5 ways to benefit from online team CE


Put down the pencil and pick up a mouse for a new way to educate employees.

You can train team members by using staff meetings, magazine articles, books, and DVDs. But veterinary practice owners and managers are adding another item to their educational toolbox: online training.

Many companies present classes online for free, or you can pay for customizable videos and classes on demand. These programs teach customer service skills and basic medical terminology, and help employees grow in their careers. Online training can also lower the cost of orienting new hires, reduce staff turnover, and promote consistency when it comes to client relations, hospital policy, and medical standards.

Here are five ways to maximize the benefits of turning the Internet into your very own clinic classroom.


Susan Pomroy, CVPM, has embraced online training as practice manager at Animal Medical Center of Highland Village in Highland Village, Texas. Whether her recent hires are new to the profession or have years of experience, they all receive three months of training, which includes on-the-job mentoring as well as online education. "Online training provides a guarantee that I've taught each individual exactly the same thing," she says.


Pomroy doesn't like to hear her employees tell her that no one taught them how to do a certain task. The truth is, Pomroy's online CE provider lets her log on to check that team members have watched assigned videos and passed tests on the content. Pomroy can monitor the time it takes team members to watch assigned videos and finish exams, and she pays team members for their time—even if they watch at home.


Rocky Randolph, practice manager at West Loop Animal Hospital in Longview, Texas, says taking the supplied quizzes and exams on video content gives team members a sense of accomplishment. She estimates that better and more consistent online training at her practice has decreased her staff turnover rate by 40 percent. One new hire was so excited, he watched all the training videos before he showed up for his first day.

An online training program is rewarding for the practice, too, Randolph says. "A knowledgeable and well-trained staff promoting our products and services generates dollars for our practice."


Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Jeff Rothstein, MBA, loves online CE because so much of it is free, and even the programs he pays for are cost-effective, he finds. As president of Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals in Michigan, Dr. Rothstein can pay for team members at multiple locations to read materials and view videos online, or they can watch them at home. "It gives us more flexibility," Dr. Rothstein says. "We don't have to take people out of the hospital—and stop earning money—for a day."


Keep in mind that a good, dynamic training program needs management and oversight. Pomroy has used her online training system to identify and help team members who are struggling with a particular concept like vaccination or surgery protocols.

Dr. Rothstein jokes about the extra work a good online CE program requires. "Often a team member will burn through all the videos, and now all of a sudden you've got to find new stuff to challenge them with," he says. But it's a task he's more than willing to take on in exchange for practices full of knowledgeable, well-trained team members.

Starter list

How to make online CE work for you

Find CE suppliers that regularly update their content.

  • Look for CE that includes exams, quizzes, or review guides.

  • Verify that team members have completed the training.

  • Review your online training program regularly and adjust for changing staff needs.

How'd your practice grow?

Tell us about a great idea that boosted your practice's bottom line. You get $50 if we use it in an upcoming issue. E-mail ideas to ve@advanstar.com.

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