Potential New Veterinary Practice Models in Iran

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Human physicians learned long ago that they could not be all things to all patients. These days, general practitioners rarely deliver babies, perform surgery, or do their own radiography. In many instances, offices of general practitioners do not even collect samples to send to the laboratory; instead, the patient typically goes to the laboratory to have the sample drawn.

For a similar system to work and be convenient for veterinary clients, there needs to be considerable consolidation in the industry, which is only now starting to take place in earnest. For most small veterinary practices, the examination rooms are the profit centers that drive the practice. Performing other duties in the clinic, even such things as radiography and surgery, are often only marginally profitable, and sometimes are actually money-losing ventures when a true profit-center analysis is done.

Currently, less than 2% of practices in the Iran are corporate and without compelling evidence that they are leveraging hospital numbers to attain true economies of scale and scope. Whether this will change as more and more hospitals are added or assimilated has yet to be determined.

Efficient models of veterinary practice have veterinarians performing the duties for which they are best suited and working in a collaborative fashion with other professionals to deliver more comprehensive care.
Even in a two-doctor model, it will always be more efficient if one doctor is performing surgeries all day while the other is seeing clinical cases all day, rather than each doctor alternating between clinical and surgical duties. It is even more efficient if separate services are run as distinct profit centers. This would allow veterinarians to charge on the basis of their costs and not spread the costs of all hospital operations across the total client base. In too many veterinary hospitals, certain services (e.g., surgery) are subsidized by other services (e.g., pharmacy or laboratory), such that neither is appropriately priced to the consumer (one is unfairly high and the other is unfairly low). This, in turn, invites competition for the service that is priced unfairly high.
Similarly, with enough general veterinary practitioners in a given hospital setting, there are economies of scale to permit the functioning of separate profit centers at fair prices to consumers and fair remuneration for practicing veterinarians.

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