Nothing matters more than the way we approach, care for, and treat our veterinary patients. In fact, they are the sole reason we are employed. It is our duty and responsibilty to see that each patient is comfortable, clean and receiving the best medical approach possible. We've previously mentioned how to improve patient care under anesthesia, but let's see how to improve patient care in the rest of your veterinary hospital.
1. Treatment Plans
While each patient should be approached at an individual level, it is important to have a set of effective and consistent treatment plans or treatment templates. Combine your templates with an organized whiteboard and you have a recipe for success right off the bat.
2. Team Communication
Team communication techniques have been re-hashed, rehearsed, and revamped over the years. It just goes to show how important working and moving together as a team can be. DVM360 has great resources when it comes to team communication.
3. Listening to owners
No matter how crazy our clients might sound, it is important to put a good listening ear forward each time. Get a full picture of the pet, history and really listen to their concerns so everyone is happy. Remember, no matter how strange a client's concerns may sound, they are legitimate and should be taken with sincere respect.
4. Follow-up calls
Just about everyone on your team can make a follow up call: receptionists, techs, and doctors alike. These calls give owners the opportunity to ask questions, increase client compliance with regards to meds and go-home instructions, and provide lasting impressions on owners who know that you care and thus, will come back to use your service again.
Receptionists can follow up most routine visits. They can ask how a pet is doing after vaccines or if the owner has any more questions regarding the exam. They could even ask for a "like" on your Facebook page if they felt like they had a good visit!
Technicians/nurses can follow up with routine surgeries. They should make sure the pet is receiving their medications, and the owners are following instructions on exercise restriction, e-collar use, etc.
Doctors should follow up with any clients they referred out or had complicated procedures.
If possible, spread the phone calls out so one single person isn't bound to the phone line all day.
5. Don't walk past a mess
Whether you have DVM or CVT/RVT/LVT behind your name (or nothing at all), never walk past a messy cage, a chewed up catheter, or a pup in pain. Nobody is too good to clean up a vomit pile, a diarrhea explosion, or a simple spill. This is where clinics can make or break as a team. Most importantly: patients should never be caught in the crossfire of poor teamwork.
6. Treat them like family
Providing excellent patient care means treating each patient like it's your own pet. A good reminder for everyone from kennel staff to doctors. What if it was your dog shivering in its cage? You'd add an extra blanket even if it meant your lunch would have to wait an extra minute or two.
In everything we do as a veterinary team, we are doing it all for the patients. They are the number one priority on a daily basis. Without them, we do not exist.