A few years ago, when we first launched Instinct, it was “just” a tool to replace your veterinary hospital’s inpatient paper treatment sheets.
But then, over our first year of existence, we went all in: studying, tinkering, testing, and making Instinct a supercharger for your outpatient workflows, too. We set our sights on making a tool that could truly make the busiest hospitals in the world completely paperless.
👉 You heard that right: no more piles of outpatient workup sheets, sticky notes, team members yelling tasks across the hospital, lost charts, dosing errors, and missed charges. And yes, it is built to replace any traditional spreadsheet tool you're currently using for this!
When we rolled out the idea in my hospital years ago, the pushback was surprisingly strong. But we worked through it, mainly by starting small (ER only) and with the assurance that we’d revert if it didn’t work.
Within a week, no one could imagine going back!
Fast forward 4 years, and teams at veterinary hospitals of all shapes and sizes consistently rank outpatient use of Instinct as one of their favorite parts of the software. 💙
After hospitals go live in the outpatient environment, the most common thing they ask is, Why didn’t you force us to do this earlier?
We’re constantly being asked for tips and coaching from new and existing Instinct hospitals thinking about taking the Instinct OP leap.
We’ve learned a lot over the years from the elite hospitals that got this right, and we want to share that knowledge! Here’s our new guide with 5 easy steps.
🥰 Step 1: Don’t Overcomplicate It
The first thing is to get your mind right.
I can’t impart this enough: using Instinct for outpatients is incredibly simple to pull off. Humanity just landed an SUV carrying a helicopter on Mars, so I’m confident your team of capable humans can handle this! 👽
Will you get pushback? Sure. But take every excuse, concern, and complaint and write it on that old whiteboard you’ll never use again. Then move on.
I’m convinced that every single hospital could go entirely digital in a single morning if they simply decided to try it.
📙 Step 2: Anatomy of the TV Screen
Digitizing an outpatient environment is the one time you’ll need a TV screen for Instinct in our opinion.
Over the years, we’ve taken feedback from hundreds of hospitals transitioning their specialty, ER, or general practice outpatient flow and strategically packed Instinct's TV Mode with all the useful information you could ever need. It's built for this!
We strongly recommend hanging your TVs vertically for optimal success (think airline status monitors). And yes, you can filter by specific service, doctor, ward, or treatment type for your own custom view for each of your various TVs.
Here’s what it can look like once you get it going:
Let’s take a closer look at all the useful tidbits packed in here and optimized for TV viewing:
And that’s not all. In addition to those 10 items, tucked out of the way, you have even more information about discharge date/time, service, client demographics, and a place to record belongings and other notes.
📢 Step 3: Rollout and Communication
Strong leadership with an unwavering commitment to the transition is essential here. Start with your hospital management communicating the directive and your floor leaders executing it.
Like many significant changes, without strong and dedicated local leadership (on the floor at every location), you are up against a wall and likely won’t succeed.
Once you have leadership buy-in, your next focus is to help your team understand the why. Instinct’s features are specifically designed to help them with patient safety and thorough care: from built-in checklists and Plumb’s drug lookup to fully automated billing and charge capture.
After that, you're off to the races and that workflow revolution you’re overdue for! 💪
One final tip: This is a whole team change. To get this right, everyone in the department has to do it. For example, if you have some doctors in the ER using Instinct for OP and others using paper, that's too much to ask of your nursing team and the initiative is likely headed for failure.
Avoid this landmine by setting expectations around this clearly!
⚡ Step 4: Work the Flow
If you want the full walk-through on how Instinct works in an elite center from check-in to check-out, read our Virtual Tour of a High-Performing ER.
For now, here's a preview of all the bells and whistles awaiting you and your team.
Groups/Checklists (Including COVID-specific)
Quickly order an outpatient vomit/diarrhea workup using groups. This ensures nurses and assistants have clear instructions to take over while the doctor tends to other patients.
Create a discharge checklist to handle pandemic mode with ease. This alone has supercharged our ER.
Add Care Team members to document who is involved with each patient.
Patient Alerts (bold) and specific Visit-only Alerts displayed on the Status Board.
Assign Triage Tags to patients based on severity with an option to Fast Track (FT) any tag as a higher priority.
Ready to Go/Admit
‘Ready To’ icons improve communication between front desk and medical teams by displaying a gurney when ‘Ready To Admit’ and a blue ribbon when ‘Ready To Go.’
Peer-reviewed patient safety warnings flag doses outside of normal ranges.
Plus, you can use Plumb's as a reference for decision support.
Set up certain users with Draft Mode so orders can be reviewed and approved by a veterinarian first.
Capture billable treatments as they’re completed and easily send missed charges to your practice management system.
Use emoji for all kinds of things, like identifying patients not yet assigned to a doctor to enhance alerts.
🖐 Step 5: Tips and Resources From Peers
Finally, last year we polled real life Instinct hospitals for advice on this topic. Here are some of the top tips we got back from peers who have successfully gone fully digital in the outpatient setting.
Top User Tips
💡 No one on Instinct’s team can force the change for you. You need a strong leader on your team driving the transition.
💡 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 or small.
💡 Get a 4G hotspot or other backup internet devices.
💡 You must hang a TV (vertically!) for this to work.
💡 Provide your team enough devices from the start.
💡 Make outpatient groups for your service.
💡 No, you can’t let some doctors keep using paper. Everyone must switch for this to work.
- Virtual Tour of a High-Performing ER (one of our top articles)
- Using Instinct to Help with Pandemic Mode
- Supercharging Discharge Flows
- Have students or interns? Check out how to safely supercharge learning using Instinct’s teaching tools in 2 articles (this and this).
- Need help on TV buying advice or settings? Reach out to our helpful support team, and we’ll get you a guide!