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Firstline Live highlight: Phased training and consistency of care


Regular training and clinic-wide recommendations are practice owner?s responsibility.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- At Firstline Live, Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Ernest Ward Jr. told team members that he feels their pain when it comes to inconsistent protocols and recommendations. One flustered team member told him about her troubles at a five-doctor practice: "I hate when I'm giving Dr. X's recommendation to a client, and Dr. Y comes in and undermines me."

It's hard to know how to make the right decisions and avoid making mistakes when every doctor has his or her own way of doing things, Dr. Ward says. That inconsistency can only be solved by the owner.

Dr. Ward advises owners to gather doctors together and hash out recommended treatments and testing at that clinic, and then develop phased training to make sure recommendations are consistent, whether they come from the receptionist, the veterinary technician, or the doctor. Dr. Ward's brand of phased training is detailed, but is drawn from a simple survey he developed. He tracked the top 30 most common problems his clinic sees and makes sure every new team member, no matter how experienced, learns how his clinic handles each of them.

It all comes down ownership responsibility, he told a crowd of veterinarians, practice managers, veterinary technicians, and other team members. "I believe in trusting people and training people, and going from there," he says.

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