How one practice grew revenues, improved efficiency, and reduced staff stress with the Covetrus platform.

Practice Overview

Vale Park Animal Hospital, located in Valparaiso, Indiana, is a six-veterinarian practice specializing in small/companion animals. Despite being understaffed and overbooked as a result of the impacts of Covid-19, Vale Park Animal Hospital experienced remarkable returns from their decision to switch to the Covetrus Prescription Management (home delivery) platform at the beginning of 2021.

Starting with their deployment in January of 2021, and tracking through May 2021, Vale Park Animal Hospital has averaged roughly $60,000 in supplemental revenue per month through the Covetrus platform. Equally remarkable to their financial performance, the team at Vale Park has expressed significantly reduced stress levels, increased efficiency, and even stronger, more trusting relationships with their client base.

Why the Technology Was the Right Tool

In a forward-looking move, Vale Park recognized the value of online pharmacy platforms 10 years ago with the deployment of Covetrus Prescription Management (Vets First Choice, at the time). According to veterinarian and owner, Dr. Brent Lakia, the reason they sought out an online solution in the first place was, in a word, “acknowledgment.” Even a decade ago, Dr.Brent and team knew, “that was where the market and our clients were going.” The practice implemented the solution knowing an online, ondemand, shipped-to-their-front-door experience was what their clients would ultimately want. Vale Park also understood that, from a business standpoint, it would be a missed opportunity not to tap into the trend.

People and Process: The Missing Pieces

After five years using Covetrus’ platform, Vale Park explored an alternate solution, as performance was adequate but not wholly in line with expectations. However, problems with their new solution arose relatively quickly.

At a high level, the most significant issues included:

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Passive support and guidance from the provider

No success plan, no proactive deployment process, no marketing materials, and no best practice oriented advisory for performance.

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No pharmaceutical oversight

Orders were processed without provider-side review or automated workflows; the onus was entirely on the practice for accuracy and compliance.

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No price management automation

Product pricing did not move with the market; maintaining profit margins or competitive prices required manual updates for any supplier-side market shifts.

Dr. Brent explained, “We set it up and just kind of forgot about it. There wasn’t much of a plan on [the provider’s] part for us to roll it out.”

While the new platform itself was deployed in a hands-off manner, tasks like fulfilling orders and
managing prescriptions from other online retailers were very inefficiently hands-on. Multiple signature requests for the same prescription orders would happen on a daily basis. Orders would be entered correctly, but clients would receive the wrong dosages or versions of products. On high-volume client days, entering order data from the platform into the practice management software also became particularly time-consuming and stressful.

The breaking point ultimately came down to business performance. Running the numbers, Vale Park realized that they were losing money with every sale on some of the most popular products on their storefront.

 

 
a headshot of Dr.brent

“While we did have control [in the platform], the problem is prices and products change so frequently that if you’re not always paying attention, you’ll lose money on it.”

Dr.Brent - Veterinarian and Owner

Reflecting on the lack of price management automation in this other platform, Dr. Brent noted, “If you don’t keep up on it and check it weekly, you’re behind the eight ball.”

The Covetrus Difference

Facing the challenges that many practices experienced during Covid-19, including staffing shortages, by the end of 2020, Vale Park realized how much better the Covetrus Prescription Management Platform had suited their needs.

In particular, the advantages from the Covetrus solution they appreciated most were:

 
Automated prescription processes reduce duplicated efforts like multiple signatures required for new scripts or refills.
 

Workflow efficiency

 
Vale Park redeployed the Covetrus Platform with a defined launch plan, led by trusted experts who shared best-practices and the latest enhancements.
 

Support from people invested in their success

 
The Covetrus Platform adaptively adjusts product prices that are competitive with industry averages
 

Automatic price adjustment

 
The Platform includes timesaving integration capabilities with Vale Park’s practice management software.
 

Patient record writeback

 

Workflow efficiency

Automated prescription processes reduce duplicated efforts like multiple signatures required for new scripts or refills.
 

Support from people invested in their success

Vale Park redeployed the Covetrus Platform with a defined launch plan, led by trusted experts who shared best-practices and the latest enhancements.
 

Automatic price adjustment

The Covetrus Platform adaptively adjusts product prices that are competitive with industry averages
 

Patient record writeback

The Platform includes timesaving integration capabilities with Vale Park’s practice management software.

Deployed with promotional discounts at-the-ready, a well-vetted practice management software integration, and a tried-and-true marketing and communications program, clients took immediate notice and action. Vale Park identified at least 100 clients who hadn’t made any kind of purchase within the last year, who converted as a result of the relaunch.

Impact of Implementation on Practice Performance.*

gross sales line graph showing $174,637.79
orders placed line graph showing 970
Unique Clients with Orders line graph showing 953
Total RX written graph showing 1,651
practice initiated RX line graph showing 382
client initiated RX line graph showing 1,269

*January to May 2021

Sales quickly spiked from promotions, and performance has remained steadily higher than pre-implementation benchmarks. Business performance is better, and the quality of life for practice staff is better as well.

Vale Park’s prescription manager, Sarah Chatwell, highlights how her hardest days – being understaffed, overbooked, and processing overwhelming amounts of patient information – have changed, noting that “[the platform] takes a lot off us in the pharmacy.”

It’s a relief for me. It’s friendlier for us to use. It’s friendlier for the customer to use. And I’m not as stressed out anymore when I handle scripts.
Sarah Chatwell
Prescription Manager