Traveling Specialists: A Growth Opportunity for General Practices?

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Over the past 10 years, the availability of traveling surgeons, internal medicine and other specialists has been growing significantly. It is likely due to the supply of certain specialties starting to outgrow the ‘demand’ at specialty hospitals for these specialties – so boarded veterinarians are building practices with the support of general practices. We frequently receive questions from practice owners about how they can use, and how they should price, services from traveling specialists.

We encourage all our general practices to work with traveling specialists when it is medically appropriate – it is both better medicine and just good business to provide your clients more options. Providing the appropriate after-care is the critical medical concern that our general practices consider when presenting options.

From a business standpoint, offering a client a high-quality option, reliable client service and saving them from having to travel to a specialty hospital — is just good client service. We try to price these surgeries and other services at a ~15-20% discount to the local specialty hospital, because most general practices don’t have the same level of after-care. Some argue that, with a boarded specialist doing the procedure, why discount? –if you can offer 24×7 after-care. This may be an option for some practices.

When working with your traveling specialist, arranging multiple procedures (surgeries, ultrasounds, etc.) for each visit will create a win-win-win for the practice, the specialist and the clients. Your practice can prepare and staff for the specialist and make sure you are providing a great experience for the patient.

In today’s competitive veterinary services market, general practices need to ensure they are offering their clients high quality care and good value. With low cost spay/neuter clinics and high-end procedures going to specialists, finding clinically appropriate ways to keep revenues in-house is important to successfully growing your practice, and traveling specialists can be a a pivotal part of that equation.

About The Author

,
Founder & CEO

Rich founded VPP in 2011 and continues to lead the company as CEO. Drawing on a broad knowledge of industry issues and years of experience honing his business acumen at multiple healthcare-related firms, Rich is able to provide veterinary practice owners with a unique perspective on the issues they face and actionable recommendations for improving the performance of their practice and alleviating some of the stresses that come from practice ownership.

Contact: rlester@vetpartners.com

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