As a practice owner or manager, your goal is to have a practice that focuses on a culture of excellent patient care and safety.
Achieving this requires client compliance—and compliance requires protocols. Is your entire veterinary care team aware of what it takes to keep a pet healthy?
After all, clients cannot be expected to comply with your recommendations if staff members aren’t sure what they are. Involving your team in making consistent, incremental improvements is a powerful fuel for your practice’s culture of care, growth, and financial return.
Teamwork without protocols is like using a road map. Teamwork with protocols is like using a navigation system. With a road map we must stop, pull out the map and hope for a road sign to pop up so we can tell if we are on the right road. However, with a navigation system, the team is continuously instructed and coached along the pathway, corrected if they make a wrong turn, guided to the correct location, and comforted with a consistent endpoint in mind. Protocols keep us all heading in the shared direction of patient care. Protocols control the flow of information, keep the record and medical plan up-to-date, increase patient well-being, and decrease suffering of the patient, team, and client. Furthermore, protocols also increase employee retention, improve time management, and grow a practice’s return on investment (ROI).
Protocols reduce the variation in care within the team and between team shifts by providing communication pathways that allow vital communication to be shared with everyone. The Intestinal Parasite/Zoonotic Detection and Prevention Protocol is an example of a protocol organized by team role and is easy to follow. It explains where and how the steps are performed and who is responsible for the task. In the “Prior to Visit” section, a reminder is automatically computer generated when service is due or overdue. When a team follows a consistent protocol, clients are more likely to comply with your recommendations for their pets’ health. All team members should be empowered to give feedback, train, and develop the core message for each protocol. Often a task force or committee, such as policy and procedure, is helpful in finding a collective voice for the team and expediting the protocol creation, revision, and implementation process.