University of Minnesota Dairy Health Conference

Dr. Steven Roche of ACER recently participated in the University of Minnesota’s Dairy Health Conference in April 2019 on two themes – the use of RVTs in clinical practice, and communicating with clients to motivate on-farm change.

 

Motivating On-Farm Change

The half-day workshop reviewed skills and tools that veterinarians can use to increase client communication. The first portion of the workshop focused on the key factors that drive farmer behavior and decision-making, attempting to answer ‘why do farmers do what they do?’ This interactive workshop also encouraged veterinarians to share past experiences and the tactics that have proven effective and useful for them. The group then explored a few new strategies to take home and try, which are based on research on farmer mindset, behavioral decision-making, and best practices for communicating recommendations.

 

Exploring the Value of Technicians to Large Animal Veterinary Practice

Later that day, Dr. Roche presented to veterinarians on the use of registered veterinary technicians (RVTs) in clinical practice to build a clinic’s capacity and efficiency. In 2018, ACER performed a study on the value RVTs bring to clinical practice (https://acerconsult.ca/case/assessing-value-registered-veterinary-technicians/) . This study found that for every RVT added to the team, a clinic’s revenue could increase by up to $78,000 annually. Food animal veterinarians typically work on their own, and use their farmer as an extra set of hands when needed. When a practice does employ a food animal RVT their roles typically consist of:

  • Disbudding
  • Ketosis monitoring
  • Calf health monitoring
  • Udder health lab management
  • Data collection and entry to herd files and accounts
  • Herd vaccination

Using experience and advice from his team Dr. Roche provided real-life examples of what additional roles and services are within the scope of practice for an RVT. Good RVTs have skills and expertise that can extend far beyond their traditional uses, and are often underutilized. Engaging technicians and challenging them only serves to benefit veterinary practice and the client experience.

 

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University of Minnesora

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Agricultural Communications &
Epidemiological Research

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