For AAHA-accredited practice Wellington Veterinary Hospital PC in Wellington, Colo., being AAHA accredited is more than just going through a list of checklists during the accreditation evaluation process. For staff, their accreditation is something that distinguishes and differentiates their hospital in the eyes of their clients. At AAHA, we like to say our accredited hospitals are "Champions for Excellent Care," and we urge them to promote their accreditation using the tools we've developed. Don't let something you've worked so hard to achieve remain a secret. Accreditation is something to be proud of, and it's something your current and potential clients will appreciate once they understand what it means.

Wellington Veterinary Hospital took a moment to share their own secrets on how they are leveraging their accreditation within their communities

Red: Why is AAHA accreditation important to Wellington Veterinary Hospital?  

Wellington Veterinary Hospital (WVC): Being accredited by AAHA is important to us because it provides the standards of care to hold ourselves accountable to and it is a differentiator for our clients. Because of the thought and research that goes into building these standards we know that by earning our accreditation we are practicing a high level of medicine with the care of our patients, clients and professional veterinary medical team in mind.

Red: How does your practice celebrate its accreditation?

WVH: Living in a small town, simply bringing in a catered lunch for our team from "the city" brings many smiles.  For our clients, we celebrate by posting on Facebook and in our local paper our achievement and what it means.  We proudly fly an AAHA flag alongside the American flag and the Wellington Veterinary Hospital flag.  We post framed flyers around the practice announcing our re-accreditation. We use the Publicity Toolbox to help with Facebook, email, and print material to relay a consistent message. We have the Champions explanation listed on our business cards and website. We also have displayed them by the phones so that our team members have an easy phrase to use when discussing AAHA with clients.

Red: What inspired you to celebrate your accreditation in this way?

WVH: Following the accredited members Facebook group has given us a plethora of ideas. The business card idea was picked up from a practice in our NABA group. We know our clients value our accreditation when we take the time to explain it to them. Having multiple touch points through our social media, within our hospital, and during conversations with our clients has really given us traction in our community to build the value to our clients as to why our practice is different. We are AAHA different.

Red: What benefits does your practice gain from being accredited?

WVH: Definitely a sense of pride and assurance that our standard of care is excellent. Our staff is heavily involved in every aspect of the accreditation process. They are passionate about doing the very best for each patient, client, and each other. Having an "outside" set of eyes evaluate our practice regularly is a reminder to the team they are exceptional and they are doing an excellent job. They also embrace feedback from the AAHA practice consultant on opportunities to continue to raise the bar. By involving them to such a degree, they are bought in, proud, and happy to shout from the rooftops their accomplishment. Accreditation fosters teamwork and a sense of pride.  

Red: How have clients reacted to you promoting your accreditation?  

WVH: Our clients are shocked to find out that in our state (Colorado) there is no mandatory inspection. Once they know that we voluntarily open our doors every 3 years for evaluation on over 900 standards of excellence in veterinary care, those clients become our biggest champions. The knowledge of the degree of effort our team goes to and what is involved in AAHA accreditation takes the strength of our bond to the next level.

Red: What are your next plans for celebrating your accreditation?

WVH: We are currently using social media (Facebook, website, Vet2Pet app) to help educate our clients about the investment our team has in their pet's care. We want to make sure every client has the opportunity to know what AAHA accreditation is and why it is important to them. They will tell they know we are different from other practices in the area. It is our mission to help them understand why.

What is your AAHA accreditation story? We’d love to hear why you chose to become and remain accredited and how you let your clients know that your practice goes above and beyond for their pets. Email us at [email protected] and your story could appear in the next issue of Red!

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About this Blog

Red is your guide to everything AAHA. Whether you’re looking for association news, updates on our educational offerings, the latest books from AAHA Press, deals from our Preferred Providers, or fun reads from various AAHA staff and AAHA-member veterinary professionals, this is where you’ll find it.

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