How do you market your accredited status?

At AAHA, we like to say our accredited hospitals are “Champions for Excellent Care,” and we urge them to publicize their accreditation using both the tools we’ve developed (aaha.org/publicity) and creative ideas of their own.

For Pamela Nichols, DVM, member of the AAHA Board of Directors and owner of AAHA-accredited hospital Animal Care Center in West Bountiful, Utah, promoting the value of accreditation is equal parts profession and passion. She recently took a moment to share her tips about discussing accreditation in practice and the community.

Trends: Why is it important to you that clients realize you are accredited?

Pamela Nichols: I feel that AAHA accreditation sets us apart and puts us above non-accredited hospitals. I want clients to know the lengths we go to to make sure we are offering the very best medicine in the cleanest facility with the best medical records. 

Trends: How do you communicate your accreditation to the community?

PN: We communicate our accreditation in all the standard ways, including on our website and social media pages, as well as in some more creative ways. Our reception staff wears shirts with the AAHA logo featured on the back and we tell everyone as we hand them a brochure that they are produced by AAHA, which usually leads to more questions about what that means. We also offer a monthly seminar to the public and use that as a forum to talk about AAHA accreditation and www.aaha.org as the place to go for reliable web information.

Trends: You said in the AAHA-Accredited Members Facebook group that you recently had a goal to mention AAHA in every single appointment for an entire day. How did that go? How did you bring up AAHA in each appointment?

PN: For many of us in general practice, it can be overwhelming to have so many topics to discuss. I loved making it a goal for every client to hear about AAHA for a whole day. It would be great to do it every day; alas, I am human.

Handing a client a brochure and explaining that it came from AAHA is one really easy way to bring it up. I also asked our clients if they liked our receptionists’ new shirts with the logo emblazoned on the back, which brought up lots of questions about AAHA. In addition, I had the receptionists watch AAHA 101 so they, too, could get excited about talking about accreditation.

Trends: What are your clients’ reactions when you talk to them about your AAHA accreditation?

PN: Usually our clients say something like, “Well, we knew you were the best, so of course AAHA says so, too!” Most of my clients already know about AAHA, but it’s a good reminder.

Trends: Have you had clients come to you just because you are AAHA accredited?

PN: Yes! Finally!

Trends: Why is it important for you to send clients to AAHA-accredited hospitals when they move away from your practice?

PN: Sadly, I think for me as a veterinarian working in an AAHA-accredited hospital (prior to my involvement with the AAHA Board of Directors), the time I promoted AAHA the most was as clients were moving out of state. Now, I am actively trying to educate clients about AAHA every day.

As a board member, I also know that AAHA’s number one goal is making sure that AAHA accreditation is the most important criteria for a client when seeking out a new hospital. It’s important to instill those values while they are still our client! 

Trends: What one new thing do you plan on doing in your practice in the next year to improve how you celebrate your AAHA accreditation?

PN: I don’t think I can narrow it down to just one!

I recently started making sure that I always have something on me that says “AAHA accredited.” My receptionists and technicians all have AAHA logos on their shirts and scrubs as well. I also like the idea of having AAHA cookies to hand out to clients for no special reason, but I haven’t done that yet.

I visit the AAHA Accredited Members Facebook group every day to interact with other professionals who know how valuable AAHA accreditation is. I love sharing ideas there and feel it is becoming a great way to connect and learn from each other about the value of promoting AAHA within the practice and to our clients.

It is a lovely cycle. The more we stress the value of AAHA accreditation, the more our clients know to ask for it. It is a combination of AAHA promoting the brand, clients recognizing it and veterinarians reinforcing it. 

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