Phase 2:
Investigational Research


In an effort to further uncover issues, concerns, and dynamics within collaboration, CCC (then VetSOAP) initiated our qualitative research phase with “Immersive Discussion Boards.” This phase of the research was conducted using an online “chat room” type technology in an effort to engage primary care veterinarians (pcDVMs) independently, and still, gather group responses to certain questions. Respondents could complete an entire qualitative study at their own convenience, generating a remarkable amount of strategic business data on collaborative concepts, processes, and even case analysis.

The project was designed so the initial Q&A was one-on-one (perceptions, experiences, observations). Then, we provided areas for discussion on the topics below among pcDVMs. Finally, we introduced discussion questions to the entire panel of respondents, allowing interaction within the category. Much of the data discovered in this qualitative process was used to help CCC formulate a path forward for future phases of research.

To give you an idea of some of what the group of pcDVMs revealed:

Initiating Referral

Respondents exhaust their own diagnostics to draw their own diagnosis/conclusions before making a referral. Reasons include:

  • Ability to work on complex cases increased job satisfaction for pcDVMs.
  • Want to ensure they refer to correct specialty.
  • Desire maintenance of expert status with the client.


  • The pcDVM sees referral costing the client money and desires to save the client money by running their own diagnostics.

Referral Communications

  • Respondents indicated improvement in recent years. However, before, during, and after referral communication, pcDVM preferences vary.
  • Early dialogue with the pcDVM once specialist has seen a patient is critical.
  • Inclusion and opportunity to learn more appear as key elements in strengthening referral relationship.

pcDVM Pet Owner Assumptions

  • Respondents showed a strong emotional connection to their responsibility to the client and patient.
  • Responses reinforced pcDVM personal perspective and historical relationship with the client can influence the course of action.
  • pcDVM believe treatment recommendations are not altered based on perception of client’s ability to pay.