Owning and operating a high-quality veterinary practice requires continuous reinvestment. “The physical building, the equipment inside, the standard of care and technology continue to advance,” said longtime veterinary consultant Fritz Wood, owner of H.F. Consulting in Lenexa, Kansas. “Every veterinarian in my experience has a wish list, often for a significant upgrade. Some tend to want what they want, not necessarily what they need. Maybe I just want, with all my heart, the latest and greatest — say, digital radiology — while at the same time my practice management system is 20 years out of date. Practice management systems aren’t as sexy as a new surgical or diagnostic tool.”
The “needs” must count, he said, but if a veterinarian really wants something, they’ll find a way to get it. And that’s not all bad. “For example, in-house labs have reinvigorated people’s careers,” Wood said. “There are whole different ways to use knowledge to help patients right now. If it’s fun, makes you a happier person, differentiates you in your community, damn the torpedoes.” And while many upgrades bring the prospect of added revenue, that isn’t the only reason to consider upgrades. “There are absolutely nonfinancial reasons to make continuous upgrades,” he said. “It prevents burnout and causes employees to stay with you. If you fall behind the modern standard of care in your geographic area, good luck finding new employees and getting people to stay.”
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