AUTHOR: Peter Alberti
The 2017 North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) conference in Orlando was productive this year, but I’m never going to attend the NAVC conference again! That’s not because I didn’t like it – I did, very much – but because they are rebranding to VMX, the Veterinary Meeting and Expo. That was certainly a surprise, but it wasn’t the only change for NAVC. The move of the entire conference from multiple hotels to the Orange County Convention Center changed the overall experience as well.
Something I suspected was “coming soon” found its way to the top of the list of conversation topics – the debate about telemedicine and how (if) it will be accepted in the veterinary community. The 2015 Supreme Court judgment that a state regulatory board can require a veterinarian to perform a physical examination before giving advice will certainly affect the legality of telemedicine approaches. While it’s obvious certain aspects of this brave new world aren’t feasible in any pet health setting, it’s also evident that the market will likely drive some amount of adoption. More change.
And the other prevailing theme was the announcement of the Mars acquisition of VCA. While the change here is evident for VCA teams, it’s also important to recognize the overall influence this will have on the industry. Purchasing power by the combined dominance of Banfield, VCA, Blue Pearl and the others will likely have a material effect on supplier decisions and relationships. As well, the corporate acquisition of practices may take on a new shape if more consumer companies like Nestle or others start dipping their toes into the practice acquisition waters. Even more change.
It will be important for all industry stakeholders to acknowledge and – ideally – embrace changes as they happen, and find a way to be a productive contributor to the veterinary community. Organizations who help veterinary professionals maintain consistency and predictability in key areas of their profession are likely to do very well. Veterinarians are not necessarily change-averse, but they are understandably risk-averse. They are doctors, after all, and doctors are comfortable with protocols.
So then – what are you doing to help ease the uncertainty of change for the veterinarians and their teams so they can continue to deliver the quality care that is core to their professional aspirations?
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