If you are keen to see our top 10 trends in 2022 for veterinary practices summarised visually, you can download our infographic above and share it with your network.
1. Technology continues to dominate
From scribes to telemedicine, powerful AI and imaging technology to practice management systems – technology is being adopted more than ever. Where vets are using every minute and hour of the day to see to surging (and continued) demand, optimising efficiency and effectiveness has been called for. Whether it’s to assist roles or replace a function, technology goes a long way in helping manage day-to-day demands, as well as reducing contact risk from COVID-19, saving time, and streamlining workflows. Watch our video with key influencers on how they use technology.
Clint Yudelman, Director & Small Animal Medicine Specialist at Insight Mobile Veterinary Diagnostics shared his thoughts on the biggest technology trend,
One of the biggest trends we are seeing in the veterinary industry is the digitalisation of clinical pathology. This has been brought on by the COVID pandemic restrictions leading to more working from home. This led to fast tracking and implementation of technology whereby clinics can now scan in cytology slides in house and images can be uploaded and sent to pathology networks worldwide for rapid results. The in clinic technology is incomparable to what the big path labs are doing in house. The principle is the same but the quality of the image is exceptional with both cytology and histopathology capabilities.
2. Client acquisition is a priority
Despite the pandemic fuelling a huge surge in demand, according to a key report by CM Research Ltd, COVID-19 Global Pandemic impact on the veterinary industry (January 2021), over 60% of clinics are still focused on attracting new clients and engaging existing clients. This means your clinic communication, marketing and promotional efforts should be invested in. You can unlock marketing resources here.
3. Digital communication is more flexible
With social distancing measures in the way and still continuing in 2022, channels like email and phone have grown in importance for communicating with clients. Over 52% in Australia, New Zealand and Oceania do more email than before COVID-19 and 64% communicate via phone more than before.
4. Consumers want to spend more
In Australia, the pandemic resulted in 1.9 million extra pets. Dog owners alone spent $20.5 billion on their pets. These days, most pet parents see their pets as their children, have increased loyalty and are willing to spend more on their pets. Your clinic should use this as an opportunity to promote more services such as Wellness Plans.
5. Wellness plans for consumers
Pet wellness has grown to an estimated US$50 billion market. Modern pet parents are serious about wellness, and that means delivering the right medicine, services and products at the right price and the right time. For vet clinics looking to stand out from the competition, it means modernising and offering pet-health care or wellness plans that suits consumers expectations and budgets. Tech-driven wellness plans deliver exceptional experiences and it helps to drive better practice and patient health. Check out our Wellness Plans guide on how you can incorporate these into your clinic.
6. Clinic prices remain similar
Key findings in research report, COVID-19 Global Pandemic impact on the veterinary industry (January 2021) by CM Research Ltd, confirm that for clinics across the world, most of them show that between 60-80%, clinic prices have stayed the same. This indicates many clinics have chosen to absorb the price hikes themselves and take a margin hit, rather than transferring the cost over to clients. By using Wellness Plans, you can comfortably raise your prices, increase revenue and maintain affordability plans for customers.
7. Continued Professional Development and training are expected from staff
Accountable clinics cater to the importance of employee satisfaction, professional development, motivation, happiness and retention. In our interview with Kay Ritchie on creating an attractive workplace and with Dr Nadine Hamilton on a mentally healthy workplace, they outline the key factors to success. Failing to attend to your staff’s needs risks a lower retention rate and high turnover as well as a diminished brand reputation around leadership and management.
8. Employee well-being is put to the forefront
We’ve been confronted with challenges never-seen-before in history. Mental health charities such as VetLife in the UK saw unprecedented numbers in their helpline calls or outreach for help in 2021. This is good and bad news. It means people are reaching out, but the fact that significant numbers are more stressed, burned out and overworked isn’t ideal. The upside is that industry bodies such as the Royal College for Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), advocates, charities and companies have prioritised this to raise awareness and manage it better amongst clinics and through better leadership and staff management. Watch our webinar with Dr Nadine Hamilton at Love Your Pet, Love Your Vet.
Mark Kelman, Director at Paws for a Purpose comments on employee well-being alongside the shortage of veterinary staff,
The biggest trend for 2022 will unfortunately be the shortage of veterinary staff, both vets and nurses. This is not a new issue, however this is accelerating for numerous reasons, and amplified by COVID. This will put additional pressure on current staff, however will also lead to much-needed wage increases (and corresponding pricing increases for services) as veterinary clinics try to help maintain semblance of work-life-balance for existing staff. Note to vet staff – you need to ask for the pay rises or you will not get them! As painful as this transition will be for the vet profession and for pet owners, it will be the beginning of a new era with increased specialisation and new services being created to help manage the changing environment.
9. Future aspirations are changing
On a personal and professional career level, many respondents in the key report, COVID-19 Global Pandemic impact on the veterinary industry (January 2021) by CM Research Ltd, showed that as many as 27% intend to reduce their hours or become freelancers/locum in the future. The global vet shortage and increased pressure on vets have meant more stress, burnout and general levels of dissatisfaction. Clinics are becoming more mindful, leadership and management are doing more to retain job satisfaction, reduce turnover and better manage staff wellbeing and performance. Our interview with Kay Ritchie provides you with advice and tips on a healthier workplace and guidance on hiring practices. Sue Crampton from Covetrus’s Crampton Consulting Group adds,
Focusing on employee growth and development is essential for a more cohesive and motivated team. Setting development goals and opening pathways for employee growth to align their needs with the needs of your practice will lead to happy, motivated employees and a more harmonious practice.
Moreover, Lindsay Evans, Veterinary Learning and Development Manager from Greencross Vets shares her perspective,
With the increased demand from clients and employers, I think this will translate into veterinary professionals valuing themselves, their time, professional expertise and experience more. This will lead to increased confidence around the value of veterinary care, a resetting of expectations on availability and looking at how we can automate or delegate more tasks. For employers, having team members who value themselves more means they will need to work hard not just in recruiting new team members, but in looking after their current teams and providing a clear value proposition, that is flexible, responsive to a range of needs and personalised to each team member, such as tailored continued education plans. Alongside this, there will be an increased focus on keeping the team healthy through mental health and wellness initiatives such as mental health first aiders and EAPs.
All of these changes will require the profession to be adaptable, to reimagine workflows and enable our clients and patients to access the services and care they expect and need. While tools like telehealth, asynchronous communication and AI will all have their role, they will need to be user friendly, easily connecting and integrating with current critical systems and processes.
10. Clinics in major economies expand to meet demand
Clinics across the globe in major economies plan to recruit more staff to meet continued demand (between 30-50% are hiring more staff). COVID-19 might become an endemic soon but demand will continue with regions reporting millions of extra pets in households and the need for more staff. Beyond salary and location, and in line with employee expectations; your clinic should look to emphasise job ads and clinic culture in the best light possible. You can find top tips here.