COMPLIANCE is the willingness to follow a prescribed course of treatment.
In the ideal world:
- Each dog, cat and rabbit should have a regime for vaccinations, flea care and worming.
- Dogs and cats should have a microchip and be insured.
- If the dog is over seven years old, it should have a regular health screen blood test.
- Furthermore, certain drug courses are long term and therefore once the course is started, then it should be continued indefinitely. This applies to large animal and equine practices as well as small animal.
In your practice, do you know:
- What percentage of your clients is compliant with these regimes?
- What percentage of clients stick to the regimes once started?
- What the value of sales the compliant clients generate each year?
- What the effect of increasing the compliance percentages would have on your value of sales?
- How to target all of the clients who are non-compliant for specific regimes so that mail merges can be generated?
- How to know when a client is noncompliant on specific regimes so that when he or she visits the surgery the specific treatments can be discussed and therefore increase compliance?
There is an untapped source of revenue to be gained by increasing your clients’ compliance. However, without a sophisticated computer system to answer all the above questions, it would be near impossible to achieve.
We have performed some basic compliance reports on two different practices and have found quite a variation. The two examples shown are from two different practices from different areas. We used these particular practices’ data because we thought they were efficient and well managed.
The rules were all chosen so that the patient had to have been seen by the surgery in the past 18 months. This then eliminated the low activity clients and kept the statistics to the active clients.
In the graph for the “rural practice” it shows 56% compliance on dog vaccines. This means that 44% of the clients with dogs who had been to the surgery in the last 18 months had never had a dog vaccine from them! What are the reasons?
Has anyone ever asked why the client chooses not to have his or her dog vaccinated? If the 44% of non-compliant patients were to all have a dog vaccine, then the additional income to the surgery would be £18,000.
This potential earnings figure uses the actual sales of that particular regime for the last 12 months, then extrapolates it to give the estimated sales per year.
This feature is useful as you can see in the rabbit vaccines graph that even increasing compliance to 100% would have only a small increase in turnover. You will therefore be able to target the regimes that will have maximum potential increase in turnover.
On the “rural practice” graph increasing cat vaccines, dog vaccines and dog wormers to 100% compliance would result in an additional £50,000 a year income!
You may still wish to target the rabbit vaccines because of the stress caused when a child’s pet rabbit dies of VHD.
The compliance percentage for the dog vaccines is similar at both the “rural” and “urban” practice; however, many of the other regimes are lower at the “urban” practice. I think the reasons for the variations could be the subject of some healthy discussion.
It may be that there is a promotional poster at one practice or a more enthusiastic receptionist. Perhaps there are more low cost alternatives for the clients of the “urban practice”.
In the instance of the rabbit vaccines, VHD was initially more prevalent in the south-west and therefore preventive vaccines more important. The flea and wormer preventions are now available from a host of other sources: are the clients buying on-line? If you had your own web-shop presence, would they buy from you?
So what can be done to increase compliance?
- The first thing is to decide which regimes you wish to use. Better to start with the basics and then add the others such as pre-anaesthetic blood testing, geriatric health screening, etc., at a later date.
- You then need to be aware of the actual compliance percentages for the various regimes.
- The regimes to be targeted should be then chosen and the various promotion options considered.
- A pop-up on the animal’s record will prompt staff that an animal is not compliant on one or several regimes. The staff will then need to be trained to discuss the non-compliance with the client.
- You can use information sheets which explain all about the importance of a specific regime, personalised for each client and given to them. The clients are quite likely to visit the practice as you have previously only selected “active” clients. However, the warning is only given when you access the client’s record.
- You can target non-compliant clients in bulk mail-merge letters, e-mail or SMS. You could send out a personalised information sheet explaining the importance of being compliant.
- You can also improve your recall procedures by adding recalls on wormers and flea care products. You can then send out reminders via letter, e-mail or SMS in the same way that you send out the reminders for the dog and cat vaccines. E-mail reminders could direct them to a “web shop” that you hosted so that the client could order the respective products and hopefully additional products that are available in the shop.
- You could introduce an incentive scheme which rewarded the client in some way for being fully compliant in all your relevant regimes.
- Should the client not wish to have any advice given, then you could mark this against the client record and this will prevent the warnings from appearing.
- After a period of a couple of months, monitor your compliance performance and compare it with the original figures. You should then see the improvements!
- You can then introduce further recommendations such as geriatric dog screening, regular dental check-ups, wellness consultations.
- Mail-shots via mail, e-mail and SMS could target the clients who fall into the additional recommendations group. They could be given the added convenience of being able to book their own appointment on-line. Whilst on line they could browse your web-shop for any products which would be ready to collect at the surgery when they called for their appointment.
- After a further period of a couple of months, monitor your compliance performance and compare it with the original figures. You should then see the further improvements. And the nice thing about improved compliance, apart from the increased profit that is, is that your clients’ animals are healthier!