Cold laser therapy: So hot right now
Sarah Mouton Dowdy
Sarah Mouton Dowdy, a former associate content specialist for dvm360.com, is a freelance writer and editor in Kansas City, Missouri.
2016 dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year finalist Amy Jensen was hesitant to invest in cold laser therapy, but the risk is paying off thanks to smart pricing plans and comprehensive marketing (and the fact that it actually works).
Getty ImagesCold laser therapy isn't just an excuse to make adorable dogs even more adorable by making them wear “doggles,” although it certainly serves that purpose.
For hospital manager Amy Jensen and her team at East Padden Animal Hospital in Vancouver, Washington, cold laser therapy has become both a clinically and financially important part of the practice. “We were hesitant to bring it on board for a very long time,” says Jensen. “It was a large investment and we weren't sure whether it would work or be profitable.”
The risk is paying off. “We offer a variety of alternative therapies at our practice, so cold laser therapy was a fairly seamless addition,” Jensen explains. “Once we purchased the unit and let clients know about it, we were shocked by the amount of positive feedback we received.”
Jensen has developed a multipronged approach to marketing cold laser therapy:
- Brochures: In addition to keeping brochures provided by the cold laser company in the exam rooms and lobby, Jensen and her team created their own “alternative care” brochures that position cold laser therapy alongside other nontraditional therapies like acupuncture and chiropractic care.
- Line item: Jensen has added cold laser therapy as a line item in every single surgery estimate.
- Social: East Padden Animal Hospital has featured the therapy on its Facebook page and in its monthly e-newsletter to clients. “We even had our clinic cat Elijah tell a story about it in his own section in our client e-newsletter,” Jensen says.
- Staff advocates: Jensen's staff is trained to educate clients on the ins and outs of cold laser therapy. “The one thing that gets the most interest is sharing personal stories of cases where a remarkable difference has occurred, like when a pet has started walking again,” she says.
East Padden Animal Hospital offers several pricing structures for cold laser therapy:
- Post-surgery = $16.50 (with surgeries to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation; not offered in cases that may be cancer)
- Acute treatment = $39 (for example, inflamed ears and short-term injuries)
- Chronic treatment = $61 (often for older, arthritic pets on an entire hip area, elbows and knees)
- Combo package = $255 (Includes six sessions; can alternate between cold laser and acupuncture sessions)
dvm360, Firstline and Vetted is publishing personal stories, in-the-trenches advice and bright practice management ideas in the coming months from entrants in the dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year contest. The nine finalists were announced at CVC Kansas City in August. The Practice Manager of the Year will be announced at CVC San Diego in December.