Tag Archives: success

Be a better doctor with stuff you already own

If you’re a veterinarian, you’re in a bind.

How can you take great care of patients, educate staff, keep clients happy, grow your business, and still make money in this competitive market? Clients demand top quality pet care, but they want to save money. They also want their pet’s healthcare team to keep in close touch and to include them in planning. For their part animal health professionals want to provide care in a way that helps pets, satisfies clients, and pays the bills for the practice.

It’s tempting to think that buying the latest gadget will make your practice stand out and attract business. If you have a real need and know it will get used a lot, a specialized tool can give you bragging rights on your Facebook page. If not, that shiny new toy just takes up space.

Smart devices

But there’s a cheaper, easier option right in your pocket. Use the smart phones and tablets you already own to make money, save money, and provide better client service and pet healthcare. The beauty of this? You already know how to make them work. There’s no manual, no time lost to training.

Phones and tablets let you monitor your patients, fine tune care, and tap the commitment and skill of colleagues and clients to keep pets healthier at less cost. Good use of technology saves you time and lets you delegate conversations and client education to others.

DSC_0067

 

Check out these 17 ways to use your smart devices:

1. Track the progress of pet care at home, such as weight management, by having clients text you updates.

2. Use an app or your own checklist to help clients evaluate pain in their pet.

3. Use your smart phone to monitor vitals and illness. Devices like the PetPace smart collar http://petpace.com/ allow you to track and analyze data and to receive alerts minute by minute.

4. Encourage your clients to keep up with treatment by texting non-judgmental messages every few days. Make sure you provide a way for them to write you back. Conversation is key to cooperation.

5. Improve in-house education by using free web conferencing tools, like Google+ Hangout or Big Blue Button.

6. Use a medical calculation app to figure dosages.

7. Use your tablet to take notes for your electronic medical record or to check information on VIN (Veterinary Information Network) right in the exam room.

8. Use your tablet or digital camera to take pictures of pets, so their families can keep up to date. This is especially helpful when patients are hospitalized. A picture of their loved one resting comfortably or wagging its tail reassures families that your staff is kind as well as competent. You can also add those photographs to the pet’s medical record.

9. Make your tablet a tool to educate clients. For example, show clients how to give sub- cutaneous fluids to their cat by showing them a video on YouTube. That way you can watch it together and answer any questions they may have. You can also introduce them to websites you think have the most accurate information. You may even have a PowerPoint presentation of your own to share with them.

10. Use a storage site like Drop Box to share photographs, radiographs, and any other files among your computers.

11. Use your tablet’s “virtual desktop” to share radiographs (x-rays) with your clients, so they understand what’s wrong and what you plan to do about it. Especially for visual learners, a picture is worth 1000 words.

12. Use sound effects apps to test a pet’s reactions and to help desensitize them from the things they are afraid of. You can also use one sound to muffle other sounds from the waiting room that can disturb a nervous pet. For example, you can make your practice more cat-friendly by putting them in a room with sounds that block the noise of barking dogs.

13. Use the timers on your equipment to track how you spend your time. You may be surprised. Think about one part of your day, like meetings or data entry. How long does that activity actually take?

14. Have clients video record behavior that occurs at home but not in the office. How many times have you had a client say, “My dog had an episode at the dog park that looked like a seizure, but who knows?” Or, “I swear, she was limping this morning.” Now you can see what they see. Make sure they know that sending you a photo doesn’t take the place of an exam.

15. A variation on #14 is to have clients record behavior problems and their surroundings. For example, if a client complains her cat urinates outside the box, have her take pictures where every box is located. She might even video what the cat does in the box, such as perching on the sides. You may be able to tell at a glance that the box is too enclosed or that the cat is avoiding that kind of litter. Solving problem behaviors keeps pets from being surrendered to shelters.

16. Ask clients to video themselves doing health-related tasks, such as drawing up insulin and injecting their pet. You might also ask them to send you before-and-after pictures of injury healing, photos that can go right into your electronic medical record.

17. Use your brain and your tablet’s for what they do best. Let your smart device’s capacity remember those obscure, once-in-a-lifetime medical possibilities. Tap your people skills and professional experience to make the most of client time. Learn what they know, what their concerns are, and how they feel about what your recommendations.

