Welcome to the A-Z Challenge! This year my theme is Pet Health - information for people about their furry, four-legged family members.
When a person walks into a vet clinic for the first time, they are asked to fill out a "client information" sheet, which also includes information regarding their pet information. I cannot tell you how often people get stingy with what information they are willing to provide. We ask nothing that your own physicians would ask you on a form if you yourself were a new patient there. There are reasons the information is requested. And no, it's not to sell your information on the side for a few extra bucks.
We ask for some basic information - Name, Address, Phone Numbers. Hard to believe, but there are people that put only their first name, no address and no phone. Um. Folks, we can't even create a file for you. When that happens, we (receptionists) then have to call you back up to the front desk and ask you for each answer, which really only takes longer. We need your name to create a file. We need your address so we can send you reminders for your pets vaccines. We need your phone numbers should we need to contact you regarding appointment/surgery reminders or changes, or if the doctor needs to speak with you regarding your pet. Not rocket science, folks.
After that, many clinics ask for an email address. Again, we're not asking so we can sell it. We're asking because it's "greener" to send an email that it is to mail you a reminder card. If you choose to not give it, that's fine. If you don't have an email (truly only acceptable for the elderly in this day and age), that's fine. It's not mandatory, but you are saving a stamp and a piece of paper.
Where it really upsets people is when they get to the part regarding their birthdays, driver's license numbers, and Social Security Numbers. With all the identity theft running around, I truly understand that people are hesitant about giving out this information. But don't scoff when told the reason behind it. And don't be rude about it, either. This information is required by the State/Federal governments. If your pet needs a controlled drug like Phenobarbital (to stop seizures), we are required by law to provide this information to the government. You are the one we are handing these drugs over to. Controlled drugs are controlled for a reason. Don't roll your eyes at the receptionist when they tell you why they are asking you for the information, because it only makes you look like an ass. If we don't follow the law, we could be shut down and then you'd have to shop for a new veterinarian.
Some clinics also ask for a credit card to be put on file. Some clients actually like that feature in that in the event of an emergency, we already have the card number on file. This has happened - owners go out of town, have a friend pet-sitting and Fido jumps off the deck and breaks a leg. The owner has the friend take Fido to the vet, calls the vet and explains and says to please run the credit card on file - after they know what's been done and the total, of course. The pet-sitter doesn't have to pay for anything other than the gas to get there. Trust me, the staff isn't going to go on a shopping spree at Tiffany's with your credit card number. If you'd rather just pay cash, that's usually fine. But it's a good idea to have one on file, just in case of an emergency. But please don't get testy with the receptionists - we didn't come up with the form, we're just doing as we're told.
In reality, a veterinary clinic doesn't not ask you anything your own doctor's office wouldn't. Actually, ours are usually less invasive, but people throw more fits if we're doing the asking. Perhaps it's because they don't see it truly as a different version of a "Doctor's Office"? It is a doctor's office. Just a different kind is all.