Unite your practice around preventive care guidelines

Published on May 21, 2018

Partners for Healthy PetsHow does a veterinary practice get all employees to focus on adopting best-practice preventive healthcare guidelines for use in everyday practice?

Animal Family Veterinary Care Center in Davenport, Iowa, met that challenge with the help of a suite of free tools available for use by all veterinary practices from Partners for Healthy Pets.

These tools are designed to align your entire practice team around the AVMA/AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) Canine and Feline Preventive Healthcare Guidelines, which provide a foundation for wellness and preventive care. The guidelines implementation toolkit helps veterinarians develop strategies to apply the guidelines consistently throughout a practice, no matter how many staff members you have. Among the tools are:

  • A brief video introduction explaining the purpose of the various tools and showing how they work together
  • A webinar that walks you through inspiring and organizing your team to improve preventive pet healthcare and client communication
  • A step-by-step guide to organize your team to implement the guidelines
  • A team meeting guide to walk you through six staff meetings to prioritize preventive healthcare in your practice
  • A set of ready-to-use Powerpoint presentations to help guide your staff meetings
  • A workbook to help team leaders develop a personalized plan for your practice to improve preventive care and build stronger client relationships

Using these and other tools in the Partners for Healthy Pets toolkit, Animal Family Veterinary Care Center was able to increase client compliance with recommendations for regular healthcare exams, heartworm tests, diagnostic panels, and fecal parasite screening. How they did so is the subject of one of three “success stories” provided by Partners for Healthy Pets to help guide and inspire other clinics.

Animal Family started by choosing two “champions” – enthusiastic staff members with extensive experience in animal health – to lead their effort. They then held a series of six meetings to introduce the guidelines and help team members learn how to apply them. The meetings kicked off with an inspirational video featuring Dr. Andy Roark, which is included in the Partners for Healthy Pets toolkit, and drew structure from the Powerpoint presentation tool, which Animal Family customized for their practice.

One team meeting was devoted to defining the practice’s core values, yielding commitments to display a positive attitude, and be welcoming, compassionate and professional. “That proved to be an important meeting,” said Practice Manager Bobbie Cotton.  “When it was over, there was no possibility that our practice would have a ‘make-it-up-as-we-go-along’ culture.”

For Animal Family, the team meetings were key to engaging all 28 members of the practice’s healthcare team. The meetings helped define how each team member would contribute to implementing the preventive care guidelines.

The results

Since kicking off the guidelines implementation effort, preventive healthcare visits and services have outperformed historical averages for the practice, according to Dr. Scott Bernick, owner of Animal Family. Another striking outcome: Online client reviews now average 4.8 stars out of a possible 5!

“I truly believe that by making preventive healthcare the focus of their practices, other veterinarians can realize these benefits as well,” said Bernick. “Partners for Healthy Pets has provided the resources that make that a realistic goal for all veterinarians, starting with a series of successful and rewarding team meetings.”

“The beauty of the online tools developed by Partners for Healthy Pets was that they made implementing the guidelines a step-by-step process,” he said.  “What seemed overwhelming at first became manageable and, ultimately, enjoyable.”

The guidelines implementation toolkit is available free of charge for any veterinary clinic on the Partners for Healthy Pets website.

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