GLENDALE, Calif., Sept. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The quality of the technology to keep pets alive is increasing; however, so are the amount of malpractice lawsuits. According to a survey done by DVM Newsmagazine, the number of complaints against veterinarians rose by 14% between 2005 and 2007. (1) Additionally, Kevin Wilson, CEO of practice management consulting company Sterling Management notes that many veterinarians are worried about losing money to patients purchasing pet medication online, adding that these two major concerns stem from the same root: improper practice management.
It is estimated that $14.39 billion will be spent on pet supplies and medication in 2015 (2), with the average medical costs per dog per year being $356 and $190 per year per cat, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. (3) Because so much money is spent on pet health per year, many Americans are turning to online sources to purchase pet medication in order to save money. However, according to Consumer Reports, two-thirds of pet medications are still purchased through veterinarians. (4)
"Rather than blaming the ability for clients to purchase pet medication online for declining revenues, the more proactive choice is to look internally and see what the veterinarian can do to boost their practice," says Wilson. "Instead of worrying about someone 'stealing' sales by online marketing, the veterinarian can and should introspect on their own marketing campaigns. What are they doing to encourage business?"
Veterinary malpractice lawsuits are a relatively new phenomenon. In 2004, Marc Bluestone set a new precedent when he was awarded $39,000 for the loss of his dog due to seizure complications. $30,000 of the total sum was awarded to cover the "unique value" of the dog. (5) Wilson points out that oftentimes practices are leaving themselves open to potential lawsuits due to lack of proper practice management.
"In our experience, we've found that veterinarians are so concerned about a potential lawsuit that they fail to correct the processes that will help their business thrive," says Wilson. Per Wilson, putting in the proper legal rudiments and catastrophe planning will go a long way in protecting a practice from a potential lawsuit.
During Sterling Management's three decades of consulting, Wilson has continuously observed the following pain points in veterinary practices:
· Finding Good Staff - The ability to hire good staff is the first step in the success of a veterinary practice. Wilson notes that there are many factors that go into making sure the staff one hires is qualified to begin with, many of which go overlooked.
· Staff Performance - Once hiring is complete, veterinarians must continuously ensure that the performance of staff is up to par. "A rude staff member or a sloppy staff member can cause client dissatisfaction," says Wilson. Staff members who perform well at their jobs make all the difference.
· Staff Training – Wilson stresses the importance of making sure the staff is adequately trained to perform their jobs, and that they continue to get enhancement as needed. "A well-oiled team that knows what they are doing is a team that is less likely to make mistakes," says Wilson.
Wilson has found that there is a dearth of business management skill when it comes to running a veterinary practice. Sterling Management provides the financial knowledge and procedures dependent upon good business management. Sterling Management specializes in guiding veterinarians through personnel issues to reduce costly turnover and increase office productivity and morale. Additionally, Sterling Management provides practice management solutions in all areas including finance, marketing, organizing for efficiency, sales, establishment and manager training. For more information about Sterling Management, visit www.sterling.us.
Founded in 1983, Sterling has been the dominant player in the practice management consulting field for over three decades. By survey, active Sterling clients see a 10 to 20 percent increase in production in the first four to six months and a 30 to 40 percent increase in the first year. Sterling CEO Kevin Wilson is not only a highly trained administrator and consultant; he has published the widely read human resources book, Personnel: Your Most Valuable Resource or Greatest Burden. All told, Sterling has delivered over 500,000 hours of business consulting and achieved more than 135,000 training completions among 175,000 business professionals from 1,700 cities in every state in the nation. The company has won more than 75 local, national and international awards including twice appearing on the Inc. 500 list of America's fastest-growing, privately-held companies. For more information, visit www.Sterling.us.
1. Aleccia, JoNel. "When Vets Make Mistakes, Pets Pay the Price"; NBC News; February 10, 2010. nbcnews.com/id/35286379/ns/health-pet_health/t/when-vets-make-mistakes-pets-pay-price/#.VfoflBFViko
2. "Pet Industry Market Size & Ownership Statistics"; American Pet Products Association. americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp
3. McWhinney, James E. "The Economics of Pet Ownership"; Investopedia. investopedia.com/articles/pf/06/peteconomics.asp
4. Mayer, Caroline. "5 Ways to Pay Less for Pet Medications"; Forbes; October 3, 2012. forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2012/10/03/5-ways-to-pay-less-for-pet-medications/
5. Feltz, Mark and Feltz, Monica. "A Brief History of Veterinary Malpractice"; V Network Blog; June 6, 2012. vetnetwork.com/blog/2012/06/a-brief-history-of-veterinary-malpractice-part-2-of-a-3-part-series-about-veterinary-malpractice/
Karla Jo Helms
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SOURCE Sterling Management