VCA Next

2016 vca next review

After the launch of VCA NEXT in 2016, we had unique ideas submitted by employees all over the country and through all divisions of VCA. Here are some highlights of 2016 and what we are currently doing with your ideas:


employees submitted ideas


employess were chosen to present in the 2nd round


employees were selected to the VCA NEXT Championship in Los Angeles


in prizes

Top 11 finalists and top 5 statuses

The 2016 Recap page will allow you to discover the ideas that made it to the final round of VCA NEXT 2016, updates on the status of some of those ideas and overall information about the VCA Innovation Department.

VCA Intranet/Collaboration Network Kevin Salazar


VCA Pawsibilities Erika Ervin


VCA Community Outreach Jeannie Copeland, Jeannette Kallas and Julie Lu

Pilot in q1 2017!

VCA Scheduler Samantha Ciulla

Discovery Phase

Phone Automation System Jenn Simmons

Incubation Phase

Inventory System Crystal Nunn

In Process

RX Linked to WOOFware Dr. Andrea Shaw

In Process

2016 Top Ideas

Below, you can review the innovative and inspiring ideas from the 2016 finalists from both the National and Support Office competitions. Moving forward, VCA NEXT will now hold a single, streamlined competition that unites our entire pack of VCA visionaries, including the Hospitals, Antech, Sound, AVC, CAPNA, Camp Bow Wow, and the Support Office.

Samantha Ciulla

HM at VCA Venice Animal Hospital Venice, CA

VCA Scheduler

STATUS: Discovery phase

The VCA Scheduler would allow each VCA hospital to post the shifts that need to be covered so other VCA hospital employees can take on shifts that need to be filled.

Erika Ervin

HM at Freehold Animal Hospital Freehold, NJ


STATUS: Approved!

Develop and create annual recognition awards that identify VCA employees for outstanding work throughout the year. Through this, we will create quarterly presentations with executives to explain important details about VCA, the great things we are doing as a company and connecting the field with our support office.

Julie Lu, Jeannette Kallas, Jeannie Copeland

PR Strategy & Comp Manager, Payroll Project Manager, VP Payroll Payroll

VCA Community Outreach

STATUS: Pilot in Q1 2017!

In an effort to promote teamwork, engagement and community volunteerism VCA will put together quarterly events for teams to volunteer; i.e. pet shelters, vaccine clinics, dog food giveaways all while wearing a VCA Community Outreach blue t-shirt and Woof hat. This would be a nationwide effort to not only reach volunteer goals but give the entire VCA family an ability to connect with their community and their company.

Kevin Salazar

Corporate Safety Officer Risk Management

VCA’s Collaborative Network (VCN)

STATUS: Incubation Phase

VCN can be thought of as in-house message board that will allow doctors, managers and techs to share ideas and collaborate with each other on a large scale. Doctors will be able to receive advice on medical cases from the best veterinarians in the country. Managers will be able to share their experience from an OSHA inspection to give other nearby managers a heads up. Technicians can share handling techniques with a network of like-minded individuals. VCN will, at long last, provide a platform for collaboration and idea sharing while letting VCA employees feel like they are part of a community.

George Zlenko

Sr. Financial Analyst Corporate Accounting

VCA Minute Clinic

In today’s "on-demand" economy, consumers not only prefer, but expect, immediate provisioning of goods and services. In keeping with this consumer trend, many pet owners either settle for low quality health care, defer, or completely neglect basic treatments for their pets because traditional veterinary options are viewed as expensive, time consuming, or inconvenient. The VCA Minute Clinic is a quick, convenient (no appointment necessary), and affordable option that focuses exclusively on recurring (ex: ear infections), seasonal (ex: ticks), and preventative (ex: rabies immunization) services. Working in partnership with shelters, pet food / supply retailers, and pet hotel / boarding facilities (such as Camp Bow Wow) would bring VCA quality veterinary care to previously underserved and/or untapped markets, from the price-conscious mom to the time-pressed millennial. The VCA Minute Clinic expands our network of exceptional treatment centers, increasing the volume and frequency of interactions with pet owners, ultimately empowering our existing and new customers to obtain the most consistent high quality care for their animals.

Michael Salazar

Sr. Service Desk Analyst IT Service Desk

The Invisible Check-In

Imagine taking your dog to VCA and checking-in just by walking through the door. As you enter, you are greeted with your pet’s picture and name on a welcome screen. You haven’t even sat down yet, but you and your companion are greeted in the lobby by name - without saying a word. Welcome to the future of a seamless client experience, welcome to the future of VCA. With advanced microchip readers (RFID) at the front entrance, your pet’s embedded microchip tag will alert our staff, who smile and greet you affirming your arrival and check-in. We’re using the latest technology to efficiently guide your entire visit with us. This insures your pet is receiving the highest quality of care that you have come to expect from VCA.

