The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) sets a standard of excellence for veterinary practices across the United States that holds its accredited member hospitals accountable to a veterinary university standard in all manner of practice: medicine, surgery, sterility, medical record keeping, cleanliness, OSHA compliance, employee compensation and benefits, etc. Consideration for AAHA accreditation is voluntary.
If this is not mandatory, why on earth would any veterinary practice subject themselves to the expense and work necessary to pass the audit and inspection process to become and remain AAHA compliant? The answer is that it is absolutely worth it for dedication doctors, veterinarians, and practice managers, to know that their work place follows all of the best practices of veterinary medicine that translates into the best possible outcomes for our animal patients and the human families that love them and entrust us with their care.
In my practices fourth year of AAHA accreditation, the positive changes that have resulted are invaluable. The prestige alone of being an AAHA accredited veterinary clinic draws the best talent to assemble a top notch veterinary medical team. All of our reagents and solutions are clearly labelled complete with strengths and concentrations. The treatment areas, exam rooms, dental suite, and operating room are impeccably organized and sanitized. The waiting room is partitioned for maximum comfort for the clients and ample space for the pets. Our medical records are hyper-accurate and are audited daily to ensure that all exams, procedures, treatments, hospitalizations, and owner correspondence are documented.
Theese items are just the tip of the iceberg for what AAHA offers my veterinary practice. We have real time guidance for industry standards for employee wages and benefit packages, on boarding new veterinarians and veterinary technicians, assistance with our employee manual, and setting appropriate fee schedules for our services.
It is not that any practice owner or veterinarian does not want excellence in their practice. It is just that the every day grind of veterinary practice over time unintentionally causes us to lose focus of the standard we all adhered to as students and interns in the veterinary teaching hospitals, the sum total of all of the little things that add up a gold standard. AAHA serves as a constant reminder of the best practices that prevents veterinary clinics from losing that focus.
We do not view our work to maintain our AAHA accreditation as any sort of burden but instead take pride in maintaining the necessary standard. It is enjoyable to know that in our careers we get to work in a manner that always strives to attain the highest possible standards of care and professionalism.
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality throughout a number of subjects and platforms. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.