How it works

Here’s a real-life example of how using everyday devices can save you time and make your clients happier. I used to work at a big veterinary teaching hospital in New York City. New Yorkers are smart and tough. They don’t just take your word for things. They want proof, and they demand service. A liberal visiting policy isn’t always enough. Some want to sit by the cage or call their doctor every two hours for an update.

When you think about it, it makes sense. When our human family is laid up, we get to spend hours at their bedside, holding their hand and asking questions of the staff. We can see for ourselves whether their room is clean and if the nurses are compassionate. With pets it’s different. Most veterinary clinics don’t have room for extra people to pull up a chair by a cage and hang out. Veterinary nurses can’t stop to explain what they are doing or answer phone calls.

Then the doctors got new mobile phones. With cameras. Not only could they email clients, they could send pictures of pets doing better. Clients were delighted, and doctors enjoyed spreading good news. And with emails doctors could document their client contact without having to write a separate report.

And that’s how smart devices allow veterinary teams to provide better pet care and client service in less time with less hassle.

Caution

For all the good that smart devices do, it’s important to set limits to their use. Give yourself tech time out. Don’t check your phone at dinner. Tell clients what hours it’s OK to message you and stick to it. And have an office phone or other system so calls go to the veterinarian on duty and don’t give away your personal number.

If you have trouble staying away from your smart devices, use apps that block emails during certain hours. Can’t let go of work? Practice meditation to learn how to stay in the present moment.

What are your favorite ways of using tablets and smart phones around the office? Let us know! Maybe you’ll see your tip in a future post.

3 Secrets to Getting What You Want at Work

What do you want at work?

Who doesn’t want to be rewarded at work? We all want to use our skills and talents and be paid for it. What kind of “payment” we like depends on what we value. We need money to live on, and some people want put their hands on as much of it as possible. That’s what they value.

Once the bills are paid, other people care more about intangible things. What do you want more of? Time off? Freedom from micromanagement? How about picking new equipment for your department? Be clear about what you value, so you know what to aim for.

Blog_3_pic

Getting more of what you want is easier when your boss thinks highly of you. Employers are like other people. They worry about money,  how to make payroll in these days of economic anemia and increased competition. After that, what they value depends on their needs and personality.

How do you get what you want?

The first secret to becoming appreciated and rewarded at work is to figure out what management values. If you are lucky, the practice owner will tell you what’s important.Think about what questions they ask at job interviews. Pay attention at staff meetings and read the employee handbook. Well-run practices get everyone headed in the same direction by communicating their goals and values clearly.

In addition to what your organization says, gather your own information. If you aren’t used to thinking this way, other people’s desires seem mysterious. Actually you can tell a lot by observation.

Your boss may be highly organized but not good with people. She may have ideas to improve the practice but not enough hours to develop them all. Study the leaders. What do they talk about? Who gets the biggest bonus or the most interesting assignments? See not only what is rewarded but what might be rewarded if someone like you could do it.

Once you have a few ideas about what the leaders, especially your immediate boss, value, the second secret is to assess what you are good at. This is easier than it seems. When we have a gift or skill that is a part of us, we often can’t see it. We tend to remember what we work hard to learn and overlook what comes as second nature. Ask your friends how they see you. Think about what coworkers ask you to do. Their view of your strengths may surprise you, but in their feedback are the answers to the question, “What are you good at?”

The third secret to getting what you want at work is, notice what’s not being done and fill in the gap. Remember the boss who has great ideas but not enough time? Offer to take on a project that you’d be good at, especially if it will help the practice’s bottom line. For example, if you always have the latest gadget, volunteer to research cell phones for the office. When you present your research, show how following your recommendation will make work easier and more efficient, as well as save money over time. You may want to start small with a tip on how to use current equipment in a new way. If you can quote something your boss said or a line from the last office memo, so much the better. It shows you heard what was needed and stepped up. If you give your boss what she wants and needs, she’s likely to do the same for you. Time off, here you come!

Question: When were you successful at getting more of what you want at work? Tell us how you did it.