The veterinary clinic “curbside model” is one in which the public has restricted access to a veterinary clinic due to the coronavirus pandemic and the necessity to maintain social distance. The public drops off and picks up their companion animals and stay out of the clinic and the exam room. It is also called a “concierge service”. It minimises people entering the veterinary clinic or hospital thereby reducing the spread of Covid-19.
At Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic they have decided to stick with the curbside model, as they describe it, for the following reason. They say that in following state and local health department directives on Covid-19 they have to stick with this style of delivering their service because when they work with patients i.e. the cats and dogs and other animals, they don’t wear face coverings. Therefore they cannot allow the animals’ human caretakers in the building while operating within the directives of the health departments. They say that it’s important for people to telephone in advance to make an appointment rather than driving up and trying to catch the attention of staff inside the facility.
They also point out that this method of interacting with their clients and patients is not their ideal because their top priority to provide a high quality professional service with a “personal touch”. The personal touch element of the service is necessarily limited in the curbside model. Despite that I’m sure that their clients fully appreciate it and understand.
Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic is a high quality veterinary practice committed to providing first class care.
Multifarious adjustments to be made
The curbside model does not only require people to hand over their pets outside of the facility, there are many other adjustments to be made. For example, at the Cuyahoga Falls clinic they have found it necessary to add a further landline because the phone lines have been too busy. Nowadays there is much more emphasis on communicating via phone and text messages in order to keep a social distance.
There is also a necessity to have somebody go out to the vehicle to bring the animal into the clinic and, it seems, manage the parking. Cuyahoga Falls clinic have also added Holly to their team who, as I understand it, helps with this area of reception outside of the facility.
And they’re going to expand their parking lot. They need more spaces for a growing team and a growing clientele.
Examination without the owner
There is an interesting discussion about how a veterinarian should examine a companion animal in the consultation room without the owner being present.
The Today’s Veterinary Practice website states that a veterinarian should examine the patient as if the owner is in the room. This is done by communicating through the phone verbally or via text messages. The examination is done as normal except that the client is not physically present and in close proximity.
The parking lot
It may be necessary for the client to wait in the parking lot while treatment is carried out and in which case the vehicle should not interfere with curbside drop-off arrangements.
As mentioned, a member of the veterinary team should be designated to meet the animal’s owner at their car to bring animal inside. The parking lot needs to be mnanaged. It appears to have become a more important part of the business because it’s being used more often and for longer periods of time.
The importance of good communication
Without face-to-face discussions it’s important that communication is dealt with effectively on the phone and via text messages. There is an automatic barrier in the communication process without face-to-face discussions. It’s important that these other forms of communication are used professionally and effectively to overcome the loss of benefit in face-to-face discussions.
You wonder whether there will be a lasting impact of the prolonged curbside model. What I mean is that veterinary practices may alter their procedures in the long-term having set up what are quite profound changes to their normal operation. There may be advantages in the client not coming into the facility which is discovered during this period.