3 Ways to Make Your Vet Techs Preventive Care Experts

Many practices are embracing preventive care diagnostics to improve the quality of care they provide their patients. Every member of the veterinary team has an important role to play in getting the client to say yes, but our technicians can be superstars when it comes to educating clients about the importance of early diagnostics.

Here's how to encourage your veterinary technicians to play an active role in promoting preventive care diagnostics.

1. Emphasize Their Unique Position

Our techs are deeply involved in each wellness visit. They spend a great deal of time with clients discussing the pet's medical history and determining which vaccinations are needed. They often are the first to hear any concerns that owners may have during the visit. As a result, vet techs often end up spending more time with clients than the veterinarian does, and they have the opportunity to build a strong rapport — one that is difficult for veterinarians to achieve in a shorter amount of time.

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This quality client time coupled with their knowledge of veterinary medicine means they are the perfect spokesperson to discuss preventive care diagnostics and stress their importance with clients.

2. Elevate Them as Experts

Elevate your vet techs to do more during the wellness visit than just discuss flea and tick products and draw up vaccines. Our technicians can be instrumental in discussing the benefits of early diagnostic screenings, which can act as an early warning system and find issues in pets sooner, when they may be easier and less expensive to treat.

Vet techs play an integral role in catching disease early in their patients. By elevating our technician team as experts on preventive care diagnostics, we not only show them that they're important members of the team, but we show our clients how valuable and knowledgeable they are, as well.

Encourage your vet techs to share personal experiences with clients about how early screening has caught issues in their own pets or in other patients at the practice. Many of our clients will say yes after discussing early diagnostics with the technician because of their expert knowledge and communication skills. For those clients who are hesitant, it can make the veterinarian's job easier to have follow-up conversations during the exam and discuss how the benefits already outlined by the technician apply to their pet based on what might be found in an exam or their history.

3. Use Incentives

Setting specific goals for vet techs can motivate them to have a conversation about early diagnostic screenings with every client who comes in. Goals can be made for individual staff members, such as a $50 gift card for reaching 50 screens. Or, you can reward them with other items, such as a paid day off.

Alternatively, you can set team goals to reward everyone when you get a certain percentage of all wellness visits to agree to early diagnostic screenings. If you're just starting out, set a realistic goal — for instance, to have 20% of all wellness visits include early diagnostics. This is an easily obtainable goal that will help motivate your vet techs and other staff members to consistently have those conversations. When the goal is met, distribute the reward, then increase the goal to 30% or 40% while your team is feeling empowered.

Your clients and vet techs both benefit from preventive care diagnostics: Not only will you be providing better care by catching health issues early, but you'll be empowering your staff to build strong client relationships and speak as a voice of authority during visits.

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Julie Miles
DVM

Julie Miles graduated from Ohio State in 2006. Dr. Miles spent two and a half years working in private practice. She then joined Lighthouse Veterinary Personnel Services in 2009, where she worked as a relief veterinarian and manager for five years. In 2014, she opened Compassionate Care Animal Hospital, which has grown into a two doctor practice. Her professional interests include client communications, preventative care, dentistry, and feline medicine. She and her husband, Dale, have two boys, Henry and Evan. In a previous life, she earned her Master's of Social Work and worked in crisis intervention and discharge planning. Some days that degree is more helpful than her DVM.

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