Today's Veterinary Business

JUN 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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50 Today's Veterinary Business Leadership How does all that sound to you? Hopefully all your outpatient office visits are as effective as this one, but do you actually know what is happening behind those exam room doors? I have consulted with many practices over the years, and it seems that what happens behind exam room doors is usually a secret and hardly ever evaluated. I think this is a big mistake. A practice will make it or break it in the exam room, and it is management's responsibility to observe, evaluate and coach those who work in the exam room. Let's begin this process by looking at your veterinary nurse or, if you use one, an exam room assistant well-trained in preventive medicine. How effective is she in her communication, customer ser- vice and patient care? I have been in exam rooms where the assistant made little or no eye contact, didn't engage the client or pet, wasn't knowledgeable, had no presence and, in general, represented the practice poorly. I also have been in practices where the assistant was amazing. She was personable, inter- acted well with the client and pet in a professional manner, was knowl- edgeable, and represented the practice in a Ritz-Carlton manner. Install Video Cameras The question, of course, is which category do your exam room assis- tants or veterinary nurses fit into and how do we evaluate them? I suggest that your practice manager be present in the exam room at various times. Most of us have heard the adage "Don't expect what you don't inspect," and I would agree. This is an area where man- agement needs to get involved. In consulting with veterinary practices, I often go into the exam room to observe. You might think the client would ask about my presence, but most of them could not care less. I simply tell the client that I am visiting the practice. The client says hello and then turns her attention to the doctor, nurse or assistant. In the absence of having a manager inside the exam room, I would suggest setting up a video camera. Check your local laws on this, but in most states you can install a video camera in the exam room. Place a sign on the wall stating, "Video surveillance is being used for training and educational purposes," and have your employees sign a release form acknowledging that they are aware the rooms are under video surveillance. I would never suggest this be done covertly; ev- eryone needs to know that video cameras are present. Use Checklists We have used video training in our consulting practices for sever- al years now, and I have found it is by far the best tool to help veteri- narians and other team members improve their effectiveness. Once What does an effective exam room visit look like in your veterinary practice? Ideally, the client does not have to wait for the appointment. During her visit, she is educated about all she needs to do to provide op- timum care for her pet. Appropriate services are rendered and the pet appears to have had a good experience. The client appreciates the value of the services provided, pays her bill with a smile and offers to write a very positive review on social media. By Mark Opperman, CVPM Leadership PRACTICE SMARTER Observing what happens in the exam room, possibly through videotaping, can improve communication, customer service and patient care. Watch and learn

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