Looking for ways to help spread the word about the importance of AAHA accreditation? According to Adam Hechko, DVM, member of the AAHA Board of Directors and owner of AAHA-accredited North Royalton Animal Hospital in North Royalton, Ohio, it’s all in the cobranding.

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.

We recently asked Hechko how cobranding with AAHA has helped to guide his practice’s mission and vision—and increase accreditation awareness along the way.

Trends: North Royalton Animal Hospital has been accredited since 2012. Why is it important to you that clients realize you are accredited? What benefits has AAHA Accreditation brought to your practice?

Adam Hechko: AAHA has been a road map that guided North Royalton Animal Hospital from a single doctor practice to a four-doctor, state-of-the-art facility. AAHA accreditation is synonymous with quality and our clients have come to expect the finest in care and service from our team. AAHA accreditation has supported and reinforced our beliefs in the standards of the best care and service we provide our clients.

Trends: North Royalton was also named the AAHA-Accredited Practice of the Year in 2015. How has this impacted your practice? Has this achievement helped increase awareness about AAHA accreditation in your community?

AH: Becoming the AAHA-Accredited Practice of the Year has increased our team’s commitment to the high standards we strive for each day. It has driven us to take it a step further by explaining to everyone who calls or walks through our doors how we practice our standards of medicine. Our existing clients are proud to be a part of this hospital. They love to brag about how they tell their family and friends about accreditation. New clients have joined our practice seeking the care and standards AAHA has set, and many clients have chosen us over the past year simply because of the AAHA-Accredited Practice of the Year award.

Trends: How do you make accreditation meaningful to your clients and the community?

AH: Cobranding has become an important part of our practice’s marketing and philosophy. The recognition of our logo alongside the AAHA logo brings awareness to our clients on what we both strive for and helps support the meaning of quality medicine and service. We display the AAHA logo proudly alongside our practice logo during the several events we host each year for the community. We estimate this reaches about 3,000 community members yearly.

Trends: Have you had clients come to you because you are an AAHA-accredited hospital?

AH: Absolutely! Our staff takes great pride in explaining to clients or potential clients why it is an honor and a privilege that we are the 2015 AAHA-Accredited Practice of the Year.

Trends: Which AAHA tools or resources have you found to be most helpful in promoting your accreditation?

AH: In general, the AAHA website is a wealth of information, which guides our practice with association news and educational offerings.

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

AH: Our message about AAHA accreditation is most apparent when clients prepare to move. Many contact us to ask how to find an accredited hospital. This proactive approach from our clients shows they have a clear understanding of what it means to be AAHA accredited. Often, our staff will log on to the AAHA website during appointments to show clients how to use the AAHA-Accredited Hospital Locator tool. The team member will even print out the list for the client to take home. We are confident that by referring to colleagues that are accredited, we ensure the pets will continue to receive the best standard of care.

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

AH: We are excited to enhance the level of care and service we provide to our patients and clients with the Fear Free Certification Program.

(Editor’s note: The Fear Free Certification Program is a new educational course on VetFolio that will teach veterinary professionals how to use Fear Free methods and protocols to reduce fear, anxiety, and stress in pets and create a safer, more rewarding experience for patients, clients, and veterinary teams. To learn more or register, visit fearfreepets.com.)

Trends: What motivated you to become more involved with AAHA and serve on its Board of Directors?

AH: I was motivated to inspire more clinics to establish and maintain the highest standard of care for their team members, clients, patients, and the community while renewing enthusiasm for current members. AAHA has provided me with infinite knowledge to assist other practices to grow and promote exceptional veterinary medicine. Being on the Board of Directors presents me the opportunity to help AAHA continue to be the forefront and leading edge of veterinary medicine while providing the best for every pet and family. 

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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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