Laboratory Ratios: Educate Them, and They Will Authorize

We all know that doing bloodwork is important, but some veterinarians say their clients don’t value it. While the AAHA State of the Industry Report states that only 30% of clients authorize routine bloodwork for their pets, a whopping 80% said they would authorize that same work if they understood its importance.

Top-performing practices use key performance indicators (KPIs) called quality-of-care ratios to measure and improve both quality of patient care and financial health.

Understanding the lab quality-of-care ratio can help you educate your clients on the importance of lab work.

Analyzing the Lab Ratio

When AAHA’s VMG groups calculate the lab quality-of-care ratio, they include labs like fecals, UAs, heartworm tests, ear cytologies, FIV/FeLV, and bloodwork.

Almost every time you see a patient, you should perform at least one of these labs. Labs are an important part of preventive medicine—they can help you control parasites, treat Lyme disease, and catch conditions like thyroid and kidney insufficiency early so you can slow their progression. And because every patient older than seven shows signs of becoming geriatric, running both senior and nonsenior bloodwork gives you a baseline so you can anticipate problems before they happen.

Once you know your lab quality-of-care ratio, it’s easy to improve it.

Develop protocols and recommendations for:

  • Regular lab screenings. Do an annual fecal and a heartworm test, for example.
  • Surgical screenings. Do this pre- and postsurgery.
  • Completing geriatric screenings before a patient’s geriatric years. Require one screening per year to monitor a pet’s condition.
  • Conducting annual or biannual bloodwork. This is especially important for patients on long-term, chronic medication.
  • Training your team. Teach them that client education is important, and reinforce the importance of exams and bloodwork.
  • Decreasing costs. Start with lowering outside lab costs, then lower the costs of inside lab supplies.
  • And, most importantly, for doublechecking your entry system. One recent statistic suggested that if practices caught all of their missed charges, they would increase their gross revenue by 10%!

After you’ve taken these steps, don’t stop there. Play devil’s advocate with your own protocols and processes and look for room to keep improving your lab quality-of-care ratio.

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