3 Ways to Fight Inflation

January 2024 |

Manage high costs and expenses in 2024.

Although inflation is starting to level off, experts predict that it will still stick around in the new year. With that in mind, now is a good time to consider future opportunities and challenges. What can you do to keep costs in line for the year ahead? Do a review of these three areas:

1. The Price of Veterinary Care. The price of providing care continues to increase. In 2022, inflation in veterinary services was 8.8%. In 2023, prices increased another 6.4%. And over the past four years, the price of veterinary services has increased by a whopping 29.1%, with 69% of the inflation occurring over the past two years.

Now is the time to begin having candid price-of-care conversations with clients about future care so that they can plan ahead. Solutions include wellness plans, bundled chronic care, pet insurance and third-party payer plans.

Rather than discussing the price of care only when services are needed, make this proactive conversation a core part of your client education.

2. Runaway Expenses. Veterinary costs are also on the rise. Some ways to help manage your own expenses include:

  • Look for ways to drive efficiency, such as having clients complete medical history forms before they arrive for the appointment. This will save time during appointments and result in more complete histories.
  • Leverage new technologies to decrease staff time spent on medical recordkeeping. There are new tools such as virtual scribes and AI-driven voice-to-text tools that can help compose the medical records so that the team only needs to make minor adjustments.
  • Pay attention to cost of goods and other services. The price of oxygen, for example, has been on the rise. In this situation, oxygen concentrators may be a more reasonable option. Medical waste (sharps) disposals is another area to review. An alternate option for sharps is Medical Innovation’s medical waste machine, which converts medical waste into non-regulated waste that can be disposed of with normal garbage.

3. New-Patient Numbers. A healthy practice continues to add new patients. During the pandemic, many practices stopped accepting new patients. Practices are now in precarious positions due to attrition of existing patients, for reasons such as owner relocation, rehoming of pets, increased service options and death of pets. As a percentage of total visits, new-patient visits have been trending downward nationally for five years, from 16% to 14.5%.

To make new-patient acquisition a focus for 2024, track new-patient numbers monthly and look at referral sources. Rethink your marketing strategies, including online and community presence. Does your website convey what makes your practice unique and why owners should care? Do your receptionists build relationship with callers, or are they transactional? First impressions are important; make sure yours is appealing.