The medical impact of AutoShip: Bridging the gap between exam room and living room

by By Caitlin DeWilde, DVM

11 min read

As a veterinary professional you’re dedicated to improving pet health and ensuring the best possible outcomes for every patient in your care. But despite your admirable efforts, you’re only half of the pet’s care team.

Client compliance is a challenging and sometimes enormous barrier to positive treatment outcomes, especially when it comes to chronic disease management. Veterinary medication adherence — including accurate dose, frequency, route of administration, and duration — can be a common obstacle for pet owners who may struggle to remember, correctly administer, and consistently refill their pet’s prescriptions.

Although data is limited, most veterinary experts suspect that pet owner compliance mirrors adherence in human medicine, which is a mere 50%. This alarmingly low number is a call to action for new and practical solutions to the veterinary compliance crisis.

AutoShip: your new strategy for driving at-home compliance

AutoShip, powered by online prescription management providers like Vetsource, is not just a convenient and easy-to-use tool. It’s also a powerful solution that veterinary teams can use to improve at-home treatment and therapeutic outcomes by increasing client compliance and making the transition from in-practice diagnosis to at-home treatment as smooth as possible. AutoShip programs alleviate many of the most common reasons for non-compliance by providing timely delivery to the client’s door. Eliminating these barriers helps pet owners focus on ensuring their pets receive their medication, resulting in better long-term outcomes for pets and more confident and satisfied pet owners.

Clients adhere to therapies 2–5x more often when using AutoShip and the RemindMeSM single-dose parasiticide program through Vetsource.*
While some veterinarians may have concerns about how an automated service might impact their relationships with clients, AutoShip doesn’t replace the essential role of the veterinarian. Instead, it can enhance the veterinarian-client relationship, ensuring the veterinarian’s recommendations are followed consistently, which leads to better pet health outcomes. It also eliminates the need for clients to remember to place orders, a common issue that can lead to lapses in treatment.

Tips for talking to pet owners about AutoShip

Many of your clients today are probably familiar with subscription-based purchases and are therefore likely to embrace the idea of an AutoShip program for its convenience and potential savings. However, other clients may need additional assistance or information to help them understand AutoShip’s value and to sign up. So, how can you start an AutoShip conversation and convert clients?

  • Introduce AutoShip during wellness visits as a way to ensure pets never run out of parasite preventatives.
  • Place an order and set up AutoShip for the client in the clinic. If they aren’t quite ready to order, send your recommendation via email through your prescription management platform and include your AutoShip recommendation in the comments.
  • Show the client where to find your veterinary practice’s online store and how to easily create their own AutoShip order.
  • Send automated reminders and email promotions or post on social media about the convenience and benefits of AutoShip.

AutoShip’s impact on pet health

Therapeutic outcomes hinge on consistent and accurate medication administration, especially when the pet’s condition requires ongoing care. AutoShip provides game-changing results for chronic disease management by simplifying the responsibilities for the client and the veterinary practice. AutoShip ensures timely treatment by preventing common errors such as the practice forgetting to order the medication from the distributor or the client forgetting to request or pick up their pet’s prescription. With AutoShip, your client will receive consistent delivery of the correct medication at the appropriate dose with an accurate label and clear and complete instructions. Bar chart showing the likelihood of repurchasing therapeutic diets based on in-practice vs AutoShip purchasesAutoShip is also great for improving compliance with therapeutic diets. The graph above shows that with AutoShip, clients are more likely to continue repurchasing their pet’s prescription diet. This level of reliability prevents potentially damaging treatment gaps for a more sustainable and positive pet health outcome.

Fostering a collaborative AutoShip culture in practice

Prescribing authority may be limited to veterinarians, but every team member can play a role in presenting AutoShip to clients. Using a team approach can help pet owners learn about the different ways AutoShip could benefit their pet and its practical applications.

  • Your client service representatives can mention AutoShip when pet owners call to request prescription refills or offer to set it up for them.
  • In the exam room, your veterinary technicians and assistants can introduce AutoShip as a way to ensure pets stay up to date on heartworm, flea, and tick preventatives or never run out of their therapeutic diet.
  • Your veterinarians can present AutoShip as a way to automate the medication or therapeutic diet refill process so clients feel empowered and capable about their pet’s long-term care, especially during difficult conversations such as chronic disease management.
  • Your management and marketing team can include AutoShip information on your practice’s marketing materials and communications (e.g., invoices, emails, social media, prescription refills, and appointment reminders) to help raise awareness.

The team-based approach to AutoShip implementation not only drives client awareness and participation but increases at-home care compliance, resulting in better overall pet health. These improved patient outcomes ultimately lead to increased job satisfaction and reduce emotional burnout among veterinary professionals, fostering a healthier and more sustainable work environment for all.

AutoShip delivers a new level of pet health

When a patient leaves your practice, it can feel like their outcome is out of your hands. AutoShip can be the tool that bridges the daunting gap between the exam room and the living room by delivering timely and accurate prescription products directly to the pet owner’s door. Strategically implemented, AutoShip can be leveraged to support a comprehensive patient care experience for the pet, client, and veterinary team. Experience the benefits of AutoShip for yourself — the Vetsource platform makes it easy to improve compliance, enhancing pet health and client satisfaction. But don’t stop there! With Vetsource, you’ll gain access to features that simplify workflows, save your team time, and strengthen client relationships. Reach out to learn more.   *Data on file at Vetsource

Caitlin DeWilde, DVM

Caitlin DeWilde, DVM

Caitlin DeWilde, DVM is a practicing veterinarian graduate from the University of Illinois and is the founder of The Social DVM, a consulting firm devoted to helping veterinary professionals learn, manage and grow their social media and online reputation.

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