At Oculus Insights we care a lot about horses, but we care more about the health of your business and our profession. Oculus Insights provides veterinary business management, consulting, performance coaching and education services to help you to keep your practice sound, safe and fit to compete. Not only are we equine veterinarians, but we are also business specialists with advanced business training and a wide range of real world experiences in managing equine veterinary practices. Looking at your business is a lot like examining a horse with a lack of propulsion, lameness, or fitness. We use our diagnostic business tools to understand why your practice is not performing as well as expected. With a sound diagnosis based on all the different findings we can create an evidence-based business treatment plan that is personalized to your business.
The Oculus Team
Mike Pownall DVM, MBA
My wife, Dr. Melissa McKee, and I started McKee-Pownall Equine Services, in 2002. We have grown to include 3 equine clinics in the Toronto, Ontario area. Even as a veterinary student I had a strong interest in the business side of veterinary practice. I realized that having a strong business foundation in a hospital, or clinic would enable us to provide the best veterinary care, to our patients. We felt that we can’t offer excellent care if the business is struggling to pay its bills, or can’t afford the right diagnostic equipment because of poor financial management, or if there is high staff turnover because of a poor work environment. Good business leads to good medicine, it’s as simple as that.
In 2015 I became a principal of Oculus Insights, a business education company that offers various business education opportunities to veterinarians of all species. I started this blog and podcast as a way to share experiences and insights to those interested in the business side of veterinary care. Too often we live our lives looking inwards so it is nice to hear how others in the profession find business success.
We are always looking to help others in the veterinary profession, so let me know how we can help.
Joop Loomans graduated at the Veterinary Faculty of Utrecht University the Netherlands in 1988. The first thirteen years of his career he was an associate and later partner in an eight vet mixed practice in the east of the Netherlands. His main field of interest was equine and large animal practice with a special focus on management. In 2001 Joop was asked to join the Department of Equine Sciences at Utrecht University to lead and grow the Equine Ambulatory Clinic. Another mission was to perform scientific research on the social and economic situation of equine veterinarians, including market research in the field of (semi) professional horse owners. This resulted in many submitted scientific articles in international peer reviewed veterinary journals, lectures all around the world and a doctoral thesis entitled: “The equine veterinarian: past present and prospects of a profession”. With Bob Magnus, Joop initiated and organized “Equine Business Management Strategies International” in Europe. Bringing together equine veterinarians from different parts of the world and discussing subjects with well-known international experts from other industries does not only increase the awareness, but also provide practical business solutions for all attendants. In 2010 Joop was asked by the management of the Department of Equine Sciences, Utrecht University to perform a fact finding mission at Heilan International Equestrian Club in China. This resulted in a long time relationship. Joop is designer and Chief Veterinarian of the newly build first western equine clinic in mainland China and team veterinarian for the Jiangsu province eventing, show-jumping and dressage teams. Furthermore Joop is founder and director of Loomans International Veterinary Expertise, a networking and consultancy firm for the equestrian industry. He is advising horse related industries from all over the world on entering the Chinese market. Together with Bob Magnus and Chuck Johnson, Joop started the Oculus Insights Group, a global company providing business resources, novel tools, education and market research for healthcare professionals.
Robert Magnus is an accomplished senior executive and thought leader with over thirty years in the veterinary health care and business consulting industries. He is the founder and past CEO of Wisconsin Equine Clinic & Hospital, a full-service nationally renowned equine referral hospital and ambulatory practice established in 1992. Starting this business as a solo practitioner, he guided the growth of this practice to include over twelve veterinarians and twenty-five support staff. In 2005 he founded Equine Business Management Strategies LLC, an executive business education program for the equine veterinary industry. Robert joined the business consulting firm, Oculus Insights LLP with two colleagues; Mike Pownall from Canada and Joop Loomans from Holland. Together this team has expanded business education offerings on a global level to the veterinary profession beyond North America including Europe, Australia, New Zealand and China. The Oculus scope of services has grown to include; full operational management services, business project consulting, HR management services, meeting facilitation, and animal health industry B2B collaboration. The driving forces are to utilize insights, evidence-based business concepts, and our experiences to implement positive outcomes for our clients.
Robert enjoys sharing his passion for learning and enthusiasm for business with his peers. He has presented multiple times for the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Annual Convention and other national programs on topics such as: Benchmarking & Performance Metrics, Marketing in Practice, Value Drivers, Growth Strategies, The Business News Hours, Pricing Strategies, Business Case Reports, Wellness Programs, and more. He has published on the use of Financial Statements in Practice, Marketing Your Practice, Management by Fire, Prescription Management and other pressing issues in the marketplace.
Internationally, Robert has presented on the topics of Negotiation Training, Marketing Strategy, Benchmarking, Dashboards, KPIs, Operational Metrics, Improving Profitability, and Preparing Your Practice for The Future. Currently Robert serves on several boards including as Chairman of the Board for a select group of practices Oculus offers management services for in the United States. He is the Managing Partner of Oculus Insights – North America and may be reached at bmagnus@OculusInsights.net
Managing a veterinary business is becoming more challenging. Veterinarians tells us that they are worried about staying relevant in the face of corporate groups adding new competitive threats, or because their practice has become too big to be managed with their skill set. After all, we became vets to work with animals, not examine spreadsheets, or create strategic plans. Oculus Insights offers complete management services for those practices that want to focus on what they love – veterinary medicine. We handle your Human Resources, Financial Management, Accounts Receivables, Growth Strategies, Marketing, Negotiating Equipment and Pharmaceutical purchases, and more. We work with you to maintain your practice independence and reputation while relieving the headache of practice management.
Ask any practice owner and they will tell you that managing people is their biggest challenge, yet veterinary medicine is a “people business”. Having great and engaged staff makes everybody’s life a lot easier, more rewarding, boosts client satisfaction and increases professional and economic outcome. In other words, well managed human resources are the key to success.
Oculus Insights has developed a human resource management system focused on our veterinary profession. We establish HR protocols, perform appraisals, determine the best compensation system for veterinarians and staff, hire the best people and even fire those people that just aren’t working out. We have even created a tool that can measure employee engagement in your practice to tell if you are heading in the right direction for a happy workforce, loyal clients and increased profitability.
Depending on the strategy, size, direction of your practice and your own goals you might want to take on the management of your veterinary practice yourself. Oculus Insights is available for special projects for practices or individuals such as strategy, facilitate mergers and acquisitions, support with personal business decisions, or the eventual sale of your practice. We can work with you to maximize the value of your practice, so you can get the best financial return in the quickest amount of time. We also offer support through our educational programs or Performance Coaching for those veterinarians or staff members that need help to break past what is holding them back from being an outstanding contributor to your business.
The backbone of our educational programs is the Oculus Veterinary Business Summit in both the USA and Europe. These are immersive programs that take deep dives into subjects that are timely and relevant to our profession. We use professional educators and industry specialists to ensure an immersive experience that will leave energized and motivated about your business.
For in depth education on a specific subject we offer Oculus Insights Workshops. These are either stand-alone events, or related to existing professional conferences taught by specialists on the subjects. Popular subjects include Inventory Management, Preparing your Business to Sell, Negotiations, and Leadership.