5 ways a veterinary practice manager can help


Owners: Look at what you don't have time to do and learn to delegate.

Almost every practice needs a manager, says Mark Opperman, CVPM, Veterinary Economics Hospital Management Editor and owner of VMC Inc. in Evergreen, Colo. Take a close look at what you're doing or don't have time to do, and learn to delegate (we're talking to you, micromanagers!).

1. Clock your hours. Look at how much time you spend managing your practice when you could be taking appointments or performing procedures. And don't forget the time you spend managing that you should be spending with your family.

2. Understand that delegation is not abdication. Just because you delegate duties to a manager doesn't mean you relinquish control of your hospital.

3. Don't expect what you don't inspect. If you hire and orient a manager correctly at your practice, you'll build in automatic feedback controls that tell you how well your practice is doing. You'll know all you need to know about its financial health and well-being.

4. Don't micromanage. If you're a control freak, accept that you like to keep a tight rein on your clinic. But also realize you're probably driving team members crazy—or out the door. Hire a manager who can work directly with your team, and build in an automatic feedback system so you know what's going on at the practice without asking all the time. Your team will be happier and probably better managed. Take it one step at a time. If it fails, remember it's probably your fault for picking the wrong team member or failing to give him or her enough instruction or authority to make important decisions.

5. Remember you didn't go to school to be a practice manager. Some veterinarians love management—great. They can take on additional training and manage as much as they want. The rest of you need to surround yourselves with people who have the skills and abilities you don't. Hire a practice manager. You wouldn't hesitate to refer a complicated orthopedic or cardiac case. Why are you hesitating to get some business help?

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