17 March 2017

YourSAY™ 2017.1 - Corporatization of the Veterinary Industry Brings Hope Despite Some Distrust

Canada’s Thought Leaders Ponder Veterinary Industry Corporatization

The YourSAY™ public opinion poll 2017.1 is reported.

This report summarizes the YourSAY™ survey Powered by Urban Animal Corporation™ (formerly PetLynx™) that fielded March 1st-8th, 2017.

This survey captured public opinion related to several articles InfoStream has published on vet clinic acquisitions:

And explored the pros and cons in:

The purpose of the YourSAY™ 2017.1 survey was to discover what thought leaders in the urban animal industry believe are the positive and negative aspects of the growing trend of animal healthcare delivery moving towards large corporations and away from the owner/managed independent clinician.

Thirty-five respondents participated in the YourSAY™ 2017.1 forum out of 450 recipients and featured a variety of respondents from various backgrounds within the animal healthcare industry and at different levels of management within the industry.

Highlights of YourSAY™ 2017.1:
  • A strikingly similar number of participants viewed the trend toward large corporate entities and away from owner/managed independent clinics as either positive (37%) or negative (43%). The initial response to this topic is interesting considering the polarizing opinion in the questions that followed.

  • When asked about the corporate influence of commercial interests, a staggering eighty percent (80%) expressed concern to some degree with regards to the effect on animal healthcare services, a smaller percentage expressed that they are not at all concerned (20%). 

  • A clear majority of individuals (66%) view the rise of large corporate providers as inevitable due to the modern healthcare demands of specialised service needs in regards to equipment, human resources and sophisticated technology which are the domain of larger, and typically wealthier, clinics and hospitals. Twenty-nine percent (29%) of individuals believe that a rise in corporate providers in not guaranteed.

  • Owner/Managed independent clinics are likely to be sought out sixty-three percent (63%) of the time, while local clinics backed by a large corporation are sought out with thirty-four percent (34%) likeness. 

  • It is interesting to note that when asked what type of animal healthcare service providers do respondents actually use; fifty-four percent (54%) receive services from an owner/managed independent clinic, fourteen percent (14%) from a local clinic backed by a large corporation, and twenty-two percent (22%) from a combination of both. The last either using some other option of health services (3%) or do not use animal health services at all (6%).

  • When asked about any foreseen benefits of the corporate influence on animal healthcare services, majority of respondents believe that there are more harms than benefits to be found (40%). While there are many benefits cited as relating to corporate influence such as financial resources, access to specialized equipment and technology, better standards of care, employee training and benefits, and a support system of human resources, there was still a looming tone of distrust towards the corporate influence of animal services; ethical management, focus on the bottom line over quality of care, and the loss of independent decision making for individual clinics.

  • When asked about experiences working for a local clinic backed by a large corporation; many individuals (28%-43%) had experienced some type of positive experience due to the corporate impact; input from other successful professionals on models of service, team training and development, advancement opportunities, or an increased benefit package. A smaller percentage of individuals (10%-24%) experienced negative impacts; pressure to recommend services that one did not agree with or thought unnecessary, requirement to follow protocol rather than provide treatment based on individual client, or stressful expectations to meet corporate financial targets. 

  • Forty-five percent (45%) of informants believe that there is serious concern over the corporatization of veterinary clinics putting the owner/managed independent clinics out of business. However, a substantial percentage (23%) believe that the quality of animal healthcare services provided and the loyalty of clients will ensure the success of a business regardless of ownership and that there will always be room for both types of practices.

Demographics of YourSAY™ 2017.1:
  • Gender: 51% Female, 37% Male
  • Age: 14% 21-35 years old, 20% 36-50 years old, 66% over 50 years old
  • Region: 14% Pacific, 31% Prairie, 37% Central, 17% Atlantic
  • Pets: 56% Cat owner, 82% Dog owner
  • Industry: 11% Animal Welfare, 11% Animal Services, 29% Animal Health & Wellness, 11% Animal Control & Enforcement, 34% Other
  • Executive Level: 26% C-Level Executive, 37% Senior Management, 17% Middle Management, 3% Individual Contributor, 14% Other

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