We all know that Veterinary Rehabilitation is awesome, and that it works. More often than not, we are just ourselves using our hands, with no fancy equipment or modalities. We are also completely reliant on ourselves and our hands for an income, and this can be a big disadvantage from a business perspective.

Using adjunct modalities and therapies can help us boost our revenue, adding additional income security to our businesses, as well as improving patient outcomes and saving us time.

As you consider whether or not to add modalities to your toolbox and practice, there are many questions that may be running through your mind that you might not be able to answer. Dr Lisa Mason addresses these in this week’s podcast, and in a Business Basics training. I have summarised the important points below for those who prefer to read.

 

What are the adjunct therapies to consider?

What you might add to your practice is dependent on the kind of practice you have, the patients you see, and the legislation in your area. You might consider adding any of the following to your practice:

Some of these modalities come with a big financial commitment, which can be scary and needs to be considered carefully. Let’s go through some of the questions you may be asking.

 

Can I afford it?

When working out whether you can afford a modality, it is helpful to break down the complete cost of the equipment and ensure that your bottom line is covered. There are several  aspects to consider:

  1. What is the cost of the modality?
  2. Will you need to take out a loan, and what is the lowest interest rate and best repayment plan that you can get?
  3. How many treatments will you need per day, per week and per year to be able to pay this off, and is that feasible for you?
  4. What are the staff requirements for this equipment – will a technician be able to run it, will a certified professional be able to run it, or will you need to do so yourself?
  5. How much time will be allocated per treatment or session?
  6. How much space does the equipment need – will you need to renovate, build or change the space you have available?
  7. How much will you charge per session? Look at the cost of similar services in your area, and calculate the cost accordingly to ensure you can cover the cost of the equipment.

 

Will I use it?

This is the most important question of all! You will only use a piece of equipment that you believe in, and that is of value to your patients. Look to the evidence available on the use of the modality you are considering, and speak to other practitioners who have the modality in their practice. Are they using it, and are they finding value in its use? Also consider how the modality will fit into a normal treatment session for your patients, and form a part of their rehabilitation plan. Will it fit into the flow of your treatments?

 

Do I need more staff?

If you need to hire more staff, there are multiple points to consider, starting with the qualifications or certification of the person who will manage the equipment.

 

Certified

Self-trained

Cost

Hourly rate will be more expensive.

You can pay a reduced hourly rate.

Requirement of equipment

Certain equipment will require a certified individual, while others will simply benefit from a certified individual.

Self-trained staff can be valuable in using or supervising certain equipment, providing assistance with holding or managing a patient, or in other roles.

Time

A certified individual will be more efficient with equipment, reducing the time of treatment.

Initial training times will also be reduced.

Treatment times may be increased.

Initial training will take more time.

Legalities

Local regulations may require certification in a specific modality. 

Local regulations may make allowances for certain modalities, or may not have any requirements.

You can save money on the running and management of the equipment by training a member of staff yourself, but you may have to balance that saving with increased treatment times. The equipment you’re considering using will, at the end of the day, determine who the ideal candidate to manage the equipment will be – you always want to aim to save time and money from a business perspective, while still providing the best service to your patient.

 

Do I have the space?

Consider the amount of space that your equipment will need, and the logistics around that. Will you need to expand your practice or renovate your space? Will the equipment be installed permanently, as is the case with a water treadmill, or will it remain mobile? Will it need to move from room to room, and if so, will it need to be on a cart or similar – or is it easily carried and transported? Can you still work with other appointments around this piece of equipment? Does the equipment have specific maintenance needs or requirements, such as managing water quality for a water treadmill?
All of these factors will influence how regularly and easily a piece of equipment is used in practice.

 

Use it!

You need to believe in your chosen modality, and know that whatever you choose to spend your money on actually works.  The purchase of some modalities will require that you take out loan;  in this case, it may be a good idea to use such a modality on your own and your staff’s pets, and possibly on one or two patients, before you make the purchase. This would allow you to get a really good idea of how the equipment will fit into your practice, how much you will use it, and how much you really believe in it.  

Once you have had a product in your practice for some time, evaluate its value by checking the financials and assessing how regularly the equipment is being utilised. If it is underutilised, evaluate why. Is the product delivering the results and effects that you need it to? Is it easy to use and integrate into treatments? Are you using the appropriate protocols, or do they need to be updated? Re-evaluate the research, your results and your protocols to ensure that you are using the product to its fullest potential.

 

Conclusion

The most important consideration when aiming to purchase new equipment is whether or not you believe in its efficacy and will use it. Always consider whether the modality will be able to save time and improve outcomes. Make the maximum use of staff and prioritise your time for therapies that only you are able to do.

 

Resources

If you would like to learn more about running your business, be sure to tap into the Business Basics resources in your Onlinepethealth Members portal.

Listen to the full training by Lisa Mason on using adjunct therapies to boost revenue, with a Q&A, here:

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