Veterinarian Business Challenges

Goals

To identify some of the biggest problems veterinarians face when running a clinic for the purposes of developing a veterinarian's view of the business.

Early Findings

Preliminary research shows there is significant information available on the challenges faced by veterinarians and what a typical day for a veterinarian looks like.

PAIN POINTS AND CHALLENGES

  • According to practice management consulting company Sterling Management, the top three pain points for veterinarians in terms of running a clinic are the following:
  • Veterinarians also have to select a practice information management system (PIMS) and choosing one that is the best fit for the clinic can be challenging.
  • Jive, a VoIP provider, mentions that pain points for veterinarians include staffing, student/practice debt, and loss of clientele, which is often the result of poor communication and customer service.
  • According to Veterinary Practice News, the top challenges facing veterinarians when running a clinic are the following:
    • The consolidation of clinics, which is placing independent clinics in the hands of "nonveterinarians, which is not a good thing for [veterinarians] in the trenches."
    • Along with the consolidation comes the loss of control for many independent veterinarians who find that banks, suppliers, and other industry players favor large, established clinics over small startups and independent clinics.
    • Veterinarians are often faced with clients who are unable to pay for services, which means they must decide whether to treat the animals anyway or turn them away.
    • There is a wide cultural division between rural and urban clinics.
    • The veterinary profession is typically conservative and white, and it struggles to attract veterinarians who "hail from nonwhite backgrounds and less traditional cultures." This challenge is creating inclusivity problems between veterinarians, their staff, and their clientele.
    • Veterinary medicine is highly unregulated, but this is changing as pet owners become more willing to "take the profession to the mat" when their animals are harmed due while under the care of a veterinarian.
    • Case management is inefficient and sometimes ineffective.
  • For veterinarians just entering the field, "student debt is a major concern," and large veterinarian companies are offering six-figure salaries to start. This makes it very challenging for smaller clinics to compete for staff.
  • Moreover, large companies are able to "offer comprehensive benefits packages that smaller, private practices may not."

DAY IN THE LIFE

  • Morning:
  • Lunchtime
    • Typically, no appointments are held for 1-2 hours over lunch.
    • Staff members often "take this time to finish the surgery, return phone calls, check on animals recovering from anesthesia, check on hospital patients, occasionally see an emergency appointment, and hopefully eat lunch at some point."
    • Larger clinics with multiple veterinarians may stagger lunch breaks so appointments can continue over lunchtime.
  • Afternoon
  • Closing Time/Overnight
    • Veterinarians often use this time to prepare for the next day.
    • Typically, a veterinarian is on call for emergencies, but this will vary based on the structure of emergency procedures and the number of veterinarians on staff.
    • In a standard clinic, there will typically be someone on duty overnight to check on animals and provide routine care.

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