Today's Veterinary Business

APR 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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52 Today's Veterinary Business Leadership Leadership However, at the end of the day, after the double-booked appointments, after the angry call from a client who was referred elsewhere and after working through the dinner break just to see all the appointments, the team's physical and mental health has taken a beating. Wouldn't it be nice to have "a village" to deliver patient care and release some of the pressure? The idea of having a village may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. Primary care veterinarians cannot do everything. Yes, moving the tech from being a restrainer of patients to a leveraged technician takes time, but it has its merits. Utilizing specialists and referral practices also has its merits in helping the veterinarian to handle the increased demand for treating complex medical conditions. Take a moment to study our human counterparts. Not every- thing on the human medicine side is worthy of copying, but some aspects may prove advantageous to the veterinary profession. Nurses and nurse practitioners who are capable of handling routine care of complex medical conditions have enabled physicians to expand the number of cases they oversee. Tele- medicine, although not replacing The appointment book is already filled when the practice opens its doors. The phones are ringing. The receptionists are squeezing in double-booked appointments and referring others. The practice and its veterinarians are in high demand. Sounds like a good problem to have, doesn't it? It takes a village to serve a client Develop a dream team within and outside your practice to extend veterinarian capacity. in-person visits, has leveraged the medical team more effectively. Moreover, with the development of wearable medical devices and smartphone apps, some monitor- ing and diagnostics can be con- ducted in a virtual atmosphere. Your Village Take a moment to dream of your ideal village. This will be different for every prac- tice because of the location, size, services, client demands and status of the current team. Many practices started the village when agreements were made with specialists, emergency practices and referral practices in areas such as oncology, dermatology and ophthal- mology. However, do not stop there. Does your village need some- one for behavior? Perhaps someone concentrating on nutrition should be included. What about a rehabili- tation therapist? Pet trainer? The list goes on. In some instances, the vet- erinary practice has added in-clinic people to cover some of these ser- vices. In other practices, clients are referred to the nearest provider. The caveat to referring outside the practice walls is the problem with communication and compli- ance. It is not always a seamless referral. Communication between the practice and an outside entity can be rocky — a patient is seen, referred and then lost. Client compli- ance might be rocky, too. The referral is made, but the follow-up visits fall off due to distance or expenses. In the ideal village, communi- cation is seamless and connected. Compliance is made easier with the use of technology. This may be the perfect time to explore some op- tions for developing both in-clinic personnel and expanded tele- health services to create a village that will provide for your patients. Partners in the Village Take a moment to construct a dream team for the veterinary prac- tice. For instance, a team member is interested in dog training. Is it feasible to budget training for this By Louise S. Dunn Continued on Page 54

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