Forward Booking

An Alliance that Benefits YOU

As you know, TVMA is a proud Associate Member of Partners for Healthy Pets (PHP) and we are very pleased to announce a collaborative program between PHP, Veterinary Medical Association Executives (VMAE) and TVMA. We believe this initiative will have a significant impact on the health of your patients and your practice.


This collaborative program focuses on the importance of forward booking, which simply means scheduling all patients’ next appointments before they leave your practice, regardless of the reason for their current visit. This includes medical progress exams and preventive healthcare exams. Forward booking ensures your patients receive the highest quality of care at the right time.

You have probably been hearing about and maybe even considering implementing forward booking in your practice but are not quite sure how to get started.

We can help you!

To get started, visit the forward booking section on the Partners for Healthy Pets website Download the document titled, “The Key to Forward Booking Appointments: Unlock the Potential of a Best Practice For Your Practice.” This gives you a simple, step-by-step approach to how to use the handful of tools available to you to provide your practice team with the skills necessary to be successful. Ready. Set. Forward Book!

By using these tools, you can easily implement forward booking in your practice. The result? Healthier patients and a healthier practice!

Webinars + Coaching Sessions

January 11 – Why Forward Booking? Webinar
A webinar will be available January 11 for veterinarians and team members with Dr. Karen Felsted on the rationale for and benefits of forward booking. The webinar provides the background on forward booking — and sets the stage for the coaching calls with Dr. Felsted in late January and February, designed to help veterinary teams overcome any barriers in implementing forward booking. Click here to view the webinar. 

Coming Soon…Coaching Sessions with Dr. Karen Felsted
VMAE is providing the opportunity for veterinary practices to engage with Karen Felsted, CPA, MS, DVM, CVPM, CVA in four live coaching sessions. These conference calls will be held on January 31, February 14, 21, or 28 at 1 PM EST to answer questions about implementing forward booking in practices. Click here to register.

Order FREE Buttons for Your Team!
These buttons can prompt questions and help create awareness about the importance of forward booking. Buttons are available at no charge, thanks to Partners for Healthy Pets, and will be shipped to you in five-button packets (two cat and three dog). To order, email and include the number of button packets you wish to receive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does forward booking work? Below are a few Q&A about forward booking from Alpine Animal Hospital, a thriving, AAHA- accredited mixed animal practice with five veterinarians and 12 staff members. Mary Fox, MBA, who characterizes Carbondale, CO, as “a fabulous town” and serves as Alpine’s hospital administrator, recently shared her observations about successfully implementing forward booking into the protocols and culture of their hospital.

A: It was a process, and it took some time because part of it was spending time with the staff to figure out practice goals and values, and how we express them in a positive way. We quickly learned that if we talked about forward booking in isolation and didn’t attach it to preventive healthcare, the staff thought it seemed pushy. Once we got staff buy-in that they were acting in the best interest of the patients, they started to feel comfortable and confident talking about forward booking.

A: First, the staff did not want to be “pushy salespeople.” Second, communication in the practice needed improvement. The front desk often did not know what the next step was in the preventive healthcare process so we improved the communication between our receptionists and our exam room team. We now use the code “RTG” in our software system, which stands for “Ready To Go.” No patient can leave without that code, and next to the code the doctor indicates the next steps in the patient’s healthcare.

A: We’re right in the middle of evaluating the process of how we want to remind our clients. We have a new communication platform, which starts with an email reminder, then goes to a text, then a call. Once the appointment is confirmed, the client doesn’t receive any other messages. Because we use all mediums (email, text, phone), a lot fewer cards go out, which saves us time and money. In the beginning, the staff was very tentative about asking for client email addresses. It’s taken about a year, but now they say to clients, “and your email address is…” without becoming apologetic.

What has also been important is for our staff to be unafraid of saying to the client what the patient needs. The best care for the pet should not be posed as a question, rather it’s “here’s what’s best for your pet.” You have to believe in providing the best care and then it’s natural to say, “let’s schedule that exam” instead of asking for permission.

A: 90% there! It took two years because our goal is to help our staff understand that we’re all in this together. It’s really a switch in practice culture, which will have a longer lasting effect than just dictating protocols to the staff.

A: Have definite, purposeful goals that will bring your team together – Why are we here? What do we want our culture to be? Then, build it out and ask, “How do we accomplish this?” Sure enough, you circle back to where you started and the initial things that were difficult to implement, you either find they fit in or they don’t and you reject them. We are always trying to do things better.