Acupuncture: A new kind of veterinary needle
It's not a typical veterinary visit, but it's become the norm at Columbus Small Animal Hospital since Dr. Kramer became a certified veterinary acupuncturist in late 2008. Since that time, she has used acupuncture to treat everything from osteoarthritis to anxiety, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, and ear infections. The service has proven to be a success and has converted even the most skeptical clients into believers.
Looking for a new way to supplement your patient care offerings while generating revenue for your practice? Follow these steps for adding acupuncture services.1. BECOME CERTIFIED
2. COMMIT TO THE PROGRAM
After all of that work, the doctors decided that failure was not an option. So they converted a room in their facility into a specialized acupuncture room, complete with carpeting, recliners, a sofa, earthtone paint colors, pleasant aromas, and background music. The doctors even replaced the standard door with a glass one so that passing clients could take a look. "We call it the Zen room—we don't want people and their pets to feel like they're in a clinical situation," Dr. Jim Kramer says.
During a treatment, clients can either sit with their pets for the 20- to 30-minute procedure or request that one of the practice's team members do so. Some clients even use the time to meditate, read a magazine, or simply close their eyes and relax. "It's therapeutic for our clients, too," Dr. Jim Kramer says.
3. DEVELOP A PRICING STRUCTURE
Since most veterinary acupuncture cases require multiple treatments, Dr. Ann Kramer typically offers clients two options: Try the service once for $79, or prepurchase a block of three appointments for $150. If a team member is required to sit with the pet, the price increases by $25 per treatment. Because the system encourages clients to invest in multiple treatments, they're less likely to bring in their pets arbitrarily and more likely to see major benefits from the treatments.
Those benefits have helped many of the practice's patients live better lives, Dr. Jim Kramer says. "Some of our patients will go from not being able to jump in the back of a pickup truck to hopping up there easily," he says. "Or they'll have itchy skin that clears up after they come to our practice. There's no sleight of hand, and there's no placebo effect. The results are easy for clients to recognize and have been truly amazing."
4. DON'T SHORTCHANGE YOUR CLIENTS
In the end, acupuncture has become a successful loved service at Columbus Small Animal Hospital. "We're always trying to find new ways to become better veterinarians and get better results," Dr. Jim Kramer says. If you share a similar philosophy, acupuncture might be the next step for your veterinary practice.