With veterinary practices facing staffing shortages, product shortages, and time shortages, it’s tough to get everything done each day. As veterinary appointments back up, teams and clients become more stressed, and tempers easily flare. Improve veterinary practice efficiency, and keep everything running smoothly by speeding up your everyday processes with the following eight tips.
1: Use a practice app to reduce phone usage
Your CSRs — and even your technicians and doctors — take so many phone calls that could instead be texts, app notifications, or emails. Free up a ton of your team’s time by relying on technology, like a practice app, to schedule appointments, approve pet prescription requests, and field curbside arrival alerts. Additionally, you can use two-way texting or a two-way messaging platform to have multiple conversations at once, which is especially handy for those post-op updates.
2: Take advantage of technological tools
A properly completed SOAP or discharge instructions can eat up a substantial amount of time, especially when you spend your days writing the same thing over and over. So, instead of retyping each normal physical exam’s findings in your SOAP, use a tool like the AVImark glossary feature. Another technological tool to take advantage of is dictation software, like Talkatoo or Dragon Veterinary. These softwares can easily integrate in your PIMS, create custom commands, and have an adaptive speech algorithm.
3: Be on top of app downloads
Take a minute to evaluate your clients’ flow through your hospital. When do they spend time waiting—to check in, to speak to a technician, to see a veterinarian, to check out? If so, these blocks of time are perfect for encouraging your clients to download your app. Instead of waiting until your clients are checking out to remind them to download your app—and rack up loyalty stamps—gently nudge them at every opportunity.
Post QR codes on your exam room tables and throughout your lobby to enable an easy app download.
Another tip: Have your exam room assistants or technicians encourage your clients to download your veterinary app with a simple, “Hey, while you’re waiting for our doctor, download our app so you receive your loyalty stamps for today’s visit.”
Don’t have a practice app? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Sign up for a demo of Vetsource’s Vet2Pet all-in-one client engagement system and practice app.
4: Get started on gathering needed items during appointments
When your clients check in, ask them if they will be needing anything for their pet that day. If you have those clients who come in with a grocery list of items they need to refill for their menagerie of pets, ask them to hand over their list at the beginning of their appointment, instead of at checkout. This way, your team can start pulling together assorted medications, preventives, food, and supplements during the appointment. You may consider hiring a concierge who can help with these sorts of tasks to boost your practice’s efficiency and speed up the checkout process.
5: Create digital forms
Does your practice have file folders full of paper forms for appointment check-ins, surgical consent, social media permission, and so much more? Instead of bogging down your workflows by printing loads of forms that clients need to fill out at check-in or during appointments, digitize your forms. Include the link to the appropriate form in appointment confirmation emails and texts, so clients can fill them out in advance. And, have a tablet or two available in your practice for clients who didn’t have a chance to complete their forms before they arrived.
Offer a bonus loyalty stamp for clients who fill out forms in advance, as a reward for speeding up your daily processes.
6: Cross-train your team and use them to the fullest extent of their skills
Basic tasks, like blood draws, nail trims, anal gland expressions, ear cleanings, and running lab tests, can be done by anyone with minimal training. These services can really slow down your workflow if your team is waiting for a veterinarian to lead the way, but anyone with training can jump in and perform these tasks. This will help speed things up when the client with a sick pet says, “Make sure you cut their nails!”
Another pro tip: Have your exam room tech draw blood and get a heartworm test running before the doctor has even entered the exam room. If the patient is older, train your team to draw enough blood for a full lab panel. That way, you have what you need for any test you want to run, instead of wasting time making your poor patient a pincushion through repeated blood draws.
7: Train every team member to enter SOAP notes
Teach your team how to enter SOAP notes, particularly as the veterinarian is voicing their physical exam findings aloud. While the notes do not have to be perfect, the exam room assistant or technician can make the doctor’s job so much easier—and faster—if they only have to make minor edits. Plus, this practice ensures important information isn’t missed, like which leg the dog was limping on, or where the mass was located. Additionally, your technicians can input their laboratory findings when they read fecals, ear cytologies, and skin scrapings.
Having all the patient’s pertinent information already entered helps the veterinarian reach a diagnosis faster, finish filling out their SOAP with ease, and get home for dinner on time!
8: Bring in a team member to manage mundane tasks
All those mundane daily tasks, like making follow-up calls, scheduling appointments, and checking email and social media messages, suck your team’s time. Instead of tying down your CSRs to handle these duties, add a digital coordinator or remote care employee to your veterinary team. This allows a single employee to focus on these tasks, freeing up the rest of your team to take care of the in-hospital clients.
With the challenges facing the veterinary industry today, veterinary practice teams should be taking advantage of every opportunity to speed up daily processes. Let the Vet2Pet system help shoulder the load and increase your veterinary practice efficiency and productivity. Schedule your demo to learn how Vetsource can help you get home on time.