Shelly Krieger

Manager, Marketing Analytics Marketing

Get That Picture!

Use the Finding Rover app to help populate patient pictures in WOOFware and to give our clients a tool to help get lost dogs home. First, a patient picture enables the hospital staff to recognize their patients as they come through the door, improving the client experience. Second, by registering on Finding Rover, we add a tool for our clients to find their lost pet. Third, clients who like the app will tell their friends about how their VCA hospital shared it with them creating goodwill and new clients. Finally, these friends could adopt a pet through a shelter partnered with Finding Rover, receive a Free First Exam coupon for VCA and become a new client. I propose to include a procedure during check-in at every appointment, where a picture can be taken using the Finding Rover app and we can help our client register on Finding Rover. The picture can be uploaded to the WOOFware patient record.

Katie King

HM at VCA Elk Grove Animal Hospital Sacramento, CA

Digital Welcome Boards

Digital Welcome board for hospital lobby. Utilizing a TV display, the program would pull information from Woofware arrival and departure queues to welcome clients as they come and go from the hospital with a unique display for their pet, including photos. Real time announcement of new care club members. The hospitals would also be able to include customized content unique to their clients and patients.

Christina Rae Thompson

LVT at VCA Veterinary Specialists Center of Seattle Seattle, WA

Veterinary Assistant Boot Camps

Veterinary Assistant Boot Camps focus on three main areas: Radiology Safety and Positioning, Low Stress Handling and Anesthesia Machine Basics. Licensed veterinary technicians are in short supply and many hospitals are utilizing assistants in expanded roles, often these assistants are former CSR and Kennel staff with limited veterinary experience. Veterinary Assistant Boot Camps are one day events that will provide knowledge and training that can be implemented immediately to help reduce chance of injury to staff and patients. I am currently putting on these events in my region with very positive feedback. This type of training is actively sought after by HM’s and MD’s for their staff, the cost is minimal and it is a wonderful way to promote a positive bond between veterinary support staff and VCA. I feel that these types of events can help to ensure new staff are on the right track to be a part of providing the excellent patient care that VCA is known for and, will in turn, grow dedicated technical staff from within the ranks who will help spread the word that VCA is the premier place to work!

Jenn Simmons

HM at Vancouver Animal Wellness Hospital Vancouver, BC

Practice Management Telephone Automation

STATUS: Incubation Phase

Improving client experience with automated account access through caller ID. Any number linked to a client’s account will automatically launch their profile so anyone picking up the phone will know who they are talking to right away.

Dr. Janet McKim

DVM at VCA Charles Towne Animal Hospital Charleston, SC

VCA Uber

Through a partnership between a ride-sharing service and VCA, we can create a reliable, cost effective, and convenient transportation option for our clients and pets. A ride-sharing service such as Uber currently defines itself as “dog friendly with driver discretion”. VCA would partner with Uber to develop a pet friendly option directing ride requests to an Uber driver who is prepared to transport pets. We will have a “VCA White Glove” service where customers can select our hospitals to transport their pets to our hospitals for an exam for an additional fee. Partnering with Uber compliments our client centric culture of Valued, Connected, Affirmed.

Crystal Nunn

HM att Sugar Land, TX

QUIK SHOT Inventory System

STATUS: In Process

The QUIK SHOT Inventory System will be a promising new app that utilizes existing barcode and QR cod technology to streamline inventory counting and reporting. QUIK SHOT will work by using a smartphone or clinic iPad to scan medication, supplies and pet food. QUIK SHOT will develop in 3 phases: 1) Quarterly Inventory count 2) Scan in Receivables (shipments) and Scan out Sales 3)Auto Replenish and Perpetual inventory: automatically electronically submit orders directly to suppliers to replenish depleted stock. The expected outcome would be timely accurate reporting, better asset management, and never being out of available stock.

Sarah Ramer

Technician Supervisor at VCA York Royalton Animal Hospital North Royalton, OH

VCA Care Club Donation Bank

The Care Club Donation Bank creates a portion of dollars to be used as a fund for our hospitals use for clients that need help paying their bills when our hospitals increase Care Club usage. By increasing the usage of the Care Club package, we can increase client care and revenue.

