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Be proactive with your clinic innovation

Long Beach, California convention center

Louise Dunn underscored the value of being proactive to change during her Day 1 keynote session at the Fetch dvm360 conference in Long Beach, California

Louise S. Dunn delivering her keynote presentation at the Fetch conference in Long Beach, CA.

Louise S. Dunn delivering her keynote presentation at the Fetch conference in Long Beach, CA.

Louise S. Dunn addressed the room of veterinary professionals attending the Day 1 keynote presentation the Fetch dvm360 conference in Long Beach, California, by asking the simple question: “Would everyone agree that the face of the profession is changing?” Followed by an overwhelming agreement from attendees, Dunn explained that from this change in the veterinary profession, new solutions and protocols may be needed to improve practice operations. But her biggest piece of advice with inevitable change is to be proactive instead of reactive. This can keep your practice ahead, instead of always playing catch up. In her session, “Unlocking Synergy: Mastering the Dynamic Interplay of Clients, Teams, Business, & Technology,” Dunn explained different areas of the profession and how to use change to your advantage.1

Proactive client service innovations

The COVID-19 pandemic created a huge need for change and those effects are still being used. Dunn explained that telemedicine, curbside services, and digital forms and sign-ins have all been utilized after the pandemic demanded social distancing. However, the effect of this change found that clients valued a lot of these service innovations. Even without distancing protocols in place, some clients still prefer to have some appointments through video for behavioral reasons, or for geriatric/senior patients. According to Dunn, clients also appreciate the convenience of curbside and online forms.

Proactive veterinary team innovations

“We have all the different specialties for technicians, [but] are we using [them]? Are you using technicians with special interests? The outlooks are that the majority of practices are not,” Dunn stated. She used a quote from the former dean of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, James Lloyd, to emphasize her point. Llyod had once said, “The more credentialed veterinary technicians and other non-DVM staff members you have supporting each veterinarian, the more likely it is that your hospital will operate efficiently.” Dunn stated that the rise in pet ownership created the increasing need for more veterinary staff members. Utilizing technicians in the clinic can help with better workload delegation and daily flow. She also stated that proper utilization of all staff members can help them learn and grow in the field.

Dunn also recommended using a work from home model for client service representatives (CSRs). This can allow some positions within the clinic to have a more flexible work schedule. “Did you know that there was a survey—not just in veterinary medicine—where they said you could have a 20% wage increase or you can continue to work from home. The majority of people said they'd rather stay working from home,” Dunn said. CSRs can schedule appointments and follow-up with clients over the phone while at home.

Closing statements

Dunn’s final message reminds attendees of the lasting effects these innovative adjustments will continue to have on the future of veterinary medicine. The pandemic revealed areas of improvement in the business model and offered opportunities for adaptation. However, Dunn also reminded everyone to focus on what their own practice specifically needs, because that can vary from practice to practice.


Dunn LS. Unlocking Synergy: Mastering the Dynamic Interplay of Clients, Teams, Business, & Technology. Presented at: Fetch dvm360 conference; Long Beach, California; December 1-3, 2023.

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