Veterinary specialists rely on referrals and marketing to gain new clients and patients, but most specialists are located in metropolitan areas, and have limited reach to rural clients. Pets in rural areas need specialty care, too, but clients may be unaware that these services are available, if they’re willing to travel. Referring veterinarians are key to reaching these underserved clients, and VESPECON can help connect you directly to their veterinarians.
Analyzing your referral sources
Do you know where your clients heard about you? Since veterinary specialists do not typically require a referral, clients can come from a number of sources. Referrals come most often from your local primary veterinarians or ER intakes, but some clients will come to you directly for expert care. These clients may have heard about you from a friend or family member, through social media and online forums, other local pet professionals, a google search, or your local marketing efforts. If you haven’t already, include a “how did you hear about us” question on your intake forms, so you can understand where your clients are coming from and how to better focus your marketing. If you’re looking to expand your community reach, help more pets, and bring in more referrals, consider new sources.
The reality of rural veterinary practice
Have you overlooked clients who live in rural areas, with limited access to specialty care, as a referral source? These clients living outside your metropolitan area are unlikely to hear your marketing efforts, and more likely to seek out their local veterinarian when their pet needs medical care. According to a census survey that compiled information from 2011 to 2015, about 19% of the population lives in rural areas, which equates to about 60 million people, 47 million of whom are adults over 18. Pet ownership rates are higher in rural areas, so this is an untapped market for veterinary specialists. Around 500 U.S. rural counties are considered “underserved” by veterinarians in general, and specialty care is further out of reach. VESPECON is changing the game for rural clients and patients by offering specialty consultation services to veterinarians in these areas.
How VESPECON can help you reach rural clients
VESPECON provides specialty consultation services to general practitioners via video chat, so location no longer matters. Rural veterinarians typically handle all their patient’s care needs, managing complex cases as best they can. Clients in these areas want the best for their pets, but may not be aware of specialty care, let alone have access to specialists. Patients may suffer from unmanaged conditions or face euthanasia when the primary veterinarian runs out of options.
With VESPECON, rural veterinarians can offer pets requiring advanced care another option. When the veterinarians sign up for our services, they can access our team of consulting specialists, who are available on-demand for remote patient consults. We use video chat technology, which allows our specialists to see the patient and consult face-to-face with the referring veterinarian. The specialist can provide guidance throughout the case, and the primary veterinarian can not only successfully treat more complex conditions, but also acquire new skills and knowledge. Veterinarians can use the specialist advice to develop their personal interests and to offer more services to their clients, such as chemotherapy, diabetes management, or advanced surgeries. Clients in rural practices can feel confident their pet is getting the best care possible, and will learn how specialty medicine helps their pets.
So, how does this benefit the brick-and-mortar specialty practice? Many patients still need referral to an in-person specialist after consulting with our team, and that’s where you come in. When you join our local specialist network, we’ll funnel cases directly to you. We make the process easy by coordinating appointments directly with specialists after the referring veterinarian consults with our virtual team. When rural veterinarians use our services, our consultants can tell them when a referral is needed, and pass on that recommendation to the client. With better education and specialty care knowledge, clients are more likely to drive long distances for their pet’s specialty care.
Ready to join VESPECON to reap the benefits of reaching more clients and pets? Contact us to learn more and get started.