SOUND recently surveyed its entire laser install base to get feedback on their implementation. We asked questions about clinical efficacy, workflow integration, and financial viability. An encouraging percentage (over half) of our installs responded with answers to our questions as well as open-ended feedback.
Our customers reported exciting levels of success across the board, especially with respect to:
Decrease in concurrent medication
Ease of implementation
Immediate & Sustainable Profitability
No modality will have success in a busy veterinary clinic unless it works. When it comes to imaging, there is virtually real-time feedback that the system is performing as advertised. With laser therapy, however, there is very seldom that immediate reaction that leads to an “aha” moment that this modality is helping the patients.
That said, clinics who first implement laser have to go in with a sense of adventure and be persistent in their prescription of the modality for things to really take hold and for a measurable increase in efficacy to be realized. Fortunately, the install-base surveyed were members of this group, and their patients are feeling the benefit.
On average clinics reported 87% positive clinical efficacy across all use-cases, with a staggering 100% positive benefit (moderate or substantial) on Chronic Bone/Joint Issues. This includes things like Osteoarthritis, Degenerative Joint Disease, etc. These certainly fall into the “bread and butter” category as far as what laser has highest effect in treating, both from a pain and inflammation standpoint.
But across the board, over 35% of clinics responded that laser provided SUBSTANTIAL clinical benefit to 4 of the 6 categories:
Acute Bone/Joint (i.e. sprains/strains)
Chronic Bone/Joint (OA, DJD, IVDD, etc.)
Acute Soft Tissue Issues (non-wounds)
Acute Wounds (post-surgical incisions, burns, etc.)
Only Chronic Wounds and Chronic Infections did not receive over 35% in Substantial benefit, even though they still reported above 70% in positive benefit, to some degree or another.
Otitis and other ear infections respond really well to laser, when treatment is applied directly around the pinna and into the ear canal as well as through the cheek towards the inner bulla, where the root of the infection often lies.
A Drug-Free and Drug-Reducing Option
On average the clinics reported using the laser north of 20 times per week. And while this is more than enough to be profitable (see Profitability section below) this is still and overall under-utilization of the modality. Laser therapy is estimated to be useful on about 80% of a veterinary clinic’s weekly caseload, and so we hope these clinics continue to expand their approach and integrate laser into more of their therapeutic prescriptions.
Another significant benefit to laser therapy is its partial (and sometimes full) replacement of prescription medications. We all understand the risk to the liver and kidneys of patients for some of these medication (whether steroidal or NSAIDs), so the ability to wane off some of these prescriptions is a big boost to quality of life for these patients.
And the survey results confirm this ability. For example, when using laser to treat Chronic Bone/Joint conditions, 62% of respondents reports a decrease in the need for concurrent medications.These kinds of conditions are more prevalent in older animals, so the health benefit for them to be drug-free is even higher.
Laser Fits the Veterinary Workflow
In order for laser to work, it has to be used. In order to be used, it has to be easy to learn and fit into the busy schedule of your everyday clinic. Check. Check. Therapy laser is very easy to learn (especially with SOUND’s doctorVet, the Self-Teaching Laser, and equally as important, fits into daily life in the clinic.
”“Amazing use of the machine- easy and compliant and very easy to train doctors/technicians to feel comfortable with the unit.”A. Silva, DVM
The vast majority (83% confirmed by this survey) of clinics have their laser treatment sessions run by technicians…not doctors. Laser is an efficient use of time that frees up doctors to do more important procedures that generate even more revenue.
A Profitable Solution
While you did not enter the veterinary field to get rich, you have to run a good business to continue to help your patients. As highlighted above, laser therapy is an effective modality that is useful on a wide range of patients and conditions. So this is a volume game. On average the clinics surveyed use the laser about 20 times per week. And the average charge per treatment was reported to be $30 across the board (perhaps a bit higher because things like post-surgical incision treatments are closer to $10-15, bringing the average down).
At this volume and pricing, which we still believe to be on the low-end of the potential for laser (remember it is most likely useful on up to 80% of your caseload), clinics reported adding upwards of $600/week in revenue. This adds up to $30,000/year. Virtually no other piece of capital equipment can bring in this level of return on investment so quickly.
In both a direct question as well as the open-ended responses, 81% of clinics claimed lasers had a positive financial impact on their practice in the first year. To quote a couple clinics in particular:
”“I have seen a SIGNIFICANT increase in income”.D. Diaz, DVM
Expanding Your Opportunities to Grow Your Practice
Acquiring equipment in your practice is always aimed to provide better medicine for your patients and enough profit to expand that reach to even more patients. And you offer a variety of services in your clinic to that end. One of the best things about incorporating the laser is giving your staff even more opportunity to engage with your horse owners on your services.
Laser can help. Over 30% of clinics agreed that incorporating laser into their practice increased the number of office visits by their clients. That same 30% also agreed that the laser (and this increased “face time” with the horse owners) provided the opportunity to sell other products and services.
While the horse is getting its 4-6 treatments on a chronic hip condition, you talk about dentistry. You can also talk about healthy diets and other nutrition services you offer. It simply opens up an avenue to communicate more often with your clients and expand your reach.
”“I’m definitely happy with my decision to incorporate the laser in my practice”R. Kleiner, DVM
Take Home Message
SOUND is very fortunate to have such a successful and passionate customer-base from which we can gather this enormously useful feedback. We are so glad to hear that our equipment is being so effective, reliable, and easy to use. The following quote sums it up:
”“Love the Laser, it’s SO easy to use for the staff. Us Doctors just need to remember to prescribe it more!”J. Linda, DVM
Better Medicine -> Better Revenue -> Growth of the Practice to serve even more patients.
To learn more about Imaging and Laser solutions from SOUND, call 800-268-5354.
To view past survey results on pre- and post-sale concerns, read the article published in Veterinary Practice News here.