Dr. Ackerman received his veterinary degree from the Ontario Veterinary College (Canada), and board certification from the American College of Veterinary Dermatology. In addition to his veterinary credentials, Dr. Ackerman holds a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University, a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, a Certificate in Veterinary Practice Administration from Purdue University, and he is a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) through the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA). Currently, he is an independent consultant, author and lecturer, on the Fear-Free Advisory Board, is a Fear-Free Certified Professional, is a founding member of the Global Veterinary Dermatology Education Group (GVDEG) and is on the Continuing Education Committee of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. He has extensive experience within the profession, with prior involvement in industry, private practice, academia, writing, and lecturing. He has authored or co-authored several books (including Five-Minute Veterinary Practice Management Consult, The Genetic Connection, Pet-Specific Care, Behavior Problems of the Dog & Cat, and Atlas of Small Animal Dermatology), and has lectured extensively on a global basis, on topics in both medicine and management.
Dr. Lowell Ackerman
Topic #1: Change is Here! Why We Should Embrace It
If we are not totally satisfied with the prospects for veterinary practice today, then we need to reflect on the current veterinary practice model and see where beneficial changes might be needed. Aspects of the economy, such as income inequality and consumer debt make it likely that people will have to budget for non-essentials, which often includes veterinary care. Technology will also play an important role and there are bound to be “apps” and other things that challenge the current “bricks & mortar” model of veterinary clinics. This lecture explores some of these likely scenarios so that we might proactively deal with these issues before we are negatively impacted by them.
Topic #2: Pet-Specific Care: A Lifetime of Personalized Medicine
Today’s consumers demand customized products and services. They realize their pet is unique and are sometimes dismayed when their veterinary hospital doesn’t seem to recognize this. Pet-specific Care drives opportunities for veterinarians and veterinary staff to get involved proactively, when there are not only more medical options, but also a much better chance for clients to get actively engaged in and committed to the process. This lecture discusses the value (both medically and financially) of setting up personalized and customized health care programs to address the specific issues of pets over their entire lifespans rather than waiting for pets to get ill before they benefit from veterinary intervention. Better medicine really does lead to better business outcomes!
Topic #3: Is Practice Ownership Worthwhile?
Currently about 75% of veterinarians are working as associates (employed veterinarians), but the continuation of the current veterinary practice model depends on younger associate veterinarians one day deciding to take over the reins of ownership. However, too many veterinary clinics today are not as profitable as they should be, when assessed by common business standards. The good news is that practice ownership can indeed be worthwhile for all concerned with the appropriate focus on value.
Topic #4: Improving Veterinary Employee Development: Everyone Wins!
Most veterinarians are employees (associates) rather than owners, but it is important that both employees and owners remain aligned in a win-win relationship. Hiring a new graduate involves challenges because they still have a lot to learn, they don’t yet have a lot of experience dealing with clients, and they are often resistant to charging clients according to hospital policies. For more seasoned employees, it may be difficult to offer raises once they have reached a compensation plateau, regardless of their tenure. This lecture addresses what the hospital needs from associates and what associates need from the hospital so these can be addressed much earlier in the process, for mutual benefit.
Topic #5: Veterinary Fees: Understanding the True Cost of Care
For most people who work in a veterinary clinic, the fees that are charged to pet owners may not seem to make intuitive sense. They may seem arbitrarily expensive and sometimes difficult to reconcile and explain to pet owners. This lecture goes through the discussion of how fees are determined based on the expenses associated with operating a veterinary clinic, making sure that all expenses are covered, clients receive appropriate value for the money spent, and that the hospital has a fair return on investment.
Speaker Fees: Honorarium and travel-related costs. Call or email for more information!