entering. As you go into the room, greet everyone by name—the owner, pet and any children. Shake hands, make eye contact and touch the pet. Make sure you introduce yourself and give your name slowly enough so the pet owner can hear you. It helps if you wear a white lab jacket with a nametag or your name shown on your right side so they can see it as you talk with them. Establish the Reason: After the welcome, begin establishing the purpose of the appointment. Go to the client’s side of the exam table for this part of the exam to continue forming the relationship. Use key pieces of information from the technician’s lifestyle review and >> 14 Fall 2013 | the Team | www.psi-inc.net
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Address Client Concerns As you present your recommendation, it is probable that your client will have concerns. Welcome these items! If clients do not voice their concerns, you can’t resolve the concerns or earn a client’s trust. Generally, all client concerns fall into one of two categories: 1. The client does not have enough information to make the decision. 2. The client does not see a need for a particular product, program or service you are offering. As concerns are presented, use this five-step process to listen and address the client’s issue with respect and understanding.
1. Acknowledge The first step is simply to say: “I see,” or “I understand” or “I hear what you are saying.” It is important in this step to simply accept what a client is saying. This does not mean you have to agree. You just want the client to open up and express the real need that your practice can fulfill.
2. Clarify In this step, you use the client’s words to rephrase or state the concern. This shows clients that you are actively listening and attempting to meet their needs. For example: “You are interested in an indoor cat’s risk of heartworm disease in the Southeast if no heartworm preventative is used.”
3. Answer Answer or match the client’s need with a product or service benefit of your practice. You need to be engaged and to have identified the proper concern, or you could answer the wrong question. It is here that you show how the benefit of your hospital or practice clearly answers the pet owner’s concern. This answer can be supported with visuals (radiograph, models, pictures), articles and/or reference books from experts in the field.
4. Verify Check acceptance of your answer. If the client is satisfied, you have done it. If the client has more concerns, go back to step two and re-clarify.
5. Close End the visit. Ask the client to make the commitment and take an action to protect the pet’s wellness. Give the client peace of mind about the chosen course of action. If questions are still present, keep clarifying or decide to send a reminder or follow-up to continue the educational and trust-developing process.
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your review of the history to engage the client. Take the opportunity to acknowledge the client’s progress towards a goal. For example: “Fluffy is the most content purring cat. I see Fluffy has gained five pounds since our last visit. Tell me, what is a typical day for Fluffy?” Clients appreciate compliments and like to know that they are doing a good job. Share the concerns you have identified and ask the clients if they have other concerns to consider. They will have them, and you want to be a part of their solution. Respond: Outline for the client what you will do to help address the client’s concern or need. For example: “Today I will exam Fluffy to check out her general health. I am a bit concerned about her weight gain and I would like to also check her urine to establish if there are any glucose issues to be aware of.” As you conclude your plan, always ask, “How does that sound?” Recruit the Client: Invite the client to be involved in the examroom process. For example, “To comfort Fluffy, it would be very helpful if you could stay by the table and reassure her during the exam.”
Stay Connected As you conduct your physical exam, use all the tools available to you. Narrate the exam so the client feels a part of the process. Your discussion may prompt the client to reveal further details or concerns that can be addressed in the recommendations. Ask open questions (that can’t be answered with “yes” or “no”) to clarify areas of concern that you find or that are expressed by the client. For example, if the client expresses concern over a small area of hair lost, delve deeper with questions such as: nH ow are you currently treating this area? nH ow often does she get a shampoo and bath? >>
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Simmons Southeast Current Practice Listings NEW! FL - Winter Garden. Solo doctor, small animal with some integrative and holistic medicine. No boarding, grooming, or emergencies. Quaint, leased facility centrally located blocks from downtown. $220K (#FL25G) NEW! FL - Panhandle. Enjoy the emerald waters across from this beautiful practice in a highly desirable beach community. No grooming or boarding. $590K gross on a 5 day work week. Affluent clientele. $1.115M for practice and real estate. (#FL30S) FL - Lakeland, FL. Large, beautiful facility on main artery. $744K gross, solo doctor, no emergencies, minimal grooming and OTC. Open 5.5 days per week. Plenty of room for multiple doctors and revenue growth! (#FL23D) FL - North of New Smyrna. Well-established, leased facility. Impressive equipment. 4.5 days per week. Low overhead, very profitable—buyer’s income approximately $155K after all other expense paid. $325K. (#FL50A) GA - Blue Ridge Mountains. Uncomplicated but charismatic town. 1.5 doctors, small animal practice grosses $730K. Currently no boarding or grooming and practice is open only 4.5 days per week. Practice and Real Estate $805K. (#GA11C) CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS! FL - Central/Lake Area. Gross approximately $1.4M. Stateof-the art facility with all the bells and whistles. Hospital, boarding/grooming facility, and satellite clinic included in sale. (#FL45H) CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS! FL - Polk County. Impeccable 3,000SF facility on busy 4lane highway. Gross in excess of $2M with continual growth. (#FL72S) UNDER CONTRACT! NC - Western. Small animal, 1.25 doctor practice with an apartment and neighboring home available for rent and extra income. (#NC12A)
1610 Frederica Road * Saint Simons Island, GA 31522 Toll Free: 800.333.1984 * www.simmonsinc.com Email: email@example.com
Licensed Real Estate Broker in AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC, TN
Ask lifestyle questions to gain information and connect with clients. nW hat
products are you using for both?” Your interest and responsiveness raises the client’s desire to listen to you. Lifestyle questions are good to gain information. For example, “How does your pet exercise?” Open questions will help clients see the connection between their concerns and your diagnosis. Rather than assuming that you understand what they are saying, repeat their words and clarify their concerns.
Make Recommendations The greater the level of engagement and trust that you have established with your client, the more likely the client will be to accept and comply with your recommendations. Up to this point, you have employed core communication skills, identified concerns, established lifestyle parameters and involved the client with the exam to further clarify concerns and answer questions. Now you are tying all the pieces together by recommending a service or program. For example, you might have asked, “Does your pet sleep in the bed with you?” or “How do your children interact with the pet?” This lifestyle information can support recommendations for
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fecal, deworming and continuous heartworm preventative. For example, “Since Fifi goes outside and is exposed to other pets, she needs preventatives to protect her and your family.” Use visuals to support your recommendations. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so never tell what you can show. People remember less than 10 percent of what they hear, but 90 percent of what they see, hear and do themselves. Some visuals that are great to use with your recommendations include Hill’s Atlas of Veterinary Clinical Anatomy and other atlas-type books, pictures on an iPad or computer (such as the Diagnostic Imaging Atlas, Idexx Pet Health Network and Idexx Vet Connect lab data), as well as the pets themselves. Use an exam-room report card to list your recommendations. Provide clients with a timeline for when services will be performed. Timelines, mental pictures or real pictures, models, care plans, estimates, discharge instructions and recheck appointments all go with recommendations. n What can clients expect? nW hat will you do to follow up with them? n How long might it take?
Continue the Engagement Close each appointment by reinforcing the client’s trust and peace of mind. Affirm clients for bringing their pets in and confirm their choice of services. Follow up with clients and thank them for their confidence. Make sure reminders and rechecks are set up. From start to finish, good communication will support your healthcare team, your clients and your patients, helping them to stay on course and to succeed. n Dr. Mary Ann Vande Linde, founder of Vande Linde and Associates, is an expert in veterinary communications.
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HAVE A PLAN How you can help pet owners prepare for natural disasters. By James Randolph, DVM
Caring for our patients responsibly doesnâ€™t end when they walk out of our doors with their owners. We all know forgetful clients who need a monthly phone call to remind them to administer heartworm preventive. A confirmation phone call helps most pet owners remember their appointments.
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Pet Quarterly magazine, with reminders on the outer wrap, helps clients remember what month their pets are due for in-clinic examinations and other preventive care. Likewise, disaster planning that starts in your office can help clients who might not know how to prepare for the natural disasters common to your practice area. For example, >>
The Team Approach Help pet owners meet disasters successfully with these tips for your practice team.
Practice Managers You are the beginning point in forming a disaster plan for clients. n Know the kinds of disasters that commonly occur in your practice area and formulate response plans for each type of event. For example, in the event of a major hurricane, some pet owners will experience evacuation, some may experience wind damage, and some homes may be subject to both wind and flooding. n Create disaster-planning handouts and make sure the team is reinforcing those messages. If your practice’s service area experiences severe winter emergencies, clients need to know at what temperature pets must be brought indoors (pet owners may be too embarrassed to ask). If ice storms occur, clients need to know how to respond to the inevitable power outages. What are safe alternative heat sources when electricity is not available? Does the pet owner have adequate blankets to wrap up in, cuddling with the pet so both can stay warm? Where are cold-weather shelters in your city? Are animals allowed in shelters? Local Civil Defense officials are invaluable in providing the information you need for disaster-planning handouts. n Take advantage of formal training in disaster relief, usually available from county or state emergency management officials. Such training usually precedes disaster season for your area—June at the beginning of hurricane season, and midsummer to early fall in areas where wildfires are common, for example. Nationally, many church groups sponsor training that ranges from chainsaw safety
to cooking for large groups. The American Veterinary Medical Association organizes and trains entire teams of volunteer first responders in its Veterinary Medical Assistance Team (VMAT) program.
Receptionists Don’t wait to be asked—show clients where the vaccination history is printed on client receipts. n Print out a vaccination certificate, which, with most practice-management software, will also include the date of heartworm and stool tests. If your software doesn’t allow for entry of a result (positive or negative), manually write in the result so that the certificate will provide all the information an out-of-town clinic will need to provide a heartworm preventive refill during evacuation, especially if your clinic is rendered temporarily nonfunctional. n Ask clients if they have considered microchipping their pets. The suggestion to microchip every patient should begin with you.
client, offer to make a later, no-charge appointment to begin or review the plan. n While the pet is in the examination room, continue the discussion about the importance of microchipping pets. n Provide clients with your clinic’s disaster-planning handouts.
Technicians/Assistants Ask if clients have a disaster plan. If they say yes, offer to review it at no charge. If they say no, ask if they would like you to help them develop one. If it would be more convenient for the n
Veterinarians You are the ultimate expert in many clients’ eyes. If you are not from the local area, educate yourself so that you can convey confidence to clients when they ask disaster-preparation questions. Emergency-management officials may be in your Rotary or Jaycees membership. These authorities will be more than happy to help you prepare your clientele, as well as educate you. Lay members of the clinic staff may be natives who have weathered dozens of storms. They may be your best source of information. n Recommend to clients that they microchip their pets. Ask if clients would like you to microchip their pets as part of the appointment or at a follow-up appointment. n Review your clinic’s disaster-planning handouts with clients. Reinforce the importance of planning ahead for their pets’ safety and well-being in the event of an emergency. n
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Pet Safety our practice serves many clients originally from other regions of the country who work at a local naval base and other government installations. Many of these pet owners have never experienced a hurricane or evacuated to avoid one. They depend on us to tell them how to prepare. Planning begins during a standard checkup and continues with a follow-up call to the pet’s home with an offer to help if clients have difficulty with any of the steps.
Are all pets in your practice microchipped? Include the question in new client evaluations and preventive checkups for existing clients.
Disasters never clock out. Neither do we.
Every pet should carry a microchip. Many devoted pet owners have become separated from their pets by circumstances they never imagined. Share
those true stories. Convince clients that the unthinkable happens, and you have shared the heartache of pet parents right there in your practice. Tell the tales of runaway pets whose owners never thought they would stray, floods that parted pets from their families, cats that escaped from motels thousands of miles from home—and how easily they all could have been reunited with a properly registered microchip. After Hurricane Katrina, thousands of un-microchipped pets went missing, and many were adopted in cities from coast to coast. In two cases, exhaustive detective work by the original owners led them to the adopters, where they recognized their dogs and demanded their return. In both cases the new “owners” refused and the parties landed in court. This heartache could have been avoided with a microchip.
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Avoiding Delays and Expense I frequently see failure to plan ahead for disasters in real human and pet terms, because I serve on the Mississippi Animal Disaster Relief Fund (MADRF) committee. In my home state of Mississippi, pet owners affected by disasters can seek assistance through MADRF, established after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina by cooperation of three public entities. Recurring themes of the cases we review for disaster assistance are: 1. Routine preventive care had not been maintained prior to the disaster. 2. Medical records were not available from clinics damaged by the catastrophe. Thus, when families lost their homes and brought their pets for emergency boarding, the boarding facilities had to update these pets’ vaccinations prior to admitting them to avoid housing possibly unvaccinated animals with vaccinated ones. By helping pet owners plan ahead, we can assist them in avoiding such potential delays and expenses in the event of an emergency. n Encourage families to maintain routine preventive care. n Help owners with a startingpoint evacuation checklist, which they can customize for their individual needs. (See the current issue of Pet Quarterly for a list) n Emphasize that the checklist needs to cover every need: medications, bedding, sanitary needs (such as cat litter and pee pads), cleaning supplies, medical records, vaccination certificates and toys. Items that seem unforgettable today can easily be overlooked in the anxiety of evacuation. n Show clients how to put their plan in a smartphone document, which is more reliable than trying to keep up with a paper checklist from one disaster season to the next. n Some clients may need help deciding on a city to evacuate to.
Work with clients to develop an evacuation checklist specific to their pets’ needs.
Do an Internet search for national hotel/motel chains that have petfriendly rooms. If the pet cannot be housed with its owner, help clients locate a boarding facility. Ascertain the kennel’s vaccine requirements and ensure the pet is fully protected before evacuation becomes necessary. n
Dr. James Randolph is a Mississippi-based small-animal veterinarian. He is a charter member of the Mississippi Animal Disaster Relief Fund committee, formed in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina, to help protect animal health and welfare during and after natural disasters.
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Quiz TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE Quiz questions are based on artic les in the current is sues of The Team an d Pet Quarterl ® y
1 What is new to AAHA ’s 20
13 dental guidelines? A. Two-step oral care appoin tment process B. Intraoral X-rays before and after extractions C. Diagnostic test strip to me asure dissolved thiol levels D. All of the above
2 How many teeth-cle aning steps are now includ ed in AAHA’s 2013 dental gu idelines? A. 8 C. 15 B. 12 D. 17 3 What type of injury oft en causes relentless lick ing and should be treated as soon as possible? A. Eye injury B. Aural hematoma C. Paw pad injury D. None of the above 4 How long is the “golden period” for wound repair ? A. 1 hour B. 3 hours C. 5 hours D. 6 hours 5 True of false: Landing pa ges for ads are essential to improving advertising return on investment for both print and digital ad vertising. A. True B. False
6 What are two suggestion s to help a pet parent select a pet food? A. Avoid grain-based diets. B. Reputable brands includ e AAFCO statements. C. By-products are not dig estible for pets. D. Diets should have life-st age options. 7 When preparing for a clie nt visit, one minute of preparation saves ____ in the exam room. A. 1 minute C. 3 minutes B. 2 minutes D. 5 minutes 8 True of false: Diabetes mellitus type 2 is most prevalent among cats. A. True B. False 9 An estimated ____ perce nt of dogs and ___ percent of cats are overw eight. A. 42 and 40 B. 35 and 29 C. 26 and 35 D. 30 and 40 10 In the aftermath of dis asters, what are often recurring themes? A. Most pets have microchip s. B. Routine preventive care had not been maintained prior to the disaster. C. Medical records were not available from clinics damaged by the catastrop he. D. All of the above
, 5-A, 6-B and D, 7-C, 8-A,
Answers: 1-D, 2-C, 3-C, 4-D www.psi-inc.net | the Team | Fall 2013 25
9-A, 10-B and C.
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