Simplify your business processes to improve client service and profitability - Veterinary Practice
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Simplify your business processes to improve client service and profitability

James Barnes outlines a new ‘pack’ which can be used to ensure that everything is charged for correctly.

If you are a veterinary practice owner or manager, ask yourself two questions.

First, how much profit are you losing each year due to poor fees management, missed fees and poor client communications? Not sure? In fact, consultants agree that between 10 and 20% of profits are lost just on missed charges. The total revenue lost is arguably near 30% and I’ll explain why later.

Second, how would you like a practice management system capability that will reduce the lost profit and increase income – all with a simple entry? If you’re nodding your head, please read on.

RxWorks is now offering a capability unique among practice management systems; one where return on investment can be supported by fact. That tool is RxWorks Performance Pack.

High cost of a poor process

There is no argument amongst veterinarians that there is a substantial income loss due to poor processes.

First, consider fees management. Many practices still set fees that, at best, are not supported by sound business principles. These inexact calculations not only defy business logic, they may also contribute to the increasing perception that veterinarian’s fees are “too high”.

Competition for clients is fierce, not only due to more veterinary practices, but to increasingly discriminating consumers.

Clients may shop prices from other veterinarians in your area or they may decide that ordering products over the internet is more economical than purchasing from your practice. Add to that the increasing cost of veterinary equipment, wages and other operating expenses, and you face a real business challenge.

Fees based on true costs plus reasonable profit is the answer. Also, managing fees to profit goals rather than gross revenue is a much better way of measuring business performance.

Now consider the issue of missed charges. Many veterinarians use vaccination visits to drive client reminders. The problem arises when a new patient needs to have reminders entered. You may have a process but it’s very likely that it is unreliable.

We have analysed several dozen practices and have been shocked to discover that between 10 and 50% of reminders had not been added to the patient record. These lost opportunities to drive return visits can easily result in a 25-30% loss of profit.

A significant loss of profit also occurs because of poor processing of multi-step services. Consider a typical surgery, which can consist of 10 steps or more. It’s been shown that the error rate with multi-step processes increases the more steps you have.

For those interested in looking into more details on this, we suggest you read up on Lean Sigma 6, a process management methodology used by companies like Motorola and General Electric to improve quality.

Simply, the principle is that the more steps involved in the delivery of a product or service, the greater chance of error. Each step decreases the chance of getting it right by roughly 10%.

So, in our example of a 10-step surgery, if each is recorded separately, your chance of being right is 35%. A single step “bundle” of services improves that chance to 90%.

By-the-minute price tracking

RxWorks Performance Pack eliminates error by providing over 5,000 predefined small animal, equine and large animal “bundles” or procedures. Each procedure can be customised to your practice’s standards of care. Each step in the procedure, and the associated client charge, is automatically tracked, including:

  • minutes of veterinarian time – and related charges
  • minutes of nurse time – and related charges;
  • use of any resources, e.g., surgery theatre and equipment, anaesthesia machines, etc. – and related charges;
  • incidental consumables, e.g., cotton balls, solutions, needles, sutures, etc. – and related charges.

To build loyalty and to encourage clients to comply with recommended standards of care, you need to inform and educate continuously and comprehensively. Studies show that the vast majority are looking to their veterinarian to educate them and recommend what is best for their pet.

Informative invoice

Within the 5,000+ small, equine and large animal procedures provided in Performance Pack, text is automatically included to educate and inform clients. With one keystroke, your staff can produce an invoice that educates, informs and reflects the true value of your professional services.

Information includes:

  • the reason for the visit;
  • specific procedure information;
  • special instructions – for example, after-care information;
  • patient history information to help drive a common strategy and plan for the patient’s long-term healthcare;
  • comprehensive surgery information;
  • recall reminders (no more missed follow-up with staff prompted to call the client and record the conversation in the patient record).

In addition to educating clients and eliminating error, productivity increases due to a significant reduction in the amount of data entry.

Just as veterinarians must communicate with and listen to their customers to achieve long-term success, so must the vendors who serve this industry. RxWorks has supplied advanced veterinary practice management systems and services for over two decades. Performance Pack results from client feedback and requests, plus the opinion of industry experts.

For more information about this powerful automated tool and other RxWorks system capabilities and services, contact the author on 0845 4747 445, e-mail

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