Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vet Communication Differs Depending on Type of Visit

A new study conducted by the Argus Institute at Colorado State University indicates veterinarians communicate differently with clients depending on whether the visit is a problem appointment - one related to a health concern - or a wellness appointment - general check-up.

The Argus Institute found that in wellness appointments, veterinarians focus more on building a relationship with their clients. They try to engage pet owners to take part in their pet's care and to express their opinions during appointments. Vets also tend to talk in a different tone in these visits with more laughter, compliments, reassurance, and social talk.

During problem appointments, vets tend to focus mainly on medical issues. The tone of the appointment is one of stress as many clients are emotionally distressed and anxious and vets are perceived as being in a hurry.

Additionally, the Argus Institute reports that when vets use a paternal communication style in problem appointments, potential negative consequences could ensue for the pet, the client, and the veterinarian. Specifically, Jane Shaw, DMV, Ph.D., and director of the Argus Institute says, "We know that paternalism is not an effective approach in gaining results. Without engaging the client in a conversation about their pet and obtaining their opinion, they aren't as likely to follow through with home care. They also are not as likely to build a strong relationship - and subsequent loyalty - to their veterinarian."

A strong relationship between a client and a veterinarian is important because vets are more likely to get complete and accurate information from clients about their pets and be able to diagnose problems more easily. Clients are more likely to follow at-home care recommendations when vets encourage them to participate in their pet's care as well.

Dr. Shaw recommends veterinarians ask open-ended questions during appointments to encourage clients to open up about their pets.


Cat Channel: Vet Communication Depends on Visit

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