20 years of change in veterinary medicine

In celebration of AAHA MARKETLink’s 20th anniversary, we looked at changes in veterinary medicine since 1996.

Once upon a time, phones were just phones. Buyers spent a lot more time calling around to get best prices or other information needed to get their work done.

Consider these five reasons things have changed so much:

  1. The creation of the internet and its widespread use
  2. High-speed access to the internet (less about the speed and more about constant access, rather than having to ration minutes)
  3. The creation and widespread use of powerful mobile devices (phones now equal tiny computers)
  4. The creation and widespread use of social media venues
  5. Growth in digital veterinary diagnostic and other digital tools for daily practice

Changes in inventory processes. In daily practice, these technology changes mean spending much less time calling around to check prices on inventory items or to place orders. Veterinary teams also likely receive fewer in-bound vendor calls about specials on inventory items. While checking prices and placing orders online should be more efficient, it isn’t perfect since not all vendor websites are created equal. Sometimes it can be easy to get lost many clicks deep into a site or hard to compare apples to apples.

Changes in client communication. Growth in these technologies also means that veterinary teams likely receive fewer phone calls from veterinary clients as more now prefer to arrange appointments and to exchange information in other ways such as email, text messages, and app tools. It’s important to know each client’s preferred route of communication for different situations.

Clients also have much more access to information and veterinary-related products online than ever before. Veterinary practices are no longer the sole or primary source of advice and no longer the sole place to get certain pet products. The accuracy and safety of the information and products clients can now access is greater a challenge than it was 20 years ago, giving rise to the derisive term “Dr. Google.”

Changes in feedback. Thanks (or no thanks) to the rise of social media venues and review sites online, the feedback loop is wildly different than it once was. Rather than simply dealing with critical feedback one-on-one in person or on the phone, veterinary practices are much more likely now to field comments in a virtual public setting.

Changes in expectations. Our collective use of technology, which makes us “always on,” has also shortened timeline expectations. We demand much faster responses and delivery of just about everything. So, if you’re sensing a greater impatience among your team and clients, that’s why.

Here to help. Technology is so much a part of everyday life that it’s hard to remember how things used to be. Whatever comes, AAHA MARKETLink will be here to help you.

In November 2016, AAHA MARKETLink celebrated 20 years of serving the veterinary profession through strategic support, collaborative education, and exclusive programs. As we head into the next 20 years, be sure that we will always be planning new ways for AAHA MARKETLink to give you a greater advantage. Look for a new program coming early in 2017.

This content was provided by AAHA MARKETLink/MWI Animal Health.

Photo credit: © iStock/Pekic

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