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Why Innovation is Elusive to Most Companies

By: Edwards L. Blach, DVM, MS, MBA
December, 2018

Innovation is an elusive trait for most companies. For big companies, it’s even rarer. Unless you’re a company like Amazon or Google, both of which were born of innovation, and have grown by breaking conventional thinking and truly innovating, it is very difficult for most companies to adopt or gain any hint of entrepreneurship from within. If a company doesn’t have innovation as part of its DNA, it will almost always fail at it. 

Categories: Is My Practice Healthy?

Allocate Resources Wisely

By: Vet-Advantage
November, 2018

A majority of practices would hire a qualified veterinarian right now, if they could find one. That means that at least half of practices are likely not producing fully at their current staffing levels, and thus, their profits and their enterprise values are suffering as a result. 

This shortage of veterinarians requires that we look at usage and allocation of veterinary resources differently from how we’ve done so in the past. With a plentiful supply of veterinarians, clinics could staff with some excess capacity and not pay as close attention to how they utilized every minute of veterinarians’ time. In our current market situation, it is crucial to examine and monitor very closely how veterinarians’ time is allocated and utilized.  

Categories: Business Strategy, Is My Practice Healthy?

Where Does Telehealth Fit in Veterinary Practice?

By: Edwards L. Blach, DVM, MS, MBA
August, 2018

Technology can be the great equalizer or the great disruptor. In the next 12 to 18 months, every veterinary practice will decide whether telehealth is a great equalizer or a great disruptor to their practice. And each practice will decide whether they are disrupting or being disrupted. 

Telehealth as defined by the AVMA is “the overarching term that encompasses all uses of technology to deliver health information, education or care remotely.” There are many different technologies that fit under the umbrella of telehealth, most of which are not obvious to the average person in the veterinary industry. 

Categories: Technology, Is My Practice Healthy?, Telehealth

Embrace Disruption or Be Eliminated

By: Edwards L. Blach, DVM, MS, MBA
June, 2018

There is a well-known video of former Nokia CEO, Stephen Elop in 2013, who when announcing that Nokia was acquired by Microsoft, ended his speech while crying, with the following words. “We didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost.” Nokia in 2007 dominated the smart phone market. By 2013, they were being dominated by both Samsung and Apple. Nokia lost, and by traditional standards, ‘they didn’t do anything wrong.’ However, they failed to do anything right to respond appropriately to the rapidly changing demands of customers. And they were eliminated.

Categories: Is My Practice Healthy?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Impact Veterinary Medicine Very Soon

By: Edwards L. Blach, DVM, MS, MBA
April, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is real, and it is coming to every home very soon. Companies such as Google, Amazon, Samsung, Microsoft, and Apple are all developing voice-activated devices that are projected to be in most homes within the next three to five years. Voice-activated search is projected to replace at least half of traditional internet search within the next five years.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal(February 27, 2018) discussed this trend and the risks and opportunities it presents for businesses as it develops. Will AI impact veterinarians and the veterinary industry? Absolutely! AI will present both opportunities and risks to veterinarians and companies who serve veterinarians, depending upon their ability to adopt and utilize it, or their inability or unwillingness to do so. Let’s examine the state of the industry, and how AI will impact it.

Categories: Is My Practice Healthy?, Artificial Intelligence

The Two Biggest Opportunities to Improve Profitability

By: Edwards L. Blach, DVM, MS, MBA
February, 2018

The two biggest opportunities to improve profitability in most practices are to optimize labor and inventory costs. Labor costs typically account for 30 to 50 percent of revenue in most practices, depending on the structure of the practice. Inventory and related services such as radiology and laboratory costs account for 15 to 35 percent of revenue in most practices, depending on the structure and type of practice. Therefore, the typical practice commits from 45 to 80 percent of their revenue to labor and inventory. It makes sense, then, to help practices focus efforts on optimizing these two expense categories in order to have a major impact on improving profitability.

Categories: Is My Practice Healthy?

The Practice of the Future

By: Edwards L. Blach, DVM, MS, MBA
December, 2017

We see numerous references in the press about the ‘practice of the future.’ What does that mean? Let’s examine what we know and where we are likely headed as a profession and as an industry.

Over the last 30 years, the profession has responded to the increasing demand for veterinary care solutions for pets that are earning a more humanized position in many families compared to 30 years ago. Thirty years ago, much of the profession was focused upon a more agrarian approach to veterinary medicine. The anthropomorphic shift has contributed to a shift in the demographics of animal ownership. A much higher percentage of households now have pets, and this is increasing the attention that animal care is getting from people outside the industry.

Categories: Is My Practice Healthy?

Make Your Practice Customer-Friendly

By: Edwards L. Blach, DVM, MS, MBA
October, 2017

Our society increasingly expects to find and receive the services and products they want immediately when the urge or need arises. In a Twitter-filled world of maximum 140-character responses, the attention span of most people is short, or almost non-existent, so they want what they want, when they want it. If you cannot deliver, they will rapidly go somewhere else. How does a veterinary practice adapt to this rapidly changing market dynamic?.

Categories: Is My Practice Healthy?

The 40/20 Rule

By: Edwards L. Blach, DVM, MS, MBA
June, 2017

Implement the 40/20 rule to improve profitability in veterinary practices


Inventory and related services such as laboratory and radiology expenses represent an expense category called Cost of Professional Services (COPS), or Direct Costs. In most practices, Direct Costs represent between 20 and 30 percent of revenue. Labor represents the highest expense category in most practices, and is typically between 30 and 50 percent of revenue in most practices.

A frequent question from practice owners is: “How high should my Labor and Direct Costs be?”

The answer, in general, is that these expenses should be as low as possible, while still supporting the activities of the practice to provide optimum customer service and high quality veterinary care for your patients. That said, excess labor and inventory are the two biggest causes of lower profits in a veterinary practice.

Categories: Is My Practice Healthy?

The Client Experience

By: Edwards L. Blach, DVM, MS, MBA
April, 2017
Should a veterinary practice resemble a taxi or an Uber?

Customers of veterinarians use a lot of different services in their daily lives. Their expectations regarding services are formed and influenced largely by how they receive and utilize services every day. According to data and societal trends, consumers have transitioned to using their mobile devices to access almost all services in one form or another.

Categories: Is My Practice Healthy?

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