Notes on parasite prevention programs in veterinary practice

Put parasites in their place with a symphony of tools that work together to create harmony for pets.
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Dec 31, 2012
By dvm360.com staff

In the war against parasites, your practice has probably won many battles. But you still see pets every day that aren't protected regularly. It's time for your team to reach higher to achieve the next level of prevention.

To reach the high notes, you need to identify the weaknesses in your approach and build a program that gets your team in tune. Managers and team leaders: Use this advice to plan a team training meeting in your practice that prepares team members to tackle the tough topic of parasite prevention day after day, week after week in your practice.

Rehearse together



Pet owners need to hear your advice—often and from every member of your team. So start the meeting by inviting team members to share some of the challenges they've faced when they've recommended the parasite preventives your practice promotes. Then remind team members that clients always have a reason when they say "no." Using open-ended questions, such as, "What concerns do you have about parasites?" or "What questions do you have for me about the parasite preventives we recommend?" are more likely to elicit responses that begin a dialogue. When you can get clients to share their concerns, you can work to overcome them. This is also a good time to hand out a copy of the article "Dig deeper when clients decline parasite preventives" to offer thorough advice on guiding these client conversations. (For links to the tools listed here, see "Team training tools".)

Once you've discussed tips to begin a dialogue with clients, it's time to review clients' top questions. Use the handout "5 top client questions answered" to talk about the questions your team members can expect to hear—and how to respond. You can end this part of the discussion by asking team members to share stories of any difficult
client questions they've encountered and how they've responded.

Scale tricky parasite scenarios

Once you've discussed how your team communicates with clients, it's time to test team members' knowledge. Share the true client scenario about a pregnant mother who has concerns about toxoplasmosis from "Parasite control scenario: What would you do?" (You can find it in "Team training tools" at left.) Ask team members how they would respond to this client's concerns. Then talk about the advice industry experts offer to tackle this situation. Select the approach that most closely matches your practice's philosophy—or use elements from several experts to create your own protocol.

Make beautiful music together

Once you've trained team members to talk to pet owners, it's time for a few tools to smooth the way and improve client compliance. Handouts offer an additional path to share your message with pet owners and touch more fully on topics you didn't get a chance to cover during your time with the client at the practice. Pass out copies of the client handouts your practice chooses to use from "Team training tools" and briefly review them with your team. Encourage team members to read through key points with clients in the exam room or reception area and use a pen to highlight important points. This engages pet owners in your discussion and forces them to focus on the educational message you're trying to convey. It also gives clients a tool to take home and share with other decision-makers.

To end your meeting, thank team members and invite them to share their own experiences next time. Offer a small reward—like an extra 15 minutes of lunch break—for team members who sing their own praises at future meetings with parasite prevention success stories.