Discuss improving education, team-based care, and technology
Banfield Pet Hospital, part of the Mars Veterinary Health family of practices, recently hosted its 22nd annual Pet Healthcare Industry Summit, bringing together veterinary leaders to discuss access to veterinary care and if owners can receive and pay for services and treatments for their pets.1 This is an issue that needs attention as according to Mars Veterinary Health research,2 with new veterinary graduates expected over the next 10 years, there will still remain a shortage of up to 24,000 companion animal veterinarians by 2030.
The leaders at the summit reviewed challenges and opportunities to help foster a more sustainable future for veterinary medicine through advancements in education systems, team-based care, and technology.
"The veterinary landscape is changing rapidly, creating unique headwinds that call for a unified and thoughtful approach to ensure the profession can meet the needs of pets that deserve high-quality care," expressed Molly McAllister, chief medical officer of Mars Veterinary Health. "Creating new, innovative education models is at the heart of this challenge. I'm encouraged by how the industry, academia and Mars ecosystem came together today to help move the profession in a positive direction."1
A main focus of veterinary medical education discussed at the Pet Healthcare Industry Summit was spectrum of care, or the idea that a range of diagnostics and treatment options exist for any given condition.3 Spectrum of care asks how do we educate veterinary professionals to see pets everywhere in an inclusive manner addressing diverse clients that need to be seen while offering the best veterinary care?
"Team-based care expands access to care for pets and their owners through more hours of coverage and shorter wait times, without added burden to hospital teams," said Mony Iyer, president of Banfield Pet Hospital.1 "It also allows for more effective and efficient delivery of care, including increased client education. For hospital teams, it fosters a more positive work environment, leading to increased job satisfaction and retention."
Banfield incorporated team-based care with launching in 2019 Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) appointments, which allow technicians to offer services under the direction and supervision of a veterinarian. According to the release,1 Banfield has delivered 2.7 million CVT appointments since the program’s initiation, and discovered participating technicians are 12x more likely to stay with the practice.
"Technological innovations have the potential to positively impact access to care by advancing fundamental areas of veterinary medicine, from prediction and prevention to monitoring, diagnosis, and treatment," said Nefertiti Greene, president of Mars Science & Diagnostics.1 "Mars Petcare has a unique opportunity to lead the way in many of these areas, with a full diagnostic offering, one-of-a-kind cat and dog biobank, and commitment to sharing what we learn with the industry."
Mars also promotes the use of technology in veterinary medicine by providing funding and mentorship to accelerate startups aiming to support access to care through artificial intelligence-based solutions.
To address the issue of access to care, Mars Veterinary Health and Banfield Pet Hospital announced at the summit a $25,000 grant to the Veterinary Innovation Council to help create a dynamic website or repository of information on the services, programs, and resources exist regarding access to care.
"This new grant and resource will help veterinary professionals and pet owners more easily explore their options when providing and seeking care for pets," stated Alea Harrison, chief medical officer of Banfield Pet Hospital.1 "It's part of Banfield and Mars' ongoing commitment to leveraging our size and scale to invest and provide tools and resources that benefit the broader profession."
At the 2022 summit, Mars Veterinary Health and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) announced a working group to deliver the Positive Pet Care Guide,4 a resource designed to strengthen the relationship between veterinary team-client partnership in support of offering the highest quality care to pets. Since it debuted in April of this year, it has been viewed over 6,000 times, with hospital teams sharing the guide with clients on their websites and in their hospitals.1