Case study: Senior testing education enhances care and compliance

Article

Dr. Daniel Brod, co-owner of Deer Creek Animal Hospital in Littleton, Colo., says that in about one of every four senior dogs he tests, he identifies early disease processes, such as renal, liver, or thyroid disease?that's about 15 percent higher than in younger dogs at his practice. And he sees similar results in his feline patients. So the benefits of testing are clear. And his team took just a few steps that helped to increase compliance.

Dr. Daniel Brod, co-owner of Deer Creek Animal Hospital in Littleton, Colo., says that in about one of every four senior dogs he tests, he identifies early disease processes, such as renal, liver, or thyroid disease—that's about 15 percent higher than in younger dogs at his practice. And he sees similar results in his feline patients. So the benefits of testing are clear. And his team took just a few steps that helped to increase compliance.

• When clients arrive with senior dogs and cats, receptionists hand them brochures on special needs of senior pets and checklists to assess their pets' health in key areas.

• Team members then use a large, red stamp on the senior patient's file to remind the doctors to talk about the checklist and blood testing.

• Doctors note on the stamped areas whether or not clients accepted the recommendations for senior blood testing.

"The checklist we ask owners to complete offers an overview of the body systems," says Dr. Brod. "Every 'yes' is an entry point for discussion. So if the client says she's noticed an increase in the pet's water consumption, I'll discuss with her such possible causes as kidney disease or diabetes. The checklist highlights areas where I need to probe more and gives me a lead-in to discuss blood work. This approach works because our whole team is onboard," says Dr. Brod. "And we start educating clients early; when these senior dogs and cats were puppies and kittens, we began stressing the need for yearly blood tests. It's just the type of test we do that changes."

Deer Creek Animal Hospital ran 925 senior canine profiles in 2005. Clients with senior dogs paid $159 for the six-test panel, which includes a blood chemistry profile, CBC, urinalysis, total T4, free T4 by equilibrium dialysis, and urine microalbuminuria. After senior-citizen and multiple-pet discounts, the profiles generated $142,352 in revenue in 2005. Subtracting lab costs of $40 per panel, the practice earned $105,325. "We're running more tests, and as a result, we're detecting illnesses in patients earlier, potentially saving more lives," says Dr. Brod.

Related Videos
adam christman peter weinstein carecredit
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.