Veterinary Economics - June 2012 - (Page 12)
practice management q&a
Bite the bullet Don’t limit free and go paperless wellness-plan How do I determine when going examinations paperless is ﬁnancially justiﬁed?
“From my perspective, it’s always the right time to go paperless,” says Dr. Jeff Rothstein, MBA, president of Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals and Management Group in Michigan. As the question implies, there are many advantages to being paperless (see the sidebar below). Although cost has never been a factor, Dr. Rothstein says he has helped create close to 10 paperless practices, and phasing out your old records is easier than you think. Here’s how he does it: “We pick a start date, and all visits after that date are typed into our veterinary software program,” says Dr. Rothstein, a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member. “I see no reason to enter any past medical history into our electronic records. Instead, for each visit during that transition year, we lug out the old paper chart for historical reference. Then, at our one-year anniversary of being paperless, we no longer pull out the paper chart, except by special request—which almost never happens.” The bottom line: Anything older than a year usually has little bearing on the pet’s current health status, Dr. Rothstein says. And any chronic or ongoing conditions would be addressed and documented electronically during the transition year. “I’ve found it exceedingly easy to make the change—you just have to get your game plan together and start,” he says. “So the right time is now.”
Do clients typically take advantage of the free ofﬁce visits you offer under your annual plan? I’m considering offering two exams and three free ofﬁce visits. Subsequent visits would cost 50 percent less than a regular visit.
Wellness-program clients visit the hospital three to five times more per year than non-wellness-plan clients, says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Karl Salzsieder, JD, owner of Salzsieder Consulting and Legal Services in Dr. Karl Salzsieder Longview, Wash. “These frequent visits allow the hospital to provide more and better care, which raises revenue,” he says. “I’ve rarely seen clients abuse the plan options by coming in to socialize with the doctor instead of resolving a real medical concern.”
Wellness-plan clients visit the hospital three to ﬁve times more per year than non-wellness-plan clients.
Work faster, smarter, greener
Going paperless can help your practice:
• Reduce costs associated with paper, printers, copiers, fax machines, ink cartridges, and so on. • Eliminate ﬁling cabinets and reclaim space. • Increase staff efﬁciency by eliminating time spent searching for records. • Present a professional image to clients. • Respond faster to client questions. • Create a faster workﬂow. • Securely back up all medical documents. • Conduct business in a more environmentally friendly way.
Dr. Salzsieder says that unlimited free office calls, or pet examinations, are the real selling feature of wellness plans, so he hesitates to limit them. (Read more about his annual plan at dvm360.com/annual.) “When I started offering these programs, I didn’t offer free office calls,” he says. “I didn’t sell the plans nearly as well as I do now.” He also says that the automatic renewal rate has been more than 80 percent for many years. “This means our plans have a high perceived value from clients, even though 30 percent to 70 percent of pet owners never use all the plan services, even with reminder calls,” he says. If some clients abuse the program by requesting too many appointments, you can require them to drop off pets for exams, he says. That way you can squeeze these patients into your schedule wherever you have time.
VETERINARY ECONOMICS ❘ June 2012 ❘ dvm360.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Veterinary Economics - June 2012
Veterinary Economics - June 2012
Get in Touch
Practice Management Q&A
For Associates: Production Pay
Click & Copy
Boost Your EQ
Assess your EQ climate
Extinguish negative reviews
When disaster strikes … where will you be?
Checklist: Help clients help their pets
Lessons from the front lines: When disaster hits home
Designed to wow
Veterinary Economics - June 2012