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Reaching out to other practitioners can serve as a valuable tool for your practice and clients. Sharing ideas, offering advice and seeking or providing specialty services not only benefits the practices involved, but the clients reap the benefits.
Making it Work
Dr. Latta says trust and transparency between practitioners is critical.
“You develop trust, so you don’t fear the practitioner to which you refer is going to grab up your clients and steal them. That’s not an issue,” he says.
When making a referral, he says, you must share every detail.
“Don’t leave something out,” he says. “You may have messed something up really good. If you ask another practitioner to help and you don’t share all of your information, he’ll give advice based on the information he has, and it may be wrong. You may set him up to look bad.”
And, a simple “thank you” goes a long way, Dr. Latta says.
“Send a card or e-mail, or even take them to dinner,” he says. “A real thank you is very important.”
In order to locate a veterinarian within your area you can trust, Dr. Latta recommends contacting your local and state veterinary associations, or the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) or the Academy of Veterinary Consultants.
And, when getting the advice of someone new to you, securing more than one opinion can be an asset, Dr. Blankenship says.
“If you look up someone’s name for advice without knowing them well, be careful relying only on that one source for all of your information,” he says. “You have to somewhat build a relationship with your source of information. So, when you begin gathering advice, it may be advisable to bounce a question off of multiple specialists. Pool your answers. Weigh each one. And, do your own research, too.”
No matter how long you’ve been in practice, Dr. Latta says, a network of professionals is always an asset.
“I’ve been in practice for more than 40 years, and I still have a list of about ten veterinarians I call when I’m stumped,” he says. “I’m never embarrassed to call them.”
It could be someone within your practice, down the road or across the country. When it comes to locating another practitioner with whom to collaborate, there’s nothing to fear.
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