The workflow of your veterinary practice is what keeps things moving smoothly throughout the day. A few small hiccups in that process and the whole day could be thrown off, resulting in costly delays and ultimately upset clients. Workflow inefficiency is something that can happen to even the most well-meaning practice owner, so if you’re struggling in this area, you’re certainly not alone. Let’s take a look at five questions to ask when evaluating your status quo and what to do to correct problems before you end up even further off course.
Does your team clearly understand what’s expected of them?
Having a clear and accurate understanding of what each person’s duties, responsibilities and expectations are is critical to the success of your practice. When team members are unclear about who is responsible for what, you can easily end up with costly bottlenecks and frustrating redundancy. Make sure you are being very forthcoming and specific about each staff member’s role and what it entails so there’s no room for confusion or misunderstanding.
Is work being repeated?
One of the biggest killers of efficiency is repeated and overlapping tasks. This can be frustrating, both for your staff as well as your clientele. For instance, if a client has to provide the same information multiple times to multiple people, it will tarnish the experience and could paint your office as unprofessional. The goal should be that each task is completed once and performed correctly the first time. Map out all of your practice workflows and make sure there is a clear flow for each without misdirection or repetition.
Are you creating and following a set schedule?
If you don’t have order when it comes to scheduling, you’ll naturally experience inefficiency. What’s more, important tasks can end up slipping through the cracks, which could place your practice in a bad position. To avoid this, make scheduling a priority. List out all daily tasks and specify times to complete them in order of priority. Patient scheduling should also be highly organized, preferably with the use of scheduling software.
Is your team communicating as well as it should be?
Your workflows cannot function at their best without clear, two-way communication. That includes communication between management and direct reports as well as amongst colleagues. Every individual on your team should feel empowered to bring their questions or concerns to the table so they are heard and dealt with in a positive, productive way. By making communication an integral part of your practice operation, you will improve both efficiency as well as the client experience.
Does your staff fit your practice culture?
We recently shared some tips for recognizing when your practice culture could use a makeover, but what happens once you’ve established a strong culture and you realize that one or two staff members simply aren’t a good fit? Admitting that there may be employees who are toxic to your practice and holding you back from greater success is difficult but essential. Unhappy team members result in poor productivity and lack of efficiency, which can bog your practice down. Be willing to take an honest look at your team and either commit to working with them or make the necessary staffing changes.
Your workflows are the driving force behind your practice. If they’re not optimized properly, you could be wasting time and money while also frustrating your staff and your clientele. The five questions above should help you perform an accurate assessment of your current situation so you’ll know which areas to focus your efforts for a better outcome.
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