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ACVC 2017: Bridging the Gap Between Mobile and Stationary Veterinary Practices
Are you a mobile veterinarian looking to foster a relationship with a stationary practice? Or a stationary practice looking to grow business by adding a mobile component? Both sides of the veterinary spectrum can benefit from collaboration. Here we explain just how successful you could be if you add a mobile or stationary component to your current practice.
Mobile practices are the latest trend in veterinary medicine and a new demand from clients. As the standard of care shifts, veterinarians on both sides of the spectrum need to consider changing with it. This new business model is not only successful, but revolutionary for patient care and customer service.
But for mobile veterinary services to really achieve success, veterinarians need to bridge the gap between mobile and stationary veterinary practices, said Lisa Aumiller, DVM, owner of HousePaws Mobile Veterinary Service, who spoke to attendees at the Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Not Competition, But Collaboration
Instead of viewing the new mobile practice in your community as direct competition, think of it as a prospective partner.
The potential exists for both mobile and stationary veterinarians to work with one another, and there are a variety of ways this collaboration can occur. Ways to increase business could be to:
- Add a stationary practice to your mobile practice
- Add a mobile practice to your stationary practice
- Add a mobile/stationary component
- Develop a great relationship between a mobile and stationary practice and utilize each other’s strengths
You need to be the other practice’s “partner,” which means making them “think that you’re a part of the health care team for that patient.”
If your mobile practice has a shared client with a stationary practice, that client needs to be shared fully on both ends. Communication needs to occur on both the mobile and stationary sides if this collaborative relationship is going to work.
“If you’re working with a stationary practice that’s not your practice, they need to have the mentality that you’re a partner with them,” Dr. Aumiller said. “And if they don’t have that partnership mentality, they’re not the right partner to help you grow your veterinary practice.”
But likewise, if you have a mutual client, you have to also give the stationary practice feedback and make sure you’re following up with them.
Mobile Drives Business
Could a mobile veterinary practice become profitable? According to Dr. Aumiller, “It’s just as profitable as a land practice.”
Think of all you can do outside of your stationary practice if you add on a mobile component. Think of how much easier it would be to reach clients. Likewise, think of all you can do inside an actual building. Think of how your clients would respond to the option of having an established practice to walk in to.
How else could adding mobile to your veterinary practice increase your business and increase your practice’s success?
Mobile veterinarians increase compliance considerably for veterinarians.
“Treatments at home for patients in between hospital visits will increase compliance,” Dr. Aumiller said. “They don’t want to keep going to the hospital for things. Some of them might be too busy.”
Better information is collected at home.
Clients will ultimately be more comfortable in their own home, allowing for an easier appointment or exam of their pet.
Stronger relationships are built.
“It’s better for you to say, ‘Today we can’t, but we do have a relationship with this mobile veterinarian if you want this today,’” Dr. Aumiller said. “Because you solved their problem, they still come back.”
You can reach the pets others may be missing.
Clients may not want to come into the stationary practice either because they have too many pets to handle or they physically can’t get themselves there. Whatever the case, bringing your mobile practice directly to them is a great way to treat underserved pets.
You can examine aggressive pets.
Mobile veterinarians are used to clients telling them that their previous veterinarian told them never to come back again because of an aggressive pet. Another perk of being mobile means a greater chance of serving these aggressive pets in their own environments.
According to a Bayer Animal Health Division study, 53 percent of America’s 74 million cats are not receiving veterinary care largely due to the fact that most owners feel that taking them to the veterinary office is stressful. That same study also reported 24 percent of dog owners and 39 percent of cat owners would visit the veterinarian only if their pets were sick. Mobile veterinarians can solve these problems and more.
Dr. Aumiller encourages veterinarians to remember that offering either a stationary practice or a mobile component begins with a strong business foundation. “If you overextend yourself and do more poorly, that’s not going to be good,” she said. “You need to do less well, and grow from there.”