Tracy Heyland

ROD - Vancouver Vancouver, BC

The Great Exchange

Key employees (PAs, CCRs, DVMs, RVTs) are selected to participate in a VCA/AVC wide exchange program. The primary focus is to reward exceptional team members with a valuable hands-on learning experience, while strengthening relationships between practices, building community, and elevating the standard of care in all practices. We recognize that current models for continuing education are limited in scope and practicality, and that we can all benefit by capitalizing on our individual talents, and sharing knowledge. The program would be overseen by a team who would help match selected employees with practices capable of providing the appropriate experience. The program could be funded by existing CE allowances, and program coordinators would seek approval for CE credit for employees participating in an exchange. This program directly honors our cultural values of Team Development and Advancement, Innovation, and Superior Patient Care. Indirectly, this program positively affects Client Experience (by sharing practical ways of providing and exceptional experience), Industry Stability (by engaging and retaining key individuals), and Community Leadership.

Pamela Tran

Veterinary Assistant at VCA Emergency Animal Hospital ∓ Referral Center San Diego, CA

VCA Face to Face

A video chat app for patients, pet parents, and veterinarians that is exclusively for VCA Hospitals and their clients. Through a face-to-face system, our hospitals can video chat with clients who have dropped off their pets and cannot be there in person. Unlike Telemedicine now, clients can drop off their pets in the morning, and use telemedicine to do the consult with the pet in the room with the doctor and the owner can be virtually consulted via VCA Face to Face. Doctors can communicate with specialists for referral cases and consultations. Interns and externs can even participate in hospital rounds and even watch certain procedures all from their hand-held device. The possibilities are endless for VCA Face to Face.

Dr. Andrea Shaw

DVM at VCA Santa Anita Animal Hospital Monrovia, CA

Prescription Refills Linked to Home Delivery

STATUS: In Process

Expanding home delivery and prescription refills by connecting WOOFware, VetSource and a new Pet Portal. This easy to use system will increase compliance due to reoccurrence, reduce errors and keep clients from going to outside pharmacies.

What they are saying

I was fortunate enough to participate in VCA NEXT 2016. It was an exciting and rewarding experience- from having an opportunity to submit my idea all the way through the awards ceremony at the support office. The guidance and support I received from my group, the judges and the support office was unmatched. One may think that having to present in front of the VCA executives is intimidating, but it is quite the opposite. Everyone was inviting, down to earth, and easy to speak to. The experience is something I will not forget. I encourage all VCA employees to submit their ideas in the future- your idea could be chosen like mine!

Erika Ervin HM at VCA Toms River Animal Hospital

VCA NEXT was an eye opener and a different perspective of viewing the company from the main offices. A company spending the time and finances to hear your innovative idea to help improve the company as a whole is not something you will find in many establishments. Being a part of VCA NEXT meant a lot more than just a competition, it was meeting people from different positions from the company across the U.S and Canada. Talking, sharing stories and learning new things with this group of people was an "experience of a lifetime"! My idea was for Care Club donation bank and even though it wasn't a top or winning idea, just the chance to go to Los Angeles and having the opportunity to speak for the clients of our company that are less fortunate, makes me feel as if I made a difference and helped them in a way of representing. Whatever idea you may have, even if you are told that nothing will come of it or that it is just a "dumb idea"....don't listen. Submit your innovative idea because you never know if you will make a difference throughout the VCA company. And it will give memories that will not only change you but will create a bond within the company.

Sarah Ramer, RVT Technician Supervisor at VCA York Royalton Animal Hospital

I had my idea for a digital welcome board prior to the NEXT competition existing. When it was announced, I had no expectations to be selected as a finalist, let alone win 3rd place. I was just excited to have somewhere to share my idea. The experience I got along the way was remarkable. The whole thing still feels a little surreal, as if it were a reality show I watched on TV. I got the chance to meet remarkable people from across our company, and make connections that will last a life time. I can’t say enough nice things about the whole experience… It is so wonderful to work for a company who provides such an opportunity for its employees.

Kaite King, RVT Area Manager NC4

VCA NEXT was a unique experience that was as thoroughly enjoyable as it was challenging. Although the financial incentive initially caught my attention, the real prize, truly and honestly, was the experience itself. Brandon Antin organized an incredible journey for us, ensuring that our path was optimized for success and minimized with stress. Everyone who I met along the way, from Brandon to my judges to my fellow contestants to the folks at VCA headquarters, couldn't have been more supportive and gracious. Although my idea was not the top idea, I still was given the opportunity to facilitate its growth! Being given the ability not only to be heard but also to assist with implementing an idea affirms the respect that VCA has for their employees. Thank you so much for the wonderful experience!

Dr. Andrea Shaw VCA Santa Anita Small Animal Hospital


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