Pet owners in many communities today have access to specialized, high-quality medical care that previously was only available at a university veterinary teaching hospital. In part, this is due to the migration of veterinary specialists from the academic setting into private practice. As the profession has become more specialized, some general practitioners have expressed concern about losing income to specialists and may think twice before referring cases that could be treated at their hospital. In some instances, the roles of the primary care veterinarian and the veterinary specialist are not clearly delineated. This can be confusing for pet owners and may negatively impact patient care. Instead of viewing the increase in veterinary specialists as a threat to the current status of general practice, referring veterinarians should see developing effective relationships with specialists as an opportunity to improve patient advocacy and actually increase hospital revenues, improving patient care, and increasing revenues. It is concluded that changes in the veterinary profession in the last decade are viewed both negatively and positively depending on your perspective. Changes related to the increased specialization of veterinary medicine should be embraced as an opportunity to create a win-win scenario for general practitioners, specialists, and pet owners. The benefits of effective communication and collaboration between specialists and referring veterinarians include improved patient care and outcomes, improved financial success that results from a team approach to veterinary care and strengthening of the human-animal bond for pet owners.
|Publisher||The North American Veterinary Conference|
|Author Address||ALD Veterinary Consulting, Rockledge, Florida, USA.|
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