4 reasons to consider veterinary technician appointments

4 reasons to consider veterinary technician appointments

No. 1 on the list: You can double your appointments with doubling your doctors' daily workload.
Sep 01, 2010
By dvm360.com staff

Americans are comfortable showing up at a walk-in clinics or a drugstore health kiosk to receive medical services from a nondoctor. Some veterinary practices are making the same concept work with technician appointments.

For the past nine years, when a patient at Silver Creek Animal Clinic in Silverton, Ore., has needed a routine recheck or simple procedure that a technician can handle, a technician has handled it. These appointments free up doctors for more complicated cases—and if a doctor is needed, he or she can be called in.

Here are four reasons technician appointments could work for you.


Doctors aren't the only ones who can uncover problems. In fact, the extra time or attention a patient may receive during a technician appointment can lead to discoveries that can be passed onto the veterinarian.

"At our practice, it's the rule rather than the exception that a technician appointment uncovers other concerns: heart murmurs, skin problems, dental disease, you name it," says Silver Creek's practice manager, Kyle Palmer, CVT.

Of course, technicians will consult a doctor about findings and avoid diagnostic conversations with clients. Visit http://dvm360.com/technicianappointments for Palmer's protocol on when and how to transition a technician appointment to a doctor appointment.


Technician appointments can solve the problem of round-the-clock patient drop-offs for routine procedures. Instead of telling clients to bring pets any old time, set up appointments for technicians to handle this intake process. Technician appointments can also help prevent those situations when clients are stranded in the waiting area because busy back-room duties prevent someone from getting to a patient immediately. Because technician appointments are cheaper than doctor visits, clients also save money.

Clients at Clairmont Animal Hospital in Decatur, Ga., love technician appointments, says veterinary technician Julie Sontag, AAT, RVT. "Clients don't have to wait, and they like the face-to-face interaction," Sontag says. "They feel they're being taken care of."


Handling appointments allows technicians to sharpen their skills, which can improve staff retention. "Early on in my career, technicians were just another set of hands for the doctors," Palmer says. "I can assure you that if the role hadn't evolved, I would've left the field quickly." Technician appointments can show both team members and clients that every employee at the practice is skilled and valued.


While Nancy Potter, practice manager at Olathe Animal Hospital in Olathe, Kan., hasn't run the numbers, she can guarantee the practice earns more revenue with technician appointments. Before, doctors were booked for every appointment, even if a technician would be handling most or all of the work. These appointments left doctors idle. Now everyone's busy. "During the same time that technicians are seeing patients, the doctors also have a full schedule of appointments. So we generate income from doctors' and technicians' time," Potter says.

If you like the idea of doubling appointments without doubling doctor workload, technician appointments may be your next big profit generator.

Appointment addition

For resources on implementing this service, check out a recent article from our sister magazine Firstline at http://dvm360.com/technicianappointments.

Hot topics on dvm360

Veterinarians: Your clients are going to Google with these cat questions

Search engine shares the top 10 questions people asked about dogs and cats in 2014.

Vetcetera: The complex topic of canine fear-related aggression

A guided tour of resources for addressing this popular and complicated subject, featuring advice from Dr. John Ciribassi.

Reality TV and the veterinarian: Discussing mainstream dog training advice with clients

Your clients may be getting behavior advice from cable TV. Get your opinion in the mix.

Blog: Election results pose obstacles for veterinary prescription law

Flip in U.S. Senate's majority may slow progress of Fairness to Pet Owners Act.

7 steps to a better relationship between veterinarians and rescue groups

A DVM in the city shares his advice to veterinary practices for working with rescues.