What if the practice was paid to minimize client visits to the practice?

Aug 14, 2017 by Edward L. Blach, DVM, MS, MBA

Research has shown that many pet owners are disappointed with their experiences with veterinarians.  As many as half of pet owners do not have a regular veterinarian, and of those that do, many are not pleased with their experience.  Why?

Much of the dissatisfaction comes from the customers' expectation to be able to reach a veterinarian in a timely manner and to get their questions answered that will lead them to seek the solutions they need.  This statement should not sound unreasonable.  But in the veterinary world, we've talked about 'compliance' for many years.  Compliance means, 'do what I say' in the veterinarian's words, not 'do what I want' in the minds of the client.  

Is it possible to turn this mindset on its head and to revolutionize our veterinary service model to consumers?  Consider the facts.  The modern veterinary practice is built on the premise that it must drive client traffic as frequently as possible in order to drive revenue and growth.  This is the compliance model.  In other words, the practice needs to drive clients to the practice.  In the minds of clients, they wonder if they truly need to make all of those visits and to pay those fees.  What would happen if the practice actually aligned their incentives with those of their clients?  What if the practice got paid to minimize client visits to the practice?  Isn't this what the client wants?  What if client visits actually increased the costs of the practice without increasing revenue?  Wouldn't practices want to minimize client visits?  This might be the case if monthly subscription wellness plans were in place that provided free exams and client visits.  If clients paid for being advised appropriately regarding pet care, wouldn't it be in the best interests of both the practice and the client to minimize visits?

What would be the impact on a veterinary medicine if our business model actually aligned with the incentives of our customers?  Ponder this.  It's what clients want.

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