2 End of Year Projects for Veterinary Hospitals

Have you ever wondered what peer hospitals are up to when it comes to workflow or operational ideas?

You’re not alone!

After all, Instinct hospitals self-select for being the most forward-thinking, creative, and advanced animal care centers in the world. 🌎

I’ve also noticed that Instinct hospitals tend to skew toward the most thoughtful. They aren’t afraid to try new things or even—dare we say—change in the name of constant improvement.

But even elite veterinary centers get stuck in the mud from time to time.

We’re busy, stressed, and operating in complex, high stakes, emotional work environments.

One of the most common questions I get is "What are other hospitals doing that I should be doing?" In that vein, here are 2 simple end-of-year projects to take on that can help position you among the elites of the industry. 💡

📺 1. Fully Digitize Your Outpatient Environment

This is the #1 recommendation we can make.

I can’t even count how many times an Instinct hospital owner has said to me, “We wish you had made us do this a long time ago—it’s changed everything.”

Here’s the skinny: Instinct was initially designed to just be for inpatient treatment sheets. But that was in 2017.

Years ago, we focused on turning it into a complete outpatient digital workup system, too. And that’s for your busy ER and specialty/general practice outpatient services.

Most Instinct hospitals and services have made the transition, but if you haven’t, you are missing a huge opportunity to completely change your operations, revenue capture, and patient safety.

We have a whole article that takes you behind-the-scenes of a high-performing veterinary hospital and covers everything you need to know on this topic.

But in the meantime, here’s some (paraphrased) advice I solicited from those who’ve gone fully digital in the outpatient setting:

🎃 No one on Instinct’s team can force the change for your team. You need a strong leader on your team mandating the change.

🎃 Push through the change. Give it a month and your team won’t even think of going back.

🎃 Yes, it can work in any setting—big and small.

🎃 Yes, you should use a 4G hotspot or other backup internet device.

🎃 Yes, you must hang a TV (vertically!) for this to work.

🎃 Yes, you must provide your team enough devices.

🎃 Yes, you should make outpatient groups for your service.

🎃 No, you can’t let some doctors keep using paper. Everyone must switch for this to work.

That advice is spot on. Some of the largest and busiest veterinary hospitals have done this successfully and you can do it too! 💪

🔨 2. Commit to Scheduled Maintenance Mode

Certain parts of your workflow and hospital setup have an outsized impact on your team’s ability to efficiently and safely care for patients.

But understandably, hospitals often fall into the trap of just learning to live with tiny, yet easy-to-fix frustrations day after day.

Here are a few common items:

  • Naming convention for drugs: Are they frustrating, confusing, and maybe even unsafe?
  • Canned discharge instructions for each service: Do you have them? Have they been updated this year?
  • Charging structure for certain items: Is it antiquated, opaque, or unnecessarily complicated?
  • Document workflow: Is there a more streamlined way to do something? Seconds add up to minutes and minutes add up to hours!

👉I always recommend examining the above items regularly (once a year in the fall).

Beyond that, I also recommend keeping a running list where your team can report other repeated frustrations, no matter how tiny.

When it comes down to it, remember that you made these processes up a long time ago, and you can fix them! Once you commit to it, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish in a short amount of time by focusing on these 2 projects. 🍂

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