Banfield Pet Hospital® – the nation’s leading provider of preventive veterinary care and part of the Mars Veterinary Health family of practices – today hosted its 21st annual Pet Healthcare Industry Summit, where Mars Veterinary Health announced the formation of an industry-wide working group aimed at strengthening the relationship between veterinary teams and pet owners through resources, education and collaboration. Banfield has also teamed up with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to expand access to the association’s online reputation management resources to the entire profession, free of charge. Both initiatives demonstrate the commitment of Mars Veterinary Health and its family of practices to leveraging their size and scale to help create a more sustainable and thriving veterinary profession.
With an industry experiencing multi-faceted workforce issues and a strong demand for veterinary services, veterinary teams are facing unique challenges and pressures – and increasingly finding themselves on the receiving end of client frustration, both in-person and online. These new initiatives aim to foster healthy lines of communication between staff and pet owners to help create the best possible workplace, client experience and patient care.
“Veterinary teams and clients are connected by a shared love of pets and passion for ensuring they receive the best possible care,” said Doug Drew, president of Mars Veterinary Health. “Our goal is to continue to strengthen the relationship between veterinary teams and clients by addressing the pain points that exist for pet owners, while prioritizing the wellbeing of veterinary professionals. By coming together with leaders across the industry, these new resources will allow us to go upstream to address some of the most pressing issues impacting the profession so that we can continue to deliver on our purpose: A Better World for Pets.”
Industry-Wide Working Group to Create Shared Expectations and Responsibilities in Veterinary Care
The working group of leading veterinary industry organizations will convene over the next few months with one key objective: create a list of shared expectations and responsibilities that the profession and pet owners alike can leverage to further a mutual understanding and respect towards one another, all in service of partnering to provide the best possible care to pets. Core members include Mars Veterinary Health and its practices Banfield, BluePearl Specialty + Emergency Pet Hospital and VCA Animal Hospitals, the AVMA, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), Not One More Vet (NOMV), Veterinary Hope Foundation (VHF) and Veterinary Medical Association Executives (VMAE). See member quotes below.
To ensure the shared expectations and responsibilities – which will be released in early 2023 – address the concerns and needs of both veterinary teams and clients, the working group will lean on direct input from industry leaders, veterinary professionals and pet owners. The goal is to foster an environment where each veterinary interaction is rooted in culturally competent care and grounded in a supportive, safe and inclusive environment for all.
Expanding Reputation Management Resources for the Profession
While the shared expectations and responsibilities will provide a general framework to help foster positive and productive veterinary team-client interactions, hospital teams across the profession continue to see a need for additional resources to help address the difficulties of managing online reputation. Today, Banfield announced a new investment towards expanding the AVMA’s Online Reputation Management Toolkit, which will become available in 2023 to all veterinary professionals at no cost. The toolkit will include resources to help veterinary professionals prevent reputationally and psychologically damaging events that typically first occur online but can have real, in-person consequences; respond effectively when they happen; support the physical safety of their practices; and recover reputation in the aftermath of an escalated event.
These resources will also offer support to veterinary professionals and teams as they navigate cyberbullying, which is defined by the Cyberbullying Research Center as: “Willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.” According to a recent survey from the AVMA, nearly 1 in 3 veterinary professionals have been victims or know colleagues who were victims of cyberbullying; further, 43 percent of survey respondents have considered changing jobs or careers because of cyberbullying; and 63 percent said these events had the biggest impact on their mental health. When asked how the profession can better provide support, 70 percent called for the expansion of existing resources to mitigate cyberbullying.
“Reputationally damaging events – which can include cyberbullying – have a critical and lasting impact on veterinary teams and their mental health. Addressing this industry-wide issue requires a dedicated, collaborative effort,” said Dr. Lori Teller, AVMA President. “We are proud to embark on these new initiatives with leaders across the profession to help create and expand resources to ensure veterinary teams and practices have the tools they need to effectively address challenging situations.”
Going Upstream at Banfield’s Pet Healthcare Industry Summit
These new initiatives are part of Banfield’s larger efforts to take an upstream approach to some of the most pressing issues impacting the profession. At today’s Pet Healthcare Industry Summit, Banfield convened leaders across the veterinary profession – along with changemakers in industries like aviation that are facing similar challenges – to discuss how we can continue to come together to proactively mitigate issues before they develop.
This includes continuing to help destigmatize the topic of mental health and providing free industry-wide resources like Banfield’s “ASK – Assess, Support, Know” suicide prevention training and strengthening and diversifying the veterinary talent pipeline through programs like Banfield’s NextVet paid internship program, which recently hosted its inaugural class of 15 high-school interns. Following this summer’s program, more than half the students have continued to work with Banfield – including being hired as a Petcare Assistant or joining Banfield’s Youth Advisory Board – and 100 percent said the program solidified their decision to pursue a career in the veterinary profession.
More information on and a livestream or recording of Banfield’s Pet Healthcare Industry Summit can be found here.