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Case study: Boosting repeat visits and dental care


Reminders and increased client education lead to improved care at this Florida practice.

Even good practices find they can get better when they look for ways to improve compliance," says Carol Sapp, CVPM, hospital manager of Town & Country Veterinary Clinic in Starke, Fla. This one-doctor practice's gross revenue was about $700,000, twice that of average practices of the same size. But the practice's growth had slowed over the past year.

After attending a compliance workshop, Sapp met with owner Dr. Joel Sailor and office manager Lisa Greene. They saw an opportunity to do a better job scheduling needed appointments and providing reminders and support for home care.

Sapp pulled 30 records and noted what care had been provided and what the pets needed. The check confirmed their suspicions about follow through and revealed an opportunity to improve the practice's dental care program. The clinic's leadership team shared this information with staff members and asked for their help. "Everyone at Town & Country wants to give patients the best possible care," says Sapp. "So they embraced this new challenge."

Team members made two big changes: First, they installed a computer terminal in every exam room, so the technician can set up dental appointments before the clients leave the room. Second, they reassigned technicians so the same technician would stay with the client and pet throughout their visit. "This approach helped build rapport and trust with clients," says Sapp.

Closer relationships with clients help technicians follow through on recommendations, educate clients, schedule follow-ups, and check that clients leave with everything they need. Clinic team members quickly saw results as dental cleanings, weigh-ins, lab re-checks, and visits to pick up prescription refills and diets all increased.

"At first it was a little chaotic," says Sapp. "But we have a great team, and staff members quickly learned the new routines." Three months after the practice introduced the changes, revenue was up 25 percent, and team members doubled the number of dentals the practice performed compared with the same period last year.

"Not only are our patients receiving better care, but our staff is earning monthly bonuses for all their extra hard work to help us achieve our goals," says Sapp. "Any time our monthly gross exceeds the target percentage that we set, full-time staff members get a $50 bonus, and part-time employees get a $25 bonus."

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