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House Call Vets – How to Optimize Your Time and Your Profits

Updated: Feb 11

A surprising number of veterinarians offer the option of house call services to their clients. This number is only expected to grow, particularly given the current pandemic situation. But being a mobile practitioner is not without its challenges. Logistically speaking, keeping on schedule when delivering care outside the confines of the clinic can be quite difficult. Thankfully, with a little planning and the right strategy in place, you can effectively manage your time, keeping clients happy and avoiding burnout, regardless of where you happen to be practicing. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Be strategic about where and when your appointments are scheduled. If you are booking more than one off-site appointment in a week, try to plan them in a logical way to avoid too much running around. For instance, schedule appointments based on their geographic locations. If possible, choose a specific area to cover for each day of the week. That way you’re not running from one end of town to the other and wasting valuable time in the process.

Plan for more than just the appointment itself. Many busy vets forget this important detail, focusing only on the time they anticipate needing for the actual session and neglecting the time it takes to prep and regroup in between appointments. As a result, they end up feeling rushed and overwhelmed, and the calendar starts getting backed up. Whether you manage your own schedule or someone else on your team handles it, make sure to build extra time in around each appointment. It’ll keep everything running much more smoothly.

Help your clients help you. When a client is fully prepared, the appointment will flow much more efficiently. Don’t just assume your clients will be ready for you. Be proactive. For example, when a client calls to book a calendar slot, provide instructions or send a list of what they should do in advance of the appointment. Not every client will follow through, but even if a few do, it’ll make your life much easier.

Schedule activities for when you are most productive. Be honest with yourself. Do you tend to focus better when in the office in the morning? If so, then try to schedule your most intensive work during that time and other tasks, such as your house call appointments, for later in the day. This will allow you to optimize the use of your time so you are most productive and profitable.

Establish a routine. Time management experts recommend creating a consistent routine that you can become accustomed to. For instance, it can be helpful to try and schedule all basic house calls on specific days. Likewise, setting a specified day for surgeries and other regular activities can help you keep a handle on your calendar and know what to expect when each week begins. Obviously, there will be times when you will need to deviate from this routine, but at least you’ll have a foundation to work with.

Delegate whatever work you can to other team members. This can be remarkably difficult for some of us because, as veterinarians, we have a tendency to want to handle everything on our own. Can you manage your entire practice while juggling appointments inside and outside the clinic? Sure. Should you? Not unless you’d like to end up crashing and burning. You’ve worked hard to hire an awesome team. Now let them put their skills to work and trust that they’ll get the job done so that you can make the best use of your time.

Automate as much as possible. We live in the digital age where technology has become an integral part of our lives. Take advantage of the tools available to you that can make your job and your life tremendously easier, like practice management software. When you can automate things like appointment scheduling, reminders, prescription refills and other common daily workflows, everyone on your team will be freed up to apply their human skills where they’re most needed – caring for patients and providing personalized service to clients.

For more veterinary practice management tips, tricks and expert guidance, be sure to bookmark the DVMelite blog and check back often for new content!

Our Advice on How to Optimize Time and Profits in Your Vet Practice in 2024

What challenges do veterinarians face when offering house call services, especially during a pandemic?

Veterinarians providing house call services during a pandemic face challenges such as increased health risks, logistical complexities, and time management issues. They must navigate safety protocols for themselves and their clients while managing an efficient route to reduce travel time and maintain strict hygiene practices to prevent virus spread. Adapting to these demands requires flexibility and careful planning to protect human and animal health.

How can veterinarians help their clients prepare for appointments to enhance efficiency?

Veterinarians can enhance appointment efficiency by proactively communicating with clients. Providing a checklist of necessary documents, pet history, and current issues, along with instructions for pet preparation, can streamline the process. This approach ensures clients are ready, reducing time spent on administrative tasks and allowing more focus on patient care during the visit.

What strategies can veterinarians use to schedule activities based on their most productive times?

Veterinarians can maximize productivity by aligning tasks with their peak performance periods, such as scheduling complex procedures or in-depth consultations during their most focused hours and administrative tasks or house calls when energy wanes. Regularly assessing personal productivity patterns and adjusting schedules can significantly boost efficiency and effectiveness in veterinary practice.

Why should veterinarians delegate tasks to other team members, and what are the potential consequences of not doing so?

Delegating tasks is crucial for veterinarians to prevent burnout and maintain high-quality care. By assigning routine or administrative duties to team members, vets can focus on complex medical cases and client interactions. Failure to delegate can lead to overwhelming workloads, decreased quality of patient care, and increased stress, potentially causing professional fatigue and reduced job satisfaction. Effective delegation optimizes clinic efficiency and enhances overall team performance.

How can automation and technology help veterinarians manage their practice and improve efficiency?

Automation and technology streamline veterinary practices by managing appointments, client communications, and record-keeping with greater accuracy and speed. Tools like practice management software can automate reminders, prescription refills, and billing processes. This saves time and reduces human error, allowing veterinarians to focus more on patient care and less on administrative tasks. Embracing digital advancements enhances overall clinic efficiency and improves client and patient satisfaction.

Want more practice management tips and tricks? Bookmark the DVMelite blog and check back often for fresh, relevant content.

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