Medical records: Get doctors to comply


To help veterinarians complete medical records in a timely manner, follow these tips.

History says it's almost impossible to decipher a doctor's handwriting. But illegible scribbles are still better than nothing at all. When your veterinarian is the one who often forgets to put information in patients' medical records, use these tips.

Smile through gritted teeth.

Approach the doctor in a non-accusatory manner, no matter how frustrated you might be. Tell him or her that you've noticed medical records are not being completely filled out, which could cause problems for the practice down the road.

Make a seat.

Suggest setting up a medical records work station directly outside the exam and surgery rooms so each time team members (read, doctors) exit, they can sit for a moment and jot down the necessary information. The work station could be as simple as a desk, chair, and pen or pencil-attached to a string that's taped to the desk. Paperless? A computer in every room should do the trick.

Meet and complete.

Suggest holding a brief brainstorming session where team members discuss the challenges to keeping thorough records. They'll also hopefully make suggestions for creating a consistent, accessible system that works for everyone. One idea to present: Allow an extra five minutes between appointments for the doctor to enter details into the records. Another option would be to allot a chunk of time in the late afternoon for catching up on records that fell through the cracks during the day.

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