Joii Pet Care Co-founders: Thoughts On The Veterinary Industry Continually Adapting To The Pandemic And 2021 Predictions
Robert Dawson MRCVS, veterinarian and co-founder of Vet-AI (Joii Pet Care.)
The importance of delivering excellent, accessible pet healthcare advice alongside the very best customer service has never been starker than the past 12 months. The way to achieve this, in my view, is absolutely through collaboration across the industry.
We’re all very aware that pet ownership levels have continually risen at an extraordinary rate throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Each practitioner in our wonderful industry has had to adapt and overcome the challenges this has presented. I’m proud to see how our Joii Pet Care team has responded, and I have seen so many other veterinary companies leading the way right across the country too. It’s a huge credit to our profession and the way it continues to evolve in the interests of animal welfare.
I feel that one of the biggest challenges before us now is ensuring that all those new and existing pet owners regularly access genuine accredited advice about the welfare and health of their pets. As an industry, we have to be committed to challenge the growing belief among some owners who feel they can self-diagnose on behalf of their pets or access alternatives to veterinary advice through the internet. There are plenty of people and businesses outside of the veterinary industry that have already moved to fill the online space for pet care that pet parents are looking for. That is set to grow rapidly and as a profession vets should be looking to make sure that pet parents have convenient and affordable access to veterinary advice and care online and don’t seek out alternatives from unreliable sources. We all know that if pet parents access veterinary expertise as soon as possible, whether that’s via credible online veterinary support services or in person at traditional practice, then the right care plans can be put in place for their pets. It’s a win for everyone, including the pets.
It’s our responsibility as a profession to really showcase the positive difference regular veterinary involvement has on the overall health and welfare of animals. From routine check-ups, to flea and worming treatments and areas such as weight management, we need to myth-bust about why regular veterinary interactions have longer-term health benefits for pets.
How do we do this? Firstly; by offering choice, convenience and exceptional customer service across the whole of the industry for the more routine appointments with pet owners. Only by offering a range of face-to-face, online and telemedicine options can we give customers the opportunity to reach out for professional advice at all times of day in a way that suits them. This will keep them coming back for professional advice, probably even swapping between options that are accessible, because they see the positive difference this makes to the lives of their pets. And to me, that is the number one priority of delivering excellent veterinary support.
Collaboration is also key. We recognise that through Joii Pet Care, we are very much one part of a range of options which complement the ‘traditional’ veterinary practice model. To this end, we’ve partnered with a large number of practices where we can direct pet owners quickly, with instantaneous access to our clinical notes; the outcomes for the owners and their pets outweigh any feeling of competition. It’s a great example of working collaboratively rather than putting barriers in the way of pet parents that want to access vet care and who may otherwise turn to alternative solutions such as self-diagnosis via unreliable sources.
We have built fantastic relationships with many vets and practices across the UK where we can demonstrate improved outcomes for pets and improved income generation for practices through genuine collaboration. We have plans to deepen these relationships even further in 2021.
We’re still encountering higher levels of interest in our online consultations with our nurses, animal behaviourists and veterinarians. We recognise that we can’t play our role in the profession in isolation and nor would we want to. Our continued ambition is to innovate across the industry, but this has to be bolstered by delivering a holistic approach to veterinary care across the UK. If we all take a step back and consider what’s best for our customers (pet parents), and their pets and the wellbeing of the profession too, then we will continue to flourish as an industry in the face of growing competition from outside of the profession.
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