Survey reveals common barriers to veterinary practice changes

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In last week’s post, I shared the results of a survey we recently conducted among 112 practice managers and owners. If you read it, you may recall that our goal was to better understand the relationship you and your fellow veterinary professionals have with your data. You may also recall us sharing that 89.5% of respondents have implemented changes based on their practice data.

As pleased as we were to learn that the vast majority of you are putting your practice data to good use, our mission to help veterinary professionals fully optimize data insights is never-ending. And so, we dug deep to learn which, if any, obstacles might be blocking you from taking action on your data. What did we learn?

60.5% of respondents say time interferes with their ability to analyze practice data

One respondent said, “we’re so busy seeing patients, there’s never enough time to work on the business.” Another commented, “it’s hard finding the time to share practice data with staff and actually implement changes.” When asked about their three biggest, ongoing daily challenges, yet another practice responded, “time, time and time.”

We get it. In order to get value from your data, you need to pull the reports from your system, analyze them, and review them with other members of your management team. Once you’ve done that, you need to determine what changes you can make to your practice based on your findings, and actually implement them. To implement changes effectively, you need to educate your staff. And of course, you need to learn how to understand your data reports before you can tackle any of the above.

It’s a tall and time-consuming order, especially for practice managers and owners who wear multiple hats. Still, it’s essential to the long-term health of your practice. Below are a couple of must-reads to help you make time for your practice data.

For Practice Managers: Four Steps Towards a More Manageable Workload

“While dedication and work ethic tell us we need to do it all, I’m here to tell you that you can’t, or at least, you can’t without compromising your personal well-being, and jeopardizing the future success of your practice.” Read More

Lighten Your Workload – 3 Steps to Help You Delegate Effectively

Whether you choose to empower your team, delegate tasks to specific individuals or teams, or establish new practice roles and opportunities for advancement, these four keys to success apply. Read More


Some expressed concerns around the quality of their practice data

One survey respondent said that getting staff members to participate in data input is a real challenge. Another shared concerns around whether or not their practice data is actually accurate. Data output is 100% tied to data input. If you want quality data, you need the full cooperation of your staff. To achieve this, you need to engage them in the success of your practice. Keep in mind that they’re employees – not owners or managers – and to them, success isn’t about profitability; it’s about patient care.

These two posts offer suggestions that will help you engage your employees in your practice’s success:

Conducting Productive Staff Meetings Using Your Practice Overview Report

Your monthly Practice Overview Report (POR) is the perfect framework for putting together a consistent staff meeting that is focused, leads to good discussion, and in most cases gets the staff pumped up about reaching new heights of success. Read More

Using VetSuccess Reports to Inspire and Engage Your Team

We know employees are motivated more by why they do what they do rather than the revenue of the hospital. Often as leaders in the hospital, we show the team a bunch of graphs and financial percentages that really don’t mean much to them. Read More


Once you have your employees on board, you’ll need to educate them on the importance of accurate data entry. Notwithstanding its quirky title, this post delivers some essential tips:

Vampire Dogs, Time-Traveling Cats, and the Importance of Tidy Data

Avoid putting data where it doesn’t belong. Use standard and agreed-upon formats for dates, phone numbers, and addresses. If you don’t know the value of an unrequired field and don’t have a useful estimate, the best data is no data. Read More


Martin Traub-Warner, VetSuccess founder, has also written a series of posts that explore the importance of minimizing practice code debt. Practice code debt is a concept in veterinary practice management that “reflects the extra work that arises when practice management codes, that are easy to implement in the short run, are used instead of applying the best overall solution.” To better understand the importance of data accuracy, you may want to give these a read, too:

Minimizing Practice Code Debt: Part 1

“I started anecdotally asking Practice Owners and Managers the following question: ‘How many of you, when you create a new transaction code in your practice management system take the time to inactivate codes that you’re no longer using?’” Read More

Minimizing Practice Code Debt: Part 2

“I reached out to a few seasoned practice managers and consultants. They were all very responsive and all agree that there are negative effects for the veterinary practice when too many codes exist.” Read More

Minimizing Practice Code Debt: Part 3

The experts we spoke with all agree. Cleaning up your codes provides clarity, simplicity, understanding, and fewer errors. Read More


Some practices don’t have the right software to support their data needs

One survey respondent said, “our practice owners just don’t see the value in data.” Needless to say, if owners don’t see the value, you’ll have a hard time getting them to invest in quality software. When we asked, “do you and your team see eye to eye on the value of analyzing and using data to manage and grow the practice?” 47.6% responded “sometimes.” If your efforts to sell the benefits of practice data are proving futile, set your sights on something that may be more achievable: ask the resistant individual if he or she will set aside just 30 minutes for a virtual, one-on-one, obligation-free VetSuccess demo. You can schedule your preferred time for a demo online.

Remember, we’re here to help you make your practice more successful. If there’s anything we can do to help you overcome data obstacles and maximize data opportunities, please get in touch. We’re here to help!