Have you ever said, “Aaha,” when you’ve discovered something of value that you’ve long been searching for? We believe this exclamation describes Loving Family Animal Hospital, but in our case, “aaha” refers to the quality of medicine we practice, and AAHA refers to the American Animal Hospital Association.
We have proudly been AAHA-accredited since 2012. Unlike human hospitals, veterinary hospitals are not required to be accredited, but may voluntarily submit to the accreditation process, to ensure they measure up to the highest possible standards of medicine. Because of our commitment to providing excellent care to your pets, we were named AAHA Practice of the Year for 2017, a prestigious annual award conferred on one clinic that best exemplifies the standards AAHA sets forth.
History of AAHA
In 1933, a group of seven veterinarians founded AAHA to encourage veterinary clinics to strive for excellence in the medicine they practice. Today, AAHA remains the only organization accrediting veterinary clinics, and is a leader in developing and maintaining guidelines that set the benchmark for the practice of veterinary medicine.
Receiving AAHA accreditation
Achieving the coveted status of an AAHA-accredited veterinary facility requires dedication to providing high quality veterinary care, and the motivation to settle for nothing short of excellence. Fewer than 15% of U.S. and Canadian clinics have achieved this designation. The initial accreditation process takes several months, culminating in a three- to six-hour review of the practice by an AAHA practice consultant. At the end of the review, the clinic is either granted accreditation status, or given feedback regarding areas of improvement needed, so their next accreditation visit can be successful. In preparation for accreditation, the practice carefully examines their current practices and protocols, to determine if they meet AAHA standards, and if not, implement the necessary changes. The veterinary team members invest many hours in preparing for the evaluation, which ecompasses more than 900 standards broken down into the following categories:
- Emergency and critical care
- Human resources
- Housekeeping and maintenance
- Contagious disease
- Pain management
- Client services
- Medical records
- Diagnostic imaging
- Patient care
- Continuing education
- Referral standards
- Examination facilities
- Laboratory and pharmacy
These standards allow a comprehensive look at the clinic operation as a whole, from the way the exam rooms are disinfected, to the anesthetic drugs and pain management protocols used for surgery. To maintain the accreditation status, this evaluation is repeated every three years, to ensure clinics demonstrate continued commitment to upholding the AAHA standards. Because these standards are modified to reflect current industry standards, ongoing adherence ensures clinics are practicing cutting edge, quality medicine, rather than relying on potentially outdated information.
AAHA also provides guidelines on topics such as vaccinations, care for geriatric pets, dentistry, or treatment and management of disease conditions and behavioral problems. Abiding by the guidelines is not required for accreditation, unlike the standards. Rather, the AAHA guidelines help veterinary clinics develop an evidence-based approach to common situations they may encounter as they care for their patients, and stay informed of the latest advances in the field.
Advantages of an AAHA-accredited practice
As a client of an accredited practice, such as Loving Family Animal Hospital, you can rest assured that we take your beloved pet’s health extremely seriously, and will offer nothing but the best care. Everything we do—be it surgery, X-rays, vaccinations or disease management—is performed according to AAHA’s extensively researched and up-to-date standards and guidelines. An AAHA-accredited practice attracts veterinary team members who are passionate about practicing high quality medicine, and provides the support and equipment they need to reach their full potential. In turn, your pet benefits from treatment by highly skilled individuals, who are equipped to use their talents and knowledge for your pet’s good. It is no wonder that a 2016 Trone Brand Energy survey revealed that 85% of pet owners familiar with AAHA accreditation prefer to entrust their pet’s care to an AAHA-accredited hospital, and 63% of pet owners would drive further to an AAHA-accredited hospital.
The next time you visit Loving Family Animal Hospital, ask us about our AAHA accreditation. We are proud of the dedication to high quality medicine that this designation signifies, and would be happy to share more about our decision to join the elite ranks of AAHA-accredited veterinary hospitals.