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work-life

Find a Happy Medium

H.R. Huddle

Some people are career-oriented while others place greater value on time away from work. Practice leaders can support both.

We have all heard about work-life balance. Over the past few years, though, a new phrase has been tossed into the mix: work-life integration. Is there a difference, or has the old phrase been given a fresher name? The short answer is that the idea of work-life balance has evolved into the more holistic concept […]

customer service

Nurture the Bond

Getting Technical

The pandemic upset client relationships, but you can still provide good customer service.

Connecting with clients is a crucial part of the bonding equation. We strive for lasting relationships between the veterinary team and clients and do whatever we can to build and maintain the bond. The goal has always been to dissuade clients from stopping at another practice in town as they drive to ours. We achieve […]

Opening Shots team pay

Staff Strife, Instagram Envy and More

Opening Shots

Opening Shots columnist Dr. Ernie Ward answers your questions.

Q: My best technician of 10 years is loved by our clients but hated by our staff. She’s patient and kind with pets but condescending and rude to other team members. I don’t want to fire her, but the situation is destroying my team. What do I do? A: Unlike Bigfoot and the Loch Ness […]

telemedicine

Assisting From Afar

Fearless

Telemedicine allows veterinarians to communicate with homebound clients, observe patients in a relaxed state and even suggest alterations to the pet’s environment.

I don’t think a single veterinary colleague of mine would disagree that 2020 has been one of the most challenging years professionally and personally. Abrupt changes to workflow, curbside appointments, the immediate need for instant digital communication and the exponential pet explosion involving many first-time owners have all occurred at once. The typically slow-to-change veterinary […]

appointments

Less Ringing, More Appointments

Socially Acceptable

Facebook, Google, Instagram and even business review platforms can streamline the booking process and free up your staff.

Your clinic’s phone rings again. Email notifications pop up. The Messenger tab flashes. You haven’t checked your app dashboard yet. Everybody wants an appointment. You throw back coffee, take a deep breath and respond to clients by flipping back and forth on the appointment calendar, offering time slots and sending confirmations. Client A responds to […]

consolidators

Mercenaries and Missionaries

Creative Disruption

Consolidators who push profits first leave veterinary teams feeling neglected, leading to less-than-optimal pet care and reduced profits.

Consolidation, a normal part of the economy, has come to our profession. Consolidation tends to occur in any successful, fragmented, profitable, healthy industry that will benefit from investment and continued growth. Recent human health care examples include growth investments in urgent care, hospice and medical devices. I’ve had the good fortune to work in both […]

manager

A Lasting Impression

Take Charge

A manager who delegates properly will create a veterinary team that performs autonomously and confidently.

My tenure at Daniel Island Animal Hospital is drawing to a close. (More on my impending move in future articles.) As I work to organize the practice for success in my absence, I look for ways to enhance my teammates’ involvement, empowerment and motivation. My skills in organization and delegation are being stretched. I have […]

telemedicine

What’s Next for Telemedicine?

Politics and Policy

The evidence shows there’s no reason for anyone to fret about veterinary virtual care. It’s safe, effective, in demand and here to stay.

When we look back on 2020, the year of COVID, three other things will jump out: With some exceptions, 2020 was a year of extraordinary growth for veterinary practices and the animal health industry. Who would have predicted that in early March, when an anxious America wondered about economic survival as the pandemic took hold? […]

robot

The Automation Evolution

Innovation Station

Robot team members? Expanded use of artificial intelligence in veterinary education and diagnostics? Get ready.

Imagine a pet owner enters a veterinarian’s office and is greeted by a 5-foot-tall robot that provides limited but flawless reception services. Given audible instructions, the client and his pet enter a designated exam room. There, a human veterinary nurse performs hands-on procedures like a dental exam and blood draw. She then activates another robot […]

profit

How Much Profit Is Enough?

Money Matters

How you spend excess money is your decision, not your adviser’s, but make sure you set goals and have a path to attain them.

Not that long ago, many veterinarians considered profit an unworthy goal. After all, they had a higher purpose: a calling to care for animals and prevent and alleviate their suffering. Profit was not a priority. As long as there was enough money to keep the lights on, things were fine. Keeping the lights on, however, […]

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