Practice Management

Practice modernization: Communication using technology

  |   Practice Management

Why should we use technology to communicate? For many practices, routine communication with clients can be much more efficient with the use of technology. The days of your front office calling clients and confirming appointments for hours should be long gone. Although not every client will want email/text updates or reminders, the majority of clients will. Automated reminders free up staff time, reduce no shows and increase compliance of care. By freeing up staff time it will allow your staff the...

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WA’s paid family and medical leave program begins January 1, 2019

  |   Practice Management

Paid Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) is a benefit provided to employees to take time off work to care for a newborn, treatment for or recovery from a serious illness, or to care for a family member. FMLA, organized like an insurance program, and which goes into effect January 1, 2019 will affect all employers in some way. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the program, although all employees regardless of the size of the employer will...

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Practice modernization: Toxic teams – how to recognize and prevent them

  |   Practice Management

Why Does It Happen? High performing employees, if they are toxic, will cost the company money. Oriana Scislowicz, BS, LVT, says the benefits of handling your toxic team members include increased efficiency, a better capacity for resilience and critical thinking, and possibly a longer, healthier and more balanced life. There are many reasons why a toxic work environment happens. The nature of the veterinary industry seems to be predisposed to a toxic environment. We are a for-profit industry dealing with life and death....

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Six tips to improve your medical records

  |   Practice Management

When a client alleges malpractice, one of your key defense tools is the patient’s medical record. Attorneys often say that if it’s not documented, it did not happen. Document medical treatment plans and have clients sign consent forms. Document client declinations of recommendations or procedures. Document communications including phone calls, emails, texts, and verbal conversations. Document history of complete physical exam and procedures including detailed anesthetics and surgical reports. Document boarded patient information such as elimination, appetite, and weight, especially...

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Practice modernization: Forward booking

  |   Practice Management

What is pre-booking or forward booking? It’s scheduling a patient’s next appointment (preventive exam or medical progress exam) during check-out of the current appointment. Where did this concept come from? Dentist offices have used this method of forward booking appointments successfully for many years. It is now standard practice at most dentist offices. At check-out, a receptionist may say, “Dr. Jones would like to see you back for your next dental cleaning in six months. Does Tuesday, February 5th work for you?” How...

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Three Essential Skills for Effective Communication

  |   Practice Management

Effective communication skills are critical in providing optimal outcomes for clients, patients and team interactions. Veterinary Colleges recognize the value of cultivating these skills in their graduates and many incorporate some form of communication training in their curriculum. Training resources1,2,3 for the practitioner and animal health care teams are readily available. These tools teach foundational skills necessary to effectively communicate with clients through techniques like open-ended questions, reflective listening, eliciting the client’s perspective and summarization.  When learned, the skills provide...

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Practice modernization: rewarding employees without breaking the bank

  |   Practice Management

Sure, everyone enjoys a little extra money. However, financial incentives are not always feasible. How can you make your employees feel appreciated other than financial incentives? Here are some suggestions: Appreciation days: Once a month, have an employee of the month. Encourage other staff members and clients to tell him/her why they think he or she is amazing. Positivity box: Keep a comment box ONLY for positive things. Write notes for specific instances where a team member stepped up and truly helped...

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Practice modernization: Finding work-life balance

  |   Practice Management

With the advent of emergency clinics and the end of being on-call comes the rise of text messaging and emails. Email and texts are a quick, efficient way to communicate with clients, particularly the millennials and younger. However, these forms of communication can soon make you feel like you are back on call. How often does a client text or email on a Sunday afternoon? Many clients have high expectations and, unfortunately, with numerous other clinics within a small radius,...

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Practice Modernization – Effective methods of employee retention

  |   Practice Management

A growing concern in our profession is the trend of high employee turnover, seen in associate veterinarian positions as well as veterinary technicians and support staff. There is no denying that - in even the healthiest of practices - some degree of turnover is expected, even necessary, to maintain workplace harmony and standards of care. However, there’s also concern about the costs of what might be considered a pathologic rate of employee turnover – direct and indirect costs to the...

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Practice Modernization – Onboarding New Employees

  |   Practice Management

After many hours of searching for the perfect new employee, once hired, the question arises of “what now?” The onboarding process is too often viewed as a list of items to check off and more than we would like to admit, the new employee is sent into full swing before we provide him/her the correct tools needed to perform his or her job efficiently and productively. This can lead to disappointment for both the employee and the employer, and unfortunately...

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