Managing Workflow and Staff Resources in Veterinary Practices

"The design of good organizational workflow is not simply about improving efficiency. Workflow processes are maps that direct the care team how to accomplish a goal. A good workflow will help accomplish those goals in a timely manner, leading to care that is delivered more consistently, reliably, safely, and in compliance with standards of practice." 1

Payment list in veterinary practice to manage clients ready to pay for veterinary service

Benefits of Directing Workflow in a Veterinary Practice

  • Creates a coherent experience of the veterinary visit for clients
  • Ensures continuity of care
  • Improves team cooperation
  • Frees up time and staff resources.

Workflow Co-ordination in Veterinary Practices with User Lists

User lists co-ordinate and optimise workflow in veterinary practices to make better use of time and staff resources. As the name suggests user lists are defined entirely by the user, in this case the practice manager. The software provides building blocks and core functions, but gives complete flexibility how to create lists to best suit your veterinary practice. Any particular workflow is not imposed by the software. The user lists will accommodate the workflow practices you have in place already and help you to optimise them further.

Core User List Functions to Facilitate Workflow in Key Areas of the Veterinary Clinic Visit

Core functions are built into the user lists to ease workflow management in key areas of the veterinary visit aimed at minimising wait time for clients upon arrival and before payment:

Client has arrived for appointment at veterinary practice

Arrivals list. Integrated with the day planner to indicate clients that have arrived for their appointment. The Arrival list - as all the lists - is automatically updated to show how long each client has been on the list, e.g. waiting. Including patient colour and breed data columns helps to identify the patient in the waiting room.

Payment list. Integrated with point of sale for the veterinarian to notify reception staff when a client is ready to pay, maybe with a note when to book the next appointment or discuss buying a beneficial pet diet.

Hospitalisation and boarding lists. Integrated with consultation to track treatment times, start/end dates of stay and cage number.

User List Features

  • Open consultation record directly from list
  • List data columns can be made up of any selection of client, patient and consultation details, e.g. patient name, appointment start time, reason for visit etc.
  • Include only the data columns relevant to each work area to help focus user attention
  • Access any relevant work area in the software through the seamless integration of user lists and software screens
  • Include notes for other team members
  • Set user alert that will break through to other software screens at specified date/time
  • Include cage number and start/end date of hospitalisation or boarding stay
  • Colour code each list
  • Set font size for easy readability
  • Print list.

How Staff Lists Are Useful for Veterinary Practices

Some veterinary practices find it useful to create lists for staff members - a common list for all staff or individual lists. Whichever suit best in the veterinary clinic. Some example of what veterinary practices use staff lists for:

  • As a central message board where others can post notes. In larger veterinary clinics it can save time not having to track down a doctor or nurse
  • Reminders for consultation follow up phone calls
  • Check-list to complete unfinished medical history notes for consultations.

The fact that users can open a listed consultation with a double click makes the lists so convenient to use for a great variety of purposes.

Shortening Client Wait Time by Staff Working in Parallel

A list entry can be copied so it appears on 2 lists so staff can work in parallel. For example, to mimise client waiting the veterinarian can signal to nurses to prepare dispensed medication by adding en entry on the prescriptions list and signal to reception staff that the client is ready to pay by adding the consultation to the payment list.

Designing User Lists

Optimise workflow in your veterinary practice with user lists created on the user list designer

List are easily created on the list designer screen. Select data columns to include with check-