Forty-five prominent leaders in the veterinary profession will gather next month at AVMA headquarters to take part in the 2013 AVMA Veterinary Workforce Summit. An outgrowth of the recently released AVMA 2013 U.S. Veterinary Workforce Study, this first-ever summit will bring together representatives from across the veterinary spectrum in an effort to develop and standardize a process of data collection and analysis that will provide the veterinary services industry with the best, unbiased information needed to increase industry performance.
The workforce study estimated that there is a 12.5 percent excess capacity in veterinary services. While excess capacity is a normal state in many professions, we need to determine what it means in relation to the veterinary profession. At this point, we don’t know why excess capacity exists. Many people have various theories and hypotheses, but no analytic evidence exists to prove or disprove any of them.
That’s why this workforce summit and what comes out of it are so important. We need that analytic evidence to help us answer our questions about excess capacity and to help us get a clearer picture of the current and future state of veterinary economics.
So where are we going to start? On what areas are we going to focus? Here’s a sampling of what we need:
- An accurate accounting of the number of current veterinarians.
- An accurate count of the number of veterinarians entering and exiting the profession.
- Better financial data from clinical practices, especially when it comes to variable and fixed costs.
- Better, more accurate estimates on the number of animal owners in the U.S. and the number of animals they own.
By answering these questions and many more, we hope to chart a new course that will allow us to accurately gauge what’s happening economically in veterinary medicine. We believe that having more reliable data will help us determine where excess capacity exists, why it exists and what effect it has on the way veterinarians do business. The more information we have, the better we can answer questions and develop strategies that will strengthen and enhance the profession we all care so much about.
What are your thoughts? Click on the “Leave a Reply” button above to share your insight.