In this month’s cover story (beginning on page 40) we feature surgical trends and how the profession is changing. I thought it was thought provoking and worth reading, given the importance of the revenue associated with surgery and its contribution to a practice’s bottom line.The surgical market is changing. Low cost providers have certainly impacted the business, as have the proliferation of specialty surgical practices, especially in urban settings. The mindset of today’s young veterinarians and the challenges of becoming proficient in doing surgical procedures have also had an affect.
While there are several surgical procedures that should always be referred, it is unclear if general practices have gone too far and have referred out procedures they should be keeping in their practices. They lose the revenue for the pre-op blood work, the procedure, post op care, prescription medications and perhaps more importantly, a chance to enhance the relationship between pet, pet owner and the practice.
Mobile surgery may be an option to keep some of that revenue in the practice, as well as to maintain the relationships, and it’s generally less expensive for the pet owner than referring to a specialist. They are in essence an extension of the practice and work closely together to ensure proper care is given, and the relationships remain in place.
As a part of the value you bring to your customers, it would make sense to have discussions with them on how they are handling their surgical procedures. What is being referred out and where, what stays in the practice, and do these decisions make good financial sense? If you do your homework and can help them identify the pros and cons, as well as options for training, or potential mobile surgeon partners, you will certainly enhance your value proposition.