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Increased Demand for Veterinarians, Leading to Burnout

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Increased Demand for Veterinarians, Leading to Burnout

The increased demand and time consuming tasks within veterinary clinics can lead to staff burnout. Veterinarians have been saying that their clinics are crazier than ever now, with higher patient volumes and demand for their services. Pet owners who have missed pet appointments early in the pandemic are now having a very hard time getting into their veterinarian. 

According to ASPCA, 23 million pets found new homes during the pandemic. Add that number to all of the pets that were not able to be seen by their vet during the pandemic and you get a very big backlog on appointment. Further, pet owners have started to bring their pat to the emergency room to get their pet seen by a veterinarian right away. “Our ER now sees about 30% more patients per month,” said Dr. James Hammond, Medical Director of Piper Veterinary Hospital.All of my practices are booking out several weeks in advance. Clients are actually calling around and scheduling appointments at multiple locations,” and even resorting to emergency care facilities, said Dr. Diona Krahn of Pathway Vet Alliance. 

Banfield Pet Hospital, one of the largest national providers of preventive veterinary medicine, had approximately half a million more pet visits in 2020 than in 2019. And its telehealth service more than doubled in volume from March through the end of last year.Clinics have been forced to streamline, having patients fill out forms online or by phone pre-appointment because hiring additional staff often isn’t an option. “The industry is growing at a rate that it can’t fill all the roles needed to keep up with the increased demand for services,” said Pickens.

Dr. Brett Levitzke, Chief Medical Office of Verg stated:

“Unfortunately, compassion fatigue, anxiety, and depression already plagued our profession, and the pandemic has certainly taken it to another level.”

“As veterinarians, its our job to care, but we also take care of people through their animals,” said Krahn. “Doctors and support teams struggle with caring for themselves in a way that preserves them to be able to keep doing this.”

Following up with pet owners. Leaving voicemails. Calling and not hearing any response from pet owners. These are all very time consuming and inefficient for the vet clinic, increasing overhead costs and leading to staff burnout. It is more important now more than ever that vet clinics continue to adopt new technologies that will help to automate these time consuming processes. 

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