The 2024 trends survey – An overview of our insights

By Nimita Smyth

11 April 2024 5 min read


Towards the end of last year, we asked you about your challenges within the veterinary industry, your opportunities for the year ahead and what you think are they key trends within the industry. 

After reviewing and analysing the results, we’re able to provide you with some insights to help you make your practice more forward thinking and ready for the year ahead. 

Your challenges

We identified your top 3 challenges as:

  1. Economic climate and cost of living
  2. Staff burnout and mental health
  3. Payment and financing

These challenges seem to be the same year on year and are interlinked. Many of you discuss how factors such as Covid and Brexit are still having a knock-on effect on costs of equipment and medication. The rise in pet parents from the pandemic hasn’t helped matters. Cost issues have caused burnout due to the increased workload and in turn, factors such as recruitment and training are negatively affected too. It’s a well-known fact that pet parents are struggling to finance their pets, leading to pressures and heightened emotions.

Ways to help

Unfortunately we can’t control the economy, but there are areas within your Practice Management System (PMS) that can help with managing pet parents finances and a better running of your practice. 

The first step is to integrate payment and finance options within your practice. Pet plans can help you gain a stronger connection with your clients, educating them on costs and savings. They can also guarantee you a revenue stream taking away any stresses around invoicing and balancing the books. 

Your clients can also learn the importance of continued pet care, especially preventative healthcare before conditions become complex, untreatable or chronic. 

Communication is a huge aspect. Although it can seem like a timely task, there are ways within your PMS which can allow you to send emails, text and pictures to pet parents to build a stronger bond with them. We identified that there is a huge lack of education with pet parents, particularly around how much products and services cost. Some of you mentioned, as NHS healthcare is free to use, as a nation we’re not exposed to costs such as consultancy fees, medications, consumables, room hire etc. There were also discussions about lack of knowledge for pet parents on how to look after their pets. Sending educational email and posting on social media can position your practice as credible (when done right).

Your trends

We loved hearing about the core things you will be focusing on for your year ahead. The first being staff retention. Training staff was identified as one of the biggest focus areas, aiming to help keep staff motivated, fulfilled and happy. 

Part of the onboarding process when becoming one of our customers is gaining access to our Covetrus Learning Platform – designed to give customers choice and control when upskilling and refreshing knowledge on your PMS. If you’d like to know more, click here.

Financing was identified as a core challenge, and it was great reading about how some of you were going to tackle it – by setting up a financial system to ease the pressures on practice staff. This isn’t just based on pet plans but also taking and receiving payments within your practice management system and also integrating with insurance companies to easily submit claims. 

Many of your also spoke about actioning better communication. This isn’t just communication on educating pet parents, but small details like appointment reminders and communicating practice opening hours. These small things can make a difference.

Your technology wants and needs

The final element we analysed was all about what you need from a practice management system. Here is a brief summary of what we found:

Most of your mentioned that having mobile access as part of your PMS would help with work-life balance, especially of those staff members who could benefit from working remotely. This would also help morale and productivity, leading to happier, more dedicated staff members. 

As discussed earlier, looking for further ways to improve payment and financing including ways to reverse payments if needed, which would help relive administrative tasks, help accurately balance tills and provide your clients with credit notes where required. 

AI and Telemedicine were also popular concepts and one that is being discussed more and more each day. Whether this is a video call before a pet parent comes into practice, or using AI to send messages to a person, you identified that these methods are a good starting point.

Finally, stock and prescription management. We know that stock is likely to be one of your biggest expenses and if lost track of, can have a huge knock-on effect to a practice from a revenue perspective. Fortunately within our software solutions, we have way to help keep track of this. 

Looking to find out more? Read the full report here.