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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56 Today's Veterinary Business Leadership • Give pain control as needed. Comfort should be a priority. • Clean the incision or mouth. • Provide a complimentary nail trim. • Contact the client to report how the procedure went and how the pet is doing. • Keep the patient warm, comfortable and observed throughout recovery. After the Procedure Now that the procedure is complet- ed and the patient is recovering from anesthesia, take these next steps: • Post charges to the client's account in advance of the scheduled discharge time. • Prepare medications and prescriptions that will be sent home with the patient. • Dispense pain-control med- ications if warranted. There is no reason for a pet to feel pain or discomfort after any surgical procedure. • Prepare detailed postoper- ative instructions, including Getting Technical columnist Sandy Walsh is a practice management con- sultant, speaker, writer and instructor for Patterson Veterinary University. what the client should expect during the first few days. Clients will not remember everything you tell them, so written instructions are nec- essary. They should include instructions about incision and bandage care, activity restrictions, feeding, medica- tion and treatments. • If an e-collar is needed, don't make it an optional item. Include it in the price of the procedure. Size the collar ap- propriately and show to the client how to put it on. • Bandage and cast wraps should be clean, uniform and wrinkle-free. • Clean the patient again. No blood, urine, feces or surgical scrub. Brush the patient. • Settle the bill and provide post-op instructions and information before you bring the pet to the client. You want the owner's full attention. • Schedule follow-up appoint- ments. Post-op exams should Leadership GETTING TECHNICAL be included in the price of the procedure. • Demonstrate how to admin- ister all dispensed medica- tions. This is particularly im- portant with eye and feline medications. Most clients will not admit that they do not know how to medicate the pet. • Help the client to the car, if necessary. The pet owner will appreciate the effort, and you can make sure the pet is safely in the vehicle. In the Days to Come Finally, make a notation in the call- back system and contact the client each of the next three days to check on the pet. Ask: • Is the client able to give the medications as directed? • Is the pet eating and drinking? • How does the incision look? • Is the patient tolerating the e-collar? • Does the client have any questions or concerns? Make sure any post-op issues are addressed imme- diately and are documented in the file. Providing exceptional cus- tomer service goes hand in hand with exceptional medical care. It involves the whole team every step of the way. We need to re- member that most clients cannot differentiate the medicine from practice to practice. They can, however, differentiate customer service and value. Follow the steps above and you will be able to provide a sur- gery experience for your patients and clients that sets your veterinary practice apart from others in your market area. making. It's easy to become enthu- siastic about the idea of promoting the employee, but it's also crucial to take your time throughout the promotion process for multiple reasons, including these two: • You need to follow your practice's policies and pro- cedures each and every time you hire or promote. • The promotion might or might not fit the employee's strengths. If it doesn't, then not only have you promot- ed the wrong person, but you've taken a star team member out of the position where she was shining. Whether you can or can't employ strategies No. 1 or 2 in your prac- tice, all practices should consider strategy No. 3. Creative Perks What perks can you offer? One of the most in-demand perks is flexible scheduling. It might make all the difference in the world to your star employee if you rearrange schedules so she can come to work 30 minutes later in the morning, al- lowing her to see her children safely off to school. Or maybe you ensure that the employee can always take a lunch break when her children need to be picked up. In the relatively rare instances when telecommuting works for a practice employee, it likely will be a treasured perk. Another caution: Make sure you offer perks to all employees in a fair way. Although you do not need to offer the same perks to every employee, be careful not to discriminate based on race or gen- der, as just one example. And even if you aren't providing discrimina- tory perks, you need to make sure you aren't acting in a way that can reasonably be perceived as unfair, which could hurt office morale. If you are unsure about what is legal, consult an attorney. If you're unsure about what may cause other employees to lose heart, prioritize finding creative perks for the entire practice. What professional develop- ment perks can you offer? How can you help employees who take you up on bettering themselves and improving their skills but still have to juggle their responsibilities? How can you relax dress codes to a degree that allows your employ- ees some flexibility but keeps a professional look at your practice? In which instances can you allow employees to help choose the technology they will use at work? When you ask employees which perks are most important to them, how do they respond? Rather than waiting until a situ- ation arises in which a top perform- er reaches her pay plateau, create a policy on how the situation will be handled, and know which conver- sations you'll need to have with the employee. How much information will you share about practice finan- cials to help her understand why pay plateaus exist where they do? Know ahead of time which op- tions you can offer that employee and be aware of those you should avoid. As in virtually every chal- lenge, well-thought-out policies and preparation are key. H.R. Huddle columnist Dr. Charlotte Lacroix is founder and CEO of Veterinary Business Advisors Inc. She serves on the Today's Veterinary Business editorial advisory board. 3 Although you do not need to offer the same perks to every employee, be careful not to discriminate based on race or gender, as just one example. Continued from Page 54

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