VML: Providing Information for Clients in Your Practice

Here are some questions for you to consider in planning and budgeting for client information for your physical location or your practice website:

Do you want to directly provide the information to clients, make it available for the taking, or both opportunities?

Do you need materials to occupy people in the waiting room?

Do you need materials written for children accompanying parents?

Practical Considerations

Space: How much space do you have available, and how do you want to allocate it to types of clinical content or referral/partnership information? Display options (samples online) include:

  • Wall Space - Wall-Mounted Display Racks or Posters
  • Counter Space - Free-Standing Displays, Multiple Business Card Holders, etc.
  • Floor Space - Free-Standing displays must be stable around moving pets.
  • Drawer/File Space - Materials are only handed out by practice staff.

Funds: Print materials or ongoing website maintenance must be budgeted as a practice expense. Member discounts generally apply to association-produced brochures. Planning to offer only free materials can be a strategy, but free materials may not be available for those topics you need. Drug or pet company-sponsored materials are often free, but should be reviewed closely to ensure that there is no bias.

Online Materials: If you choose to rely on web-based information, do you have access to high quality, fast printing equipment, with the option to print in color when color is necessary to convey the content?

Promotion: What are your goals in giving out the materials? If you hope to create follow-up or referral contacts, consider ordering customized materials or stamping/labeling the brochures with your practice contact information. This adds cost and staff time, but it may be worth it as a business strategy.

Language and Readability of Material: Materials should make things more understandable for clients. Look for relevant, high-quality images and good use of white space – formal assessment can be done with checklists on assessment of materials. Do you need material in Spanish or other languages?  See Language Spoken at Home demographics from the Census for your area [sample: Wake County data]. The NCSU Libraries has a list of free online Spanish Animal Health Information Resources.

Clinical Content [which species?]

  • Preventive Care
  • Common Conditions
  • Common Procedures
  • Drug Information Resources
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Grief, Euthanasia, Memorial Services [not on display]

Referrals or Partnerships
What decision-making strategy does the practice use to decide what is made available and therefore tacitly or more explicitly endorsed?

  • American Kennel Club - AKC Veterinary Network
  • Animal Licensing Registration Forms
  • Pet Insurance or Other Financial Programs
  • Tertiary Veterinary Services
  • Behaviorists or Trainers
  • Groomers or Boarding [if you do not provide these services in-house]
  • Pet Stores
  • Dog Walkers, Pet Taxis, and other service personnel

Sources of Information

Colleges of Veterinary Medicine

Educational resources for the public are frequently available from colleges of veterinary medicine. They may not be centrally located, so search around the program areas that are relevant to your practice. Samples below:

Government Agencies

Professional Associations

Many organizations provide free online materials and/or offer print versions for sale. Look for headings like "Client Education," "Consumer Information," "Public Information, "Animal Health Information" etc. Samples are listed below.

Coordinating Programs

Published Books or DVDs of Client Education Materials

Samples in the Veterinary Medicine Library include:

Other Information Sources

Consider carefully the source and potential bias of all educational materials. Vendor-produced or vendor-supplied is not the same as vendor-underwritten or supported work produced in collaboration with professional organizations.

Visit the VML's CVM Instruction Support page for other educational materials.

Contact Veterinary Medicine Library Staff for support with exploring any of the considerations mentioned above, or other questions you might have.