Enhance your team's medical development responsibilities


Make sure your team is prepared to handle every case that presents to your clinic.

Note: This information is reprinted from Benchmarks 2010: A Study of Well-Managed Practices.

As a veterinary practice owner, you must ensure that all employees in your practice have the medical knowledge they need to work efficiently, effectively, and productively. This involves deciding how and when to incorporate new products, procedures, treatments, and technologies into the practice. It also means maintaining the highest ethical, moral, and professional standards to ensure a pleasant and respectful working environment. And finally, medical development means consistently supporting the practice's mission, inspiring others' commitment to the mission, and supporting the value of all hospital services. Here are some steps you can take to enhance your practice medically.

1. Develop written medical standards of care that identify baseline healthcare components for each type of medical case the practice treats. These protocols will set the bar for managing your patients' basic care and provide a framework for determining additional necessary care on a patient-by-patient basis.

2. Develop treatment plan templates that mirror your medical standards.

3. Set client compliance targets for the treatments and services that the practice performs most often and that are most important to patients. Establish a protocol to monitor client compliance.

4. Establish a protocol for monitoring medical records on a regular basis to ensure that all patients receive the care that meets your medical standards.

5. Determine the level of medical knowledge required for doctors, receptionists, credentialed technicians, veterinary assistants, and kennel attendants. Create a culture of learning.

6. Approve medical training protocols for each position. Schedule internal continuing education programs for all positions and include topics suggested by your staff. Review and recommend external continuing education programs for each position.

7. Determine which drugs, medical and hospital supplies, and prescription and nonprescription items to stock in your inventory. Meet with your inventory manager each month to discuss inventory levels, pricing changes, special offers, and plans for replacing old products with new.

8. Establish a protocol to track and monitor controlled substances.

9. Meet quarterly with medical and equipment representatives.

10. Verify your practice's compliance with OSHA requirements.

11. Discuss new medical products, treatments, technology, and equipment available and make recommendations for incorporating these into your practice.

12. Review your practice's quality of medicine annually and present recommendations for desired upgrades. For example, you might offer new procedures or services, utilize specialists, or provide 24-hour critical care.

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