At PetDesk, our vision is to extend the lives of pets. Imagine if we could have 30-year-old dogs and 40-year-old cats by 2050. That may be overly optimistic, but we believe we can help create a world where this is possible by focusing on the relationships between veterinarians, pet parents, and pets. Pet parents are more deeply bonded with their pets than ever before, but they still aren’t engaged in their pet’s health at the same level that we are with human health. We believe that if we can get pet parents more engaged in their pet’s health care, especially preventative care, then that bond with their veterinary care providers will deepen and yield better outcomes for those pets.
This is why we’ve created the concept of the Lifetime Action Plan. This concept includes a bundle of features for the pet parent to plan and manage everything that impacts their pet’s health. Today, we offer personal reminders in the app to encourage behavior such as administering preventatives, scheduling follow-ups, and other timely tasks like nail trims, ear cleanings, and other preventative care. We offer highly customized loyalty plans in partnership with some of the clinics we work with so that pet parents have the ability to earn points while providing their pet meaningful care.
In the future, we have plans for weight loss plans, wellness plans, nutrition plans, drug delivery, breed-specific education, and much more. If we give pet parents the tools to easily engage in their pet’s health, with partners and companies they trust, then they will seek out the veterinarian more often. Increasing the times that pet parents say “yes” to care for their furry family members doesn’t just feel good, it will extend the lives of their pets. So, why did we start with financing and insurance?
It comes down to engagement. Our solutions have historically been classified as Client Communications, but what we really do is known as Patient Engagement. This incorporates the Client Communications features like sending health service reminders, appointment confirmation reminders, and those old school, yet still effective, postcards. But it also encompasses all of those tools I mentioned in the Lifetime Action Plan to get the pet parents to engage more deeply in their pet’s health. Patient Engagement extends even further with two-way messaging tools and a deeper level of interactivity to drive engagement between the pet parent and the clinic.
We’ve been building these useful feedback loops between vets and their clients for more than 6 years. And the 2500 clinics that trust PetDesk to facilitate this communication know how something so simple, can produce such meaningful results. Having thought about pet parents engaging in their pets’ health for as long as we have, we’ve noticed one common thread: money. Outside of walking their dog or playing with their cat, every other aspect of engagement involves spending their money.
An important note that we’ve come to recognize: affordability problems surrounding pet care have been recognized for years, and many organizations have resources to address them. The Humane Society of the United States has curated a list of resources for pet parents having trouble affording pet care, including veterinary costs. The AVMA also has a list of resources specifically for veterinary care. The items on these lists are valuable for pet parents, but they are removed from the client experience at veterinary practices, where most pet parents expect to access these affordable resources. We realized that if we were going to get pet parents to more deeply engage in their pet’s care, then we had to make sure they could first afford it.
So we had our ‘why’, and a strong foundation upon which to continue building our Lifetime Action Plan. And when paired to the immutable Three Laws of PetDesk, the path forward was clear.
- The First Law of PetDesk: PetDesk will extend and improve the lives of pets.
- The Second Law of PetDesk: PetDesk will improve the lives of pet care providers as long as that doesn’t conflict with the first law.
- The Third Law of PetDesk: PetDesk will improve the lives of its employees as long as that doesn’t conflict with the first or second law.
We know that if we help pet parents overcome the financial burden of pet health care, we’re serving that first law. We also know from the data that pet parents who have financing or are insured are more likely to go to their veterinarian and spend more. We’re serving that second law but not at the expense of the first. And as a business, by offering new ways to execute this financial planning, we’re able to grow our business. We’re serving that third law but, most importantly, not at the expense of pet care providers or pets. By growing our business, we’re then able to invest more into the education for both clinics and clients, completing a virtuous cycle of all three laws.
There was one more step for us to make sure this was the right path for our first big partnership in our Lifetime Action Plan. We had to triple-check that this was a big win for veterinarians. The history of Client Communications in our industry has been filled with reminder systems that co-opted the communications to sell things to consumers. We knew that, at a glance, our model to engage pet parents in their pet’s health, could be seen as very similar to what has come before. So we talked to a lot of clinics, our advisory council, industry experts, and pet parents to make sure we were doing this right.
The results were clear. The exceeding majority of hospitals were excited to have an easier way to guide clients through insurance options and sign up. These daily practitioners know that better patient coverage directly relates to better outcomes for pets and the hospital’s finances.
However, we were surprised to learn that many of the hospitals were thrilled to toss the burden of educating clients about insurance and financing to PetDesk as a trusted source of information. Earlier, I mentioned that we provide Workflow Management solutions alongside the Patient Engagement tools. It was another “ah-ha” moment for us when we realized that this offering to pet parents would also be a workflow management win for the clinics. At this point, we were simply buzzing at the chance to get the Lifetime Action Plan into, well, action.
Today, on behalf of the entire PetDesk team we are proud to have taken another step towards a future of longer, healthier pet lives. Core to who we are, you’ll see us actively listening to feedback from clinics, clients, and others so that we continue to build programs and products that extend pets’ lives.
Our ultimate goal is extending pet’s lives but we know we can’t do that to the detriment of veterinarians. That’s why we always build in partnership with our hospitals and ensure we put pets and pet care providers above ourselves. We know that by putting the mission first we can build a company that will be here in 2050, continuing to support healthy, long-lived pets.