Save time in your daily appointment flow and increase productivity
As my veterinary practices have grown, we've incorporated more doctors and technicians, each bringing with them new ideas and approaches. We certainly appreciate those but left unchecked, they can lead to different levels of service, depending on which provider a patient sees. That harms operations across the board, especially my team’s time management.
This is where protocols come in. They allow us to set a standard of care and efficiency our clients will experience regardless of whom they see.
I know that with teams stretched so thin, this may not seem like the right time to introduce new ways of working, but with practices so busy this is exactly what we need to help make them more efficient and productive. Here's how.
Determine what you need protocols for
The first step is to identify what you want your protocols to cover. Almost all aspects of clinic operations can be included. But focus on areas where you currently experience the most conflict.
If your practice has more than one doctor, this is particularly important; your clients may become confused or even angry if, say, one doctor insists that bloodwork is required before any anesthetic procedure, but another tells them it's optional.
Benefits of consistent protocols
Wellness protocols have shown significant benefits at my clinics in several ways. First, if the team is well-versed in our approach, then they're able to set client expectations before the doctor comes into the room, saving time for the doctor who can discuss other recommendations.
The second benefit is that team members know what to expect. Your team can provide better estimates to clients knowing they're including the items the doctor will likely want. It also becomes easier to plan appointment lengths, knowing that a senior workup will likely take longer or that a pre-surgical appointment will include a blood draw and electrocardiogram. Team members appreciate knowing that the doctors will back them up if they have proposed solutions and being able to get things ready before the patient is in the room. Overall, it reduces stress and saves time while building trust between your teams.
As you strive to save time in your appointment flow and increase productivity for the team, you can use well-understood protocols that inspire confidence in your clients, give your team a head start on each appointment, and ultimately deliver the most advanced care to every patient.
For more tips, including how to get the most from your team, read on.
Written by Des Whittall, Practice Manager
About the author: Des Whittall is an owner and manager of two veterinary clinics and pet resorts in Texas. A software engineer by training, he worked with an investment bank for 13 years in roles ranging from technical support to business divestment, managing large international teams and complex vendor relationships. With his partner, he has grown the clinics and resorts and is focused on developing businesses that can provide high-quality medicine and development opportunities for their teams.