Facing the toughest problems in veterinary medicine-one year later


Every look at the profession's struggles is a new chance to solve them.

One year ago, I pledged to help you face off against the toughest problems troubling you in veterinary practice.

Perhaps I failed. I say this because many of you have the same types of complaints you did one year ago, when we asked the question, “What is your biggest problem in veterinary practice today?”

So, you know what the problems are. The question is, have you committed to fixing them?

Have you differentiated your practice from your competitors? Do you regularly check profit and expenses to make sure your plans make monetary and medical sense? (Do you need to hire a practice manager to help?) Are you improving your communication skills to better explain the importance of your practice’s protocols to an increasingly cash-strapped pet owner? (Does your whole team do a great job of educating clients?) Are you marketing your practice online and on social media?

Those are the things in your power to fix. As you look at the list below, can you think of one thing to change and improve for the benefit of your patients, your practice and your team?

After all, Veterinary Economics and data from this 1,200-respondent survey can only be as useful as you make it. (Here's a peek at some information we gleaned from this year's survey.)

What is your biggest problem in veterinary practice today?

1. Facing competition: veterinarians, nonprofits, big-box stores and nonveterinary providers as well as loss of revenue centers

2. Managing finances: cutting expenses, maintaining profit and growth, setting fees and preparing for a practice sale

3. Working with clients who don’t value your work, don’t comply with recommendations and/or don’t know enough

4. Staying busy with decreased client visits and fewer new clients

5. Being paid fairly for your work, especially to pay off student loans

6. Finding time for paperwork and medical records, patient care, client education and to keep up with medicine, technology and business

7. Helping clients who can’t afford your care

8. Finding, hiring and paying great team members

9. Managing team members

10. Coping with the economy

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