Building a better understanding of the referral process—from what’s working to what needs work—is the foundation that will drive the development of VetSOAP’s education and outreach plan.

In 2014, VetSOAP embarked on a journey to learn everything possible about referral dynamics in veterinary medicine as a means to identify gaps hindering optimal collaboration.

We view this research process as one which is no different than how we would proceed when presented with a diseased patient, meaning that: Phase I is the history and physical exam (i.e. the white paper); Phase II is diagnostic testing to fill in the gaps (i.e. the qualitative step); and Phase III is the diagnosis and treatment.

Ultimately, we expect to find a clear correlation between the health of companion animals and the frequency and timeliness of collaboration between primary care veterinarians and specialists. In addition, we anticipate the results will demonstrate that those practices that routinely collaborate are also healthier practices, have more loyal clientele, and thus, hold greater value. We have already seen smaller studies that validate these hypotheses and we will share them here when they become available.