VHMA announces new toolkit for practice operation issues


Launching the Organizational Diagnosis and Design (OrgDD) Toolkit

rostoSvet / stock.adobe.com

rostoSvet / stock.adobe.com

The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) has launched its new toolkit for combating practice operation issues including workforce issues, client services, and healthcare outcomes for animals. According to a release1 from VHMA, the Organizational Diagnosis and Design (OrgDD) Toolkit uses the Organization Systems Model (OSM), “a systematic framework for keeping perspective on key variables that impact organizational performance.”

The toolkit was first created by VHMA after its 2021 Critical Issues Summit on Workforce, in which the association saw how much veterinary practices were struggling with issues yet to be properly addressed. “Veterinary professionals must focus on tactics and strategies to boost their practices while prioritizing new and evolving employee and customer demands,” the Toolkit narrative states. “Additionally, veterinary professionals must learn to utilize staff better, creating happier employees and more efficient practices.”1

Stated on the VHMA website, “Understanding how our organizations work (versus how they could or should work) is one significant gap in the current industry, leading to potentially the most powerful opportunity. Because of the shifts in the marketplace, veterinary professionals must re-examine their practice management and operational models by determining the best way to offer and optimize their services. This emanates from the customer value proposition and determining how work is done. By focusing on how our organizations work (or don’t work), we can solve many current issues—such as job dissatisfaction and burnout—and reduce team member attrition.”2

According to the release, the OSM can be used to solve both macro and micro issues. As an example, an organization might use the toolkit to create a focused business strategy and align every system, process, and role within the organization to execute on that strategy. That would be considered a macro use of the toolkit. On the other hand, if an organization wants to use this toolkit to address team member absenteeism from a policy and team culture perspective, that would be considered a micro use of the toolkit.

Using the OSM framework, recurrent problems are split into 4 consecutive stages:1

  • The Diagnosis Process is where data is gathered, behavior is observed and a hypothesis is created.
  • The Design Process is where a solution is designed to solve whatever issue needs to be addressed based on information gathered in the first stage.
  • The Implementation Stage is where the designed solution will be implemented.
  • The Review Process is the final stage, where the organization will identify what went well, what did not go well and what needs improvement moving forward.

“Tinkering with a single element in an organization doesn’t solve what is often a systematic problem,” the OrgDD Toolkit narrative stresses. “The missing piece in creating true solutions is a framework that enables leaders to see the organization as a whole system and consider how its various parts affect each other and influence the workings of the whole.”1

VHMA is hosting a webinar for attendees to learn more about the OrgDD toolkit on May 23, 2023.

“Applying the framework to underlying issues is a key step toward improved healthcare outcomes and a better client experience. We are grateful that the honest exchange of experiences at VHMA’s Critical Issues Summit served as the catalyst for this new resource,” said Christine Shupe, VHMA executive director, in the release.1


  1. VHMA’s new Organizational Diagnosis & Design Toolkit uses data to address macro and micro practice challenges. News release. Veterinary Hospital Managers Association. Accessed May 11, 2023.
  2. Use data to diagnose problems and design solutions in your organization. Veterinary Hospital Managers Association. Accessed May 11, 2023. https://www.vhma.org/orgdiagnosisanddesigntoolkit
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