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Practical practice tips (Proceedings)


Working smarter, not harder, should be the mantra of every business today. It seems there's too much to do in too little time.

The Nuts and Bolts of File Prep for Better Patient Care, Client Experience, and Increased Profits

Working smarter, not harder, should be the mantra of every business today. It seems there's too much to do in too little time. Everybody is clamoring for your attention. Your clients want more face time to discuss their pets' health. Your hospital team members want more of your attention and constant input to make sure that they're succeeding in their respective roles. And your business demands are increasing as you continually look for new ways to boost your bottom line, draw clients in and deliver top-notch care — all while growing your business.

With all this demand, how are you to succeed in business and still practice the best veterinary medicine?

Start with your hospital team. Remember, you can't lead the band and play all the instruments. Creating a well-balanced, highly talented team is essential to working smarter and delivering the quality of care that will bond clients to your practice for the long haul. As the practice leader, it's up to you to give them the tools they need to perform their jobs and work as efficiently as possible.

Be Prepared for Client Visits

At Snowgoose Veterinary Management Consulting, we believe that utilizing "tools from the trenches" is just smart business. Take file preparation, for example. If your team isn't already mastering this process, rally your team members for a training session today.

All too often when I visit hospitals in my consulting business, I see team members making a critical mistake: pulling patient records the day of that patient's visit. If your team is doing this, you're missing out on an important opportunity to enhance patient care, improve the overall client experience and increase your revenue.

All hospital records should be pulled well in advance of any client visit instead of being pulled the minute the client walks in the door. This allows you and your team time to review the pet's medical history and flag any necessary preventive care procedures that the pet may need. Thus, you can give the client a heads-up on the necessary procedure and educate him or her on the importance of preventive health care. Starting the client education process early will help boost your compliance rate and give you an opportunity to talk with clients about future care options. It also increases clients' expectations on the level of care they can expect from you and your team.

To ensure your hospital team is on board with this important process, consider creating a handy checklist of key steps that need to be completed to prepare for every client visit. This simple reminder will help your hospital team members get into the habit of file preparation so that it becomes second nature to them.

Running an Effective Team Meeting

Effective team meetings are one of the most effective practice builders. They will bond and excite your team as they raise your practices benchmarks, provide TQM (total quality management)) increase profits and improve compliance.

In my experience everyone knows when he or she walks out of a meeting if it was a good meeting or a waste of time. We cannot confuse ourselves that a successful meeting only means a desired goal was met. What is important is that all parties were able to communicate, a resolution occurred, and a track-able plan of action was set up.

Meetings are an expense to a well-run practice. Have you ever thought about what the costs of a meeting actually are? An hour-long meeting with fifteen team members including 2 doctors cost the hospital $462.50. This equates to $150.00 per hour of lost revenue per doctor and 13 team members at $10.00 hour plus taxes, benefits, etc. This does not include refreshments

We will review ten golden rules to run an effective meeting:

1. Schedule meeting a year in advance with posted agendas.

2. Have your meeting room ready in advance.

3. Start and end on time. Always provide time to go around the room for comments.

4. Team members must have pre-meeting data and come prepared. This way action plans can occur

5. Rotate the meeting leader. You understand and take ownership when you are doing the teaching.

6. Use a standard meeting protocol form. (Samples will be available)

7. Make it fun. Regard problems as opportunities. Have feedback guidelines.

8. Make the meeting unthreatening. This is the only way open exchanges will occur.

9. There must be consensus, conclusions and a summary.

10. Clear follow up action plans must be in writing and team members held accountable.

Time Management

In today's society it is accepted that successful people are too busy. In fact being a workaholic is often admired. Surrounding yourself with the correct team, prioritizing and effective processes all will help. We will look at how successful people live full lives and manage their time.

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Aaron Smiley, DVM
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