Can you have too many wellness plans?


Maybe, yeah, says this dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year entrant. There were more than two dozen separate packages when she came in, so she turned to the entire practice team to help her pare down and spruce up.

Photo: Adobe StockWhen I started at my hospital, there were 27 different pet wellness plans for clients to choose from-and also for our staff to remember. The practice owners had gone through the work of creating, approving and designing these plans, so they were reasonably hesitant to change things if they were working. So, I decided to analyze the plans to see which ones were performing best. It turned out we hadn't sold 15 of the 27 packages in more than two years. This is where the change started. We pared down the packages to the ones we worked with most often, and then refined them.

The devil's in the details

In the old system, our puppy and kitten packages were broken down by male and female. Our hospital performs three puppy visits and then the spay/neuter visit. That made up six individual packages just for puppy visits. (A new and different “package” could start at any of these visits!) It was the same for kittens. After months of discussion and debate with the practice owners, the office manager and the team, we narrowed down our packages to nine plans: two for puppies, two for kittens, three for adult dogs and two for adult cats.

The puppy and kitten plans start at 8 or 12 weeks, which determines how many vaccines the pet receives. The adult dog wellness packages have a plan that includes an annual wellness exam, parasite testing and needed vaccines as well as baseline bloodwork. The next level of package is all of that plus a dental procedure with radiographs. The last of the dog wellness packages is all of the above, but offers two dental cleanings during the year. The cat plans are the same, but we don't offer the two-dentals-a-year plan.

All aboard!

Getting the staff totally on board has also taken time. One of the best ways was involving them in the decisions. We spoke at multiple staff meetings about what worked and what didn't. I gathered everyone's opinions. I wanted the staff to know they were important in decision making so they would be on board with the changes.

Photo courtesy of authorAt the same time, we also revamped the design of our wellness plan materials. The change from our handmade forms (above left) to the newly printed ones is night and day.

More than ever, we consider these wellness plans as living, breathing documents. They need to change as we change protocols and services. We also might decide to discontinue or add a service. And when those changes come along, I'll always make time to reach out to the staff for their input.

Jenny Matthews, CVT, CVPM, is practice manager at Pet Medical Center of Edmond in Edmond, Oklahoma, and an entrant in the 2018 dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year contest.


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