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BSAVA Congress
Better practice by design

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A practice's image can reflect the quality of the veterinary medicine it carries out, according to Wayne Usiak, an architect from the USA. Speaking at this year's BSAVA congress in Birmingham, Mr Usiak suggested that a good practice image might be achieved by design, and discussed how architecture could make a practice more profitable, green and empathetic. Catherine Jacob reports

MR Usiak founded his company, BDA Architecture, in 1986 to specialise in the design of animal care facilities. Since then, more than 600 designs have been completed in 42 US states and nine countries, and the company has received 27 veterinary economic design awards.

He believed that everyone would agree that being profitable, green and empathetic were important. Profitability was obviously desirable, while the green movement was ‘in full force’ and empathy was ‘something that, when achieved in the veterinary hospital, can help us achieve a lot of our goals’.

Profitability

One of the ways in which a practice could become more profitable was to expand the services that it offered, he said. In the USA, practices sometimes found it hard to retain their clients when a greater number of services were being offered elsewhere. Additional services might include enhanced diagnostics, pathology, dentistry, rehabilitation, boarding and even (‘for the really brave’) grooming. In the 1970s, there had been a movement towards increased retail services within practices in the USA, but this had plateaued in the 1990s; practices were unable to compete with the big pet superstores and a balance had emerged, with practices offering key products such as prescription diets.

Another way of increasing profitability was doing more in less space. The …

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