To the Batmobile! : A data adventure on the road


It was a few weeks ago now that I had the distinct pleasure of riding sidecar alongside Sally Jackson, my dear friend, colleague, and our VetSuccess National Accounts Manager. Together with our pal David*, Key Account Manager for our industry partner Elanco, we formed a merry band of data revelry, seeking to spread joy and insights to the folks we met along our way.

From the front seat of that mercifully air-conditioned car, I learned more than a thing or two about exceptional customer service from Sal and Dave. Sally even taught me a gem from the world-class training program, the Ritz Carlton Experience. “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen,” she smiled, and I think the message is just perfect. Kind, gracious, generous, and always thinking ahead to what our clients may need next. In a way, it’s emblematic of VetSuccess’ commitment to innovation, and to creating a warm, inviting relationship with our members and their data.

Yes, if you can believe it, that’s a big part of our mission: to create friendly relationships between our members and their data.

All the stories that follow are real, only their names and places have been changed or redacted or made into pop culture references—to protect their privacy, and to add just a hint of sparkle. Without further ado, here’s our festive cast of characters:

Claire and Rich, The Young & The Restless

Claire and Rich are the quintessential young modernizing couple. Attractive, bright, and ambitious, they took over the practice from Claire’s dad this year, and have been working hard ever since to give it their own special love and attention. It hasn’t always been easy, and Claire is candid about some of the struggles she’s had with previous ownership.

“We had a famous blow-up that’s gone down in history as the ‘toilet paper battle’,” she said. “We tried to make too many changes too quickly.”

Nonetheless, they pressed on, eventually buying the practice outright, and worked quickly to convert it from a largely specialty practice into a come-one-come-all general practice. The numbers—helpfully provided by VetSuccess reports—prove them out: they’ve seen a 37% increase since they took over.

“That’s crazy,” Claire remarked, with a kind of overwhelmed excitement and fatigue that you’d expect from a young couple whose work is all-consuming. They were delighted, encouraged, and motivated by their VetSuccess reports. “My dad was skeptical, but the numbers are proving us right,” Claire said confidently. “Now, tell me what to do next.”

With their Parasiticide Action Report, Claire and Rich could very clearly see their opportunities: their Parasiticide Revenue Per Active Patient, a flagship VetSuccess benchmark that measures patient compliance, education, and coverage, was in the lowest quartile. Working together with their Elanco Key Account Manager on dispensing programs and special offers for clients, they’ll boost both their pet parasiticide coverage and their bottom line, a win-win solution.

The reports showed them both that they were doing well, and how they could do even better. For me personally, it was exciting to see the VetSuccess mission to help practices be even more successful, in action.

Dan the Data Explorer

In from the hot, hot heat of one-hundred degrees Fahrenheit sailed Dan, veterinary practice owner and manager with his DVM partner and wife. Dan’s a data explorer, and his ships have sailed more than one or two data streams in their lifetime: average transaction, average transaction cost, number of transactions, number of clients per day, accounts receivable, accounts payable, cash flow, production numbers…the works. With a side career in parallel on the go, Dan’s time is short and his demand for solutions is high.

Dan had a problem.

Everything is down over the last four weeks. Because Dan is a data explorer, he considered the possibility of a correlation with the average daily temperature: that is to say, when the heat is rising, his revenue is falling. We could see the revenue trend mirrored in his Active Patients: his active patients took a big dive in August. His Lapsing Patients chart confirmed the same: the number of his lapsing patients per month used to be around 15—now it’s closer to 55.

He needed to do something about his outflowing tide of lapsing patients. Fortunately, our team had a solution. VetSuccess is proud to be in beta testing of a new lapsing patient email reminder program called RETRIEVER. It sends emails to lapsing clients at 14, 16, and 18 months since their last visit to the practice, and it’s been showing some very early promise.

In partnership with his Elanco Key Account Manager, Dan was able to participate in the beta test—and we’re all eagerly awaiting the results.

Dr. George Jetson and Astro

The space theme seemed appropriate since Dr. George’s work in the community has clearly been out-of-this-world. This last story isn’t about practice data, however, and it isn’t about reports. It’s about what they contribute to, which is the highest possible quality of care for furry friends and the pet owners who love them.

We had a long and lovely dinner with Dr. George, during which we discussed all manner of data nerdery, including key performance indicators, average percentage of emails on file, and fantasy sports leagues. As we were saying our goodbyes, a woman approached our semi-circle and interrupted our departure.

“Astro is my baby,” she said, giving Dr. George an emotional hug. “And Dr. George saved his life.”

She told us Astro’s story: he was attacked, and when she found him he was covered in blood and weighed only 14 pounds. Her 95 year-old father drove her and the pup to the clinic, and even though they said Dr. George wasn’t available, “I insisted,” she said. He made himself available, performed the surgery, and Astro was saved.

“And then he called me,” she said, “he called me to tell me Astro was okay. How often does that happen?”

She continued: “I’m a doctor too, a human doctor. I’m a pathologist who went to all kinds of Ivy League schools…and I’ve never met a doctor as amazing as he is.” She was overwhelmed and tremendously grateful for what Dr. George did for her dog, and awestruck by the care and service she received.

It was a moment of reflection for me, for all of us. It reminded me that the work that we do—crunching numbers and creating reports and building solutions—it isn’t just about the bottom line. Together with our veterinary partners and industry friends, we’re helping veterinarians and their teams save time, money, and energy, so that they can get back to the important work of taking the best possible care of pets and the people who love them. And, when called upon, even saving their patients’ lives.

We aren’t just doing data-driven work, it’s really values-driven—together. And that’s something to be proud of.

With deep respect for our veterinarian friends and their caring, committed teams.

Kevin Keystone

Resident Anthropologist Adventurer
Director of Product Development and Delivery
Head of VetSuccess Alpha — leading the pack in innovation

*All of the places in the article have been redacted to protect the privacy of our friends and their practices; likewise, except for mine and Sally’s, names have also been changed.