The Secret to a Care Membership Plan That Actually Works

“We made our goal. And we not only helped our staff with the financial discussions, but we actually started making a difference in the pets’ lives.”

Traditional wellness plans and pet insurance policies are often limited, causing friction between vet teams and their clients — and getting in the way of quality care.

Unlike most wellness plans and pet insurance, Otto Care can be used toward any expenses. No deductibles, no reimbursements, and no exclusions. Our plans were thoughtfully designed to fit the routine or unexpected needs of virtually every pet. The flexibility and exclusive member savings create more accessible, affordable care for pet parents and pets.

But the journey to get there wasn’t easy.

Shawna Castillo, Otto Care Director sat down with Summer Burke-Irmiter, one of the Hospital Administrators and Owners of Adobe Animal Hospital, and Christina Freeman, the Remote Manager at Adobe Animal Hospital to discuss the evolution care membership programs at their hospital on a live webinar.

The team at Adobe Animal Hospital had set their sights on implementing a loyalty program way before it was a hot topic in veterinary medicine. 15 years ago they began their journey in the search for the perfect care program. In this blog, we’ll review the highlights of their conversation.

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The quest for the perfect care plan

“We actually tried several times to create our own plans. And that’s where, unfortunately, we kept hitting roadblock after roadblock. We knew what we wanted but it was difficult because we allow all of our doctors to practice the medicine they feel is best for their patients,” says Summer. Adobe Animal Hospital has very few strict rules surrounding medical offerings, as a result, crafting a flexible care membership proved to be difficult.

Ultimately the goals of the care membership program were to change the conversation about finances to increase client compliance, to fit the way each doctor wanted to practice, and to work across any species.

The team searched for existing loyalty programs, they worked to create their own, and ultimately they ended up reaching out to Otto, previously known as Otto, to collaborate on the creation of a new kind of care program.

Shawna shares, “we had a very traditional Care plan offering, what you would know as wellness plans in vet med, where you were very specific in the services that were being offered. You know, honestly, they’re kind of a dime a dozen in vet med.” Otto decided to team up with Adobe to uncover the real challenges with traditional care programs to bring a solution that worked for modern veterinary practices.

Summer commented, “They were like, ’Okay, let’s do it. Let’s get some people together, let’s get a meeting every week, let’s figure this out.’ And Otto never had a vendor, especially a technical vendor who has been such a partner in this. And that I think is kind of where it started is, ’Okay, let’s get in this together, and let’s figure this out.’ So, that’s kind of how 1.0 launched.”

Otto began a deep dive conducting internal research, having one-on-one calls with clinics, talking to the staff at Adobe and collecting every piece of information they could get their paws on to understand what clinics really needed out of a care plan.

“Care 1.0” enters the scene

Otto worked closely with the Adobe team to launch what the team internally referred to as “Care 1.0”. The program was exactly what Adobe asked for, but it was too complicated and didn’t work well for every species of pet. Adobe kept running into new roadblocks with Care 1.0. The program was complex and it was proving difficult to scale.

Shawna notes, “This is kind of a fatal flaw of a lot of traditional wellness plans in vet med, is that it has this one very specific definition of wellness, right?”. Christina shares the final blow for Care 1.0 at Adobe, “the very first client that I checked out, and I just remember my heart crashing. You know, I go in the room with a client via video, and I am so excited. She was our very first adopter of Care 1.0, and she was here for her visit. And as I’m going through her invoice, she literally used every single service on her plan. So, now what? She’s gonna continue to pay for 11 more months and come to the hospital for things, and there’s not gonna be anything that her Care plan gets for her. So, we went back to the drawing board very quickly.”

The team had made a lot of progress but unfortunately Care 1.0 still wasn’t flexible enough to meet the needs of modern veterinary practice. The team had come this far though, they were not giving up. They put their heads back together to make changes. Shawna recalls, “…on our end, we did a ton of research. We interviewed dozens of practices who were offering a very traditional solution. We had hundreds, and I’m not even being hyperbolic about that, hundreds of conversations between the three of us about what this could be.”

Otto Care’s customizable membership programs give clinics the flexibility to create membership programs that match the way they practice medicine.

After extensive research Shawna returned to the Adobe team with some suggested changes. They were simple, but they made all the difference. The Adobe team spent time running scenarios, trying to poke holes in the program (as they had done with all the others) but it just worked. Otto Care was born.

Otto Care Emerges as a Revolutionary Solution

Otto Care, or Care 2.0, as it was called internally emerged as the winning solution for Adobe. The fully customizable membership program allowed Adobe to customize what was included in their membership program. It gave them the ability to offer three tiers of membership to meet the needs of every pet parent. Old pet? Young pet? Pet with a pre-existing condition? Multi-pet household? Care was flexible enough to provide value to them all.

Instead of restrictive spending rules, Care gave pet parents access to instant spending accounts. This meant pet parents could spend their account credit on anything. This flexibility changed the financial conversation and made it easier for clients to comply with recommended care. Shawna shares, “We looked at average transaction per client numbers for Care clients versus non-Care. And in the same three-month period that we compared, and this is not just Adobe, this is all of our practices at the time, we saw a lift in ATC of nearly 60% for those Care members versus non-Care members in that three-month timeframe”. Care flipped the financial conversation from presenting a high quote to providing a flexible payment solution.

Otto Care was flexible enough to work for both general practice and specialty practices. It even included 24/7 teletriage, which was not in the original set of requirements, which was especially exciting to Adobe. During COVID Adobe had opened up their chat lines to support pet parents after hours. Clients loved the extra support and the Adobe team liked being there for their clients during their times of need. But as practice got back to normal those late-night chats had to get cut back.
Summer says “And I was like, “So, not only does this meet all of our goals, it meets our culture of having a plan that takes better care of the patients.” And so, that sold me.” Shawna noted that data indicates nearly 80% of pet parents who are enrolled in the Care program have used teletriage.

Long-term bonus discounts have also been an important loyalty driver for Adobe.

Christina shared, “one of the clients recently, she said, ’I’m able to be a better owner to my pet because of Care.’ And at that, I lost it because we did it. We made our goal. And we not only helped our staff with the financial discussions, but we actually started making a difference in the pets’ lives.”

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