Sep
30
2014

In the 2014 AAHA State of the Industry report, IDEXX and AAHA together discovered that veterinary practices who focus on strengthening four specific types of bonds are more likely to prosper.

With that knowledge in hand, IDEXX is going all-in on an effort to help practices strengthen each of those bonds.

The company's recently announced Strengthen the Bonds program is helping practices overcome challenges including slow economic growth, poor client compliance with care recommendation, and increased consumer reliance on Dr. Google, said Tammi Lesser, LVT, IDEXX senior director of marketing.

"Our Strengthen the Bonds construct is one important way we plan to help the veterinary community," Lesser said. "Grounded in data that offer a new lens through which the industry can view the delivery of exceptional pet care, the Strengthen the Bonds program will offer education, training, and awareness opportunities that reflect new ways to support both exceptional patient care and stronger financial health for veterinary practices."

A brief refresher on recent State of the Industry findings

The AAHA State of the Industry report from 2013 revealed that practices can control their growth independent of the economy. The 2014 report showed that the most consistent growers were focused more closely on strengthening four key bonds, which Lesser summarized:

  • The loving bond between pets and their owners, which is strengthened by taking the time needed to educate pet owners.
  • The bond between the practice and its patients, created by always delivering personalized, exceptional care.
  • The bond between the practice and its clients, which is earned each day through clear communication.
  • The bonds that connect veterinary staff to each other, which clients can feel the moment they walk through the door.

Practices excelling in strengthening those key bonds tended to perform significantly better than the majority of their peers, achieving 10 percent growth two years in a row. Lesser explained how this new information led IDEXX to help more practices behave like Consistent Outgrowers.

"The State of the Industry showed that the most successful veterinary practices are employing proven strategies for strengthening the bonds now. This compelled us to act," Lesser said. "Our Strengthen the Bonds program will offer new insight into how the veterinary community can replicate proven strategies to achieve greater financial health while also delivering exceptional pet care." 

Turning State of the Industry findings into growth plans for practices

Acting on the State of the Industry findings, IDEXX changed its sales model to one where dedicated teams work one-on-one with clients to strengthen their important bonds.

Lesser offered examples of how the Strengthen the Bond program will help clients use technology to improve the four critical bonds:

  • Pet-owner bond: Helping veterinarians strengthen this critical bond with real-time imaging and diagnostic reports with trending, tools, and training to help practice staff learn new ways to explain the value of preventive care.
  • Practice-patient bond: Leveraging technology to handle the accessing, displaying, interpreting, and sharing of diagnostics results behind the scenes so practices can focus on pet care.
  • Practice-client bond: Helping veterinarians build and strengthen the client bond through capabilities such as appointment reminders and confirmations, the ability to share a pet's historical trending graphs and diagnostic results, and the ability to use 3D animations in the exam room to educate clients on their pet's health.
  • Practice-staff bond: Helping practices strengthen this bond by providing management solutions that eliminate repetitive manual data entry and automate workflows. 

While Lesser said success will be defined differently for each practice, she pointed out several measurable bond-strengthening goals including increases in treatment compliance, reductions in treatment room wait times, earlier diagnosis of a given set of conditions, increases in preventive care, and more consistent application of protocols.

Continuing the effort to help practices grow

Encouraged by the breakthroughs so far achieved during the joint effort between AAHA and IDEXX, Lesser said her company looks forward to the insights that the two organizations will continue to uncover in coming years.

"We're pleased that the results from our most recent collaboration show that veterinary practices can thrive in any economy. This has allowed the industry to shed old thinking and look at growth through a new lens," Lesser said. "We are confident that future collaborations with AAHA will continue to yield landmark findings about the success factors for growth, which will allow both organizations to fulfill their missions while also helping the veterinary community fulfill theirs, to provide the best possible care to pets."

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