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5 Things General Practice Veterinary Clinics Should Mimic from ER Clinics

Jada Lewis, CVT Jun 9, 2015 12:00:00 PM Veterinary

Veterinary emergency clinics are a highly organized, fast paced, ready for any situation type of environment. While general practice veterinary clinics usually do not see a high volume of emergency situations, they have quite a few things to learn from their higher strung, critical care counterpart that could make their efficiency and patient care second to none. By implementing some of these tips, day practices will run more and more like a well-oiled mini emergency clinic machine no matter what the situation.

1. Triage

The most successful emergency clinics have proper training and triage techniques. Does your day staff know how to handle a walk in emergency? What role does the receptionist play in an emergency? Who will gather supplies? Who will console the owners? Who will get a history?

You should design a plan so the staff knows their roles, where the crash cart is and how to calculate emergency drugs. Speaking of…

2. Emergency drug calculations:

aaha_logoHaving easy access to emergency drug calculations can mean the difference between life and death. An emergency drug chart should be posted clearly and updated frequently. Clinics that are AAHA accredited are quite familiar with this concept, but others should be encouraged to follow this important guideline here.


Smart Flow is also developing an emergency drug calculator that will become part of the first electronic anesthetic sheet. This will mean that emergency drug calculations will be accessible by the click of a button. For more information, keep informed with updates here.

3. Catheters

veterinary software

Who’s afraid of the big bad catheter gauge? No one, that’s who! At least emergency clinics know that bigger is better. And the same should hold true for day practices as well. If you think a 24 G will work, just grab a 22 and go for it. A larger catheter is so important for fast delivery of fluids and drugs in emergency situations.

4. Isolation

Most pets that develop a contagious disease end up at their primary care doctor first. It is then important after recognizing the disease to have a proper place to contain the pet until a full treatment plan or referral occurs. Most emergency clinics have a separate isolation room with strict isolation guidelines that include who can enter, how they can enter and the supplies that must stay inside that room. If your clinic is AAHA accredited, then you will have access to their protocol templates. Otherwise, many protocols can be found online like this one here.

5. Flow Sheets

It seems just crazy to me that there are day practices functioning without any sort of travel or flow sheet for patients that stays at the clinic for a period of time, whether it be for surgery or a drop off. Flow sheets are vital to making sure treatments get completed and charges are captured.veterinary software

There are many different types of flow sheets, but there is only one that can capture the charges right as the treatment is completed. This of course is the Smart Flow Sheet! Many emergency clinics using Smart Flow are finding that electronic flow sheets save a ton of time, while treatments rarely get missed and all charges are being accounted for. See how it works here.                            (St. Lukes Veterinary Centre effectively using Smart Flow)


When general practice veterinary clinics mimic these tactics of ER clinics the results can be astounding. Patients wil be receive the highest quality of care while the staff will never have to fear being part of an emergency situation. 

How well does your clinic stack up? Are you ready for an emergency situation?


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