A simple fix for pets ready to go home whose paperwork isn't finished

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The Veterinary Economics Practice Manager of the Year shares his team's solution: two "flags" in the practice software, not one.

Our veterinary practice see inpatients daily-drop-offs for examinations, for surgical procedures or for dental prophylaxes, to name a few. Initially, when we went chartless, we would mark the pet as "ready to go home" as their status in our software. This let front-desk staff members know that a pet was ready to be picked up in the event that the owner called or came in unannounced. Unfortunately, we found that sometimes pets would be marked "ready to go home"-and they were ready to go-but their invoices weren't complete. (Why weren't the invoices finished? Like many of you, we sometimes get them finished after we wrap up more pressing work with another inpatient.)

Our solution was to create an additional invoice item called "ready to go home." This is the last item on an invoice and a signal to the reception team that the doctor has reviewed the invoice so the owner can pay.

Even better, our software shows the "ready to go home" item as a "THANK YOU! Dr. Beach" (or the name of the doctor who saw their pet) on the client's copy of the invoice. So now we have one flag in the practice software to let us know the invoice is complete and another status setting for a dog ready to go home.

And on a busy day-when patient traffic and workflow can be more unpredictable-having two reminders instead of one has led to great communication and minimized the number of invoices not being complete when patient checks out.

Shawn Gatesman, practice manager at Heartland Veterinary Clinic in Harrisonburg, Virginia, is the 2014 Veterinary Economics' Practice Manager of the Year.

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