Facing compliance facts

Fritz Wood addresses the attendees of the Practice Success program held in Las Vegas Sept. 24–25. Photo by Boots Gifford.

The attendees at the Practice Success: Managing for Better Care program were faced with hard-hitting facts about compliance.

The meeting, held in Las Vegas Sept. 24–25, centered on AAHA’s compliance study, which showed that 21.5 million dog owners were either not giving their pets heartworm preventive medication at all or for the number of months recommended, along with other alarming facts. Discussions focused on these compliance issues and management strategies.

Dr. Robin Downing, a veterinarian from Windsor, Colo., described her experience using the compliance measurement tool.

“We thought we were doing (compliance) right, but we weren’t nearly as good as we thought,” she said. Rather than take the results as a condemnation of her practice, she said her team uses them as an incentive and guide to improve patient care. “Not one of us here gets up in the morning saying we want to achieve new levels of mediocrity,” she told the audience.

The solution to the compliance issue isn’t about gadgets and gimmicks, Downing said, but about value and vision. She stressed that the team needs to be aware of where the practice is headed.

Getting the practice team on board is key to success, said Shawn McVey, MA, MSW. Establishing specific, attainable and measurable goals reinforced by a rewards program can help guide employees to achieve the practice’s aims.

Fritz Wood, CFP, CPA, pointed out there is a “recommendation gap” between what the veterinarian says and what the client hears. “People remember 20 percent of what they hear, 40 percent of what they see, and 70 percent of what they hear and see,” he said, adding veterinary practices must make a concerted effort to deliver their messages.

Noting that compliance is a problem in human medicine as well, Dr. John Albers, AAHA executive director, said that in an American Heart Association survey, it was shown that if doctors could achieve an 85 percent compliance rate with their heart patients, an estimated 80,000 lives per year could be saved. Similarly, veterinary practices have tremendous potential for improving care by focusing on compliance.

Both the compliance study results and the compliance tool are available to download in the members only section of the AAHA website or can be purchased through AAHA Press.

AAHAs Pathways to Compliance workshops provide additional opportunities to learn what compliance means for your practice. Workshops will be held in 15 cities, beginning with Indianapolis, Ind., on Oct. 30, followed by Denver, Colo., on Nov. 5. A complete listing of workshop locations can be found on the Web.