How diagnostics drive success in veterinary practice (Sponsored by IDEXX Laboratories Inc.)


How diagnostics drive success in veterinary practice (Sponsored by IDEXX Laboratories Inc.)

May 01, 2013

Moderator Dr. Fred Metzger and four other veterinary practice management experts met in early 2013 and discussed how to price and promote diagnostics for the betterment of pets nationwide. You can catch highlights of their discussion here as well as in free videos at . Also, see the website for complete speaker bios.

How important is diagnostic testing to practice success?

Karen Felsted: I think focusing on diagnostics and reviewing what our protocols are when we recommend these tests is a huge opportunity for a practice to give pet owners and pets the best care possible. That's why we became veterinarians or why we choose to work in veterinary practices in the first place: for pets to get the kind of care that they need. And diagnostics is a huge component that allows us to do that.

Fritz Wood: Diagnostics has been the fastest-growing profit center in veterinary hospitals for the past 10 years. Successful practices begin with an appreciation that this growth is extremely important to their business. Practice owners can't wake up in mid-January and look back at the prior year and say, "How did we do in the lab?" They have to pay attention year-round. They have to have specific goals for preanesthetic testing, senior screens, wellness screens, and screening for pets on medication.

When is it best to use in-practice diagnostic equipment versus a reference laboratory?

Wood: I ask practices, are people's service expectations higher or lower than they were a few years ago? And clearly they're higher. Are people more or less patient than they were yesterday? Well, clearly less patient. More hurried. To me there's value in having point-of-care results and being able to come back with an answer for the client right away on sick pets, senior screens, preventive screens, and more.

Imagine what that does for compliance if we have an answer right now and can initiate therapy and treatment immediately.

Louise Dunn: It depends on the practice. Does the practice have a team and equipment/tools to provide the test, and can they produce accurate, reliable results?

Felsted: It's clear for sick pets or emergency cases you're going to do it in the practice. I prefer in practice testing for preanesthetic cases, and I think it makes sense to do it the day of the surgery. It's more convenient than asking clients to come in for a separate visit. When it comes to preventive care tests, if the practice has systems in place to turn around that lab work while the client waits, then it is worthwhile.