From working extra hours with an often limited staff to calming anxious animals and even more anxious pet owners,
the veterinary industry is one of the toughest ones out there.
Improving the efficiency of your practice is probably top-of-mind, but pushing through each day always seems to be a priority.
However, we believe that a new year means new beginnings, and assessing your business will give you a fresh start in 2023.
A lot of people have the wrong perception that efficiency equals perfection. This is far from the truth. Being efficient means that you are finishing most of your planned tasks in a timely manner. In a colloquial sense, you are working smarter, not harder.
To achieve veterinary practice efficiency, you have to tweak certain processes, often by improving your communication with team members or implementing time-saving software solutions. Your employees are the backbone of your practice and, therefore, helping them streamline complicated processes will boost the overall efficiency of your business. Simply put, you’ll get more done in less time.
Below you’ll find a number of business areas to help improve operational efficiency, so you can focus on taking care of your clients.
If you’ve ever faced a high rate of employee turnover, you know firsthand how the additional workload can get overwhelming for your remaining staff. Once a colleague leaves, the rest of the team has to shift their tasks to keep everything running as usual.
[READ MORE] Mental Health and Wellbeing Resources for Veterinarians and Staff
To avoid this turbulence, it’s of utmost importance to talk openly with your employees. Understanding their needs and working on benefits such as higher pay, or even paid time off, will boost happiness at work and, therefore, productivity. Organize additional training or gather your team members and visit a veterinary conference—these provide growth opportunities and show that they’re valued members of your team.
Even though there is a clear distinction between DVMs, veterinary technicians, and the rest of the staff, having flexible training is a necessity. Having someone who is able to jump in when needed and keep things running smoothly is mandatory for every practice. This is also useful when a team member is on sick leave or vacation; knowing that the rest of the team can function just as usual is a relief.
Extra tip: Why not make a list of all duties? That way everyone will be on the same page. Additionally, you can round up your team each morning and distribute tasks for that day. Introduce this structure so everyone knows what to expect.
Keeping track of each patient’s medical history can get quite chaotic. Medical records can include everything from X-rays and prescriptions, to opinions from other vets. Being able to quickly locate information related to invoices, practice administration, and employee and patient records is key—digitizing your practice accomplishes this goal.
Is telephoning your clients to remind them of upcoming appointments taking a chunk of your day? Are you interested in sending out newsletters, pet birthday cards, and other communication, but not sure where to start? We suggest investing in an email marketing program that can lift the weight and give you back precious time.
The organization is key and since modern technology came a long way, finding the software that suits your needs is a must in today’s business climate.
Another way to get a handle on employee retention is to hire the right people from the start. While this can be difficult in a tight labor market, taking extra time to ask the right questions and assess the candidate’s passion and willingness to carry out responsibilities will benefit your practice in the long run. Hiring the right people will benefit your entire staff, enabling them to better achieve a healthy work-life balance.
Extra tip: Organize biannual or annual feedback sessions with your employees. Some team members might not feel comfortable sharing their opinions and setbacks. Therefore, taking the time to sit and talk with them 1:1 will give you valuable insights.
Is a demanding client taking a toll on your team? Did a team member overlook a symptom during a medical examination? Did important client notes get misplaced? These are just a handful of challenges your team runs into on a daily basis. Keeping tensions at bay is important for team morale, which is why timely and open communication is paramount.
If a certain client is uncooperative, having a higher ranking employee or another communicative team member handle them is often a better option. Nurturing a healthy work environment with team members who are ready to help is like laying down a good foundation.
Mistakes are a part of everyday life—the difference we make is the way we approach them and solve them.
Vets are in direct contact with their clients, often during stressful health situations. Therefore, the way veterinarians and their staff communicate with clients has large implications for practice loyalty.
[READ MORE] 5 Easy Ways to Build Veterinary Client Loyalty for Your Practice
Making sure each of your team members leaves a good, lasting impression is a must. Cultivating a company culture where people are calm, collected, and helpful will build a healthy work environment. Plus a warm welcome anytime a client comes in will establish a great practice image.
That’s all we have for you today on efficiency, so let’s sum it all up with a simple visual:
If you are interested in learning more about this topic, listen to an episode of PAWSitive Leadership Podcast called Efficiency in the Veterinary Practice with Bret Canfield.
Start your journey into the vet practice ownership on the right foot. We are a team of dedicated professionals who are passionate about helping vets buy and sell their practices. We’ve been in this business for 20+ years and we believe that our individual approach makes us distinctive on the market. We put our clients first and we do everything in our power to give veterinary professionals confidence and support they need during these important career transitions. Contact us today and let’s work together.
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