Managing Your Veterinary Practice Like You Manage Patient Care

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Written By: Travis Meredith DVM, MBA, DIP. ACT- Community Veterinary Partners; Director of Member Services

Quite often as veterinarians, you will encounter a case where a pet’s health has been rapidly declining and their owner is growing anxious for you to solve the problem. Managing cases like this can be tough as you want to take immediate action and get the pet back to good health. As you think about managing a case like this, what do you normally do?  Take the animal straight to surgery?  Start him on medication?  Tell the family that it may be time to think about letting go?

Of course not.  As clinicians we are trained to use a systematic approach when we treat our patients. We have to take the time to examine the pet and make sure we are really listening to their owner.  We perform diagnostics and may even consult with outside experts on more complex cases. We come up with a plan, initiate a therapy and encourage the owners to follow our plan to give their pet the best chance at recovery.  And, as their healthcare provider, we make sure to follow up with the clients as many times as needed until the problem is resolved.

Managing a small business is no different in that a systematic approach is the best course of action. When I visit with colleagues about the topic of practice management I always use the same patient analogy.  For many veterinary practice owners, they continue to see their business declining and have not been able to pinpoint a specific cause.  Often we just blame it on the “economy.”  And while most veterinarians use a systematic approach to patient care, they do not always do the same to when finding a solution to bettering their practice’s financial health.

The same systematic approach used in patient care also should be used when successfully operating a veterinary practice.  1. Look and listen to what’s going on around you 2. Do the diagnostics 3. Get help from experts if needed 4.  Come up with a plan 5. Put the plan into action and 6. Monitor, Monitor, Monitor.  Over the next few months I’ll discuss at each of these components and hopefully better illustrate how the principles that ensure good patient care can mean financial wellness for your veterinary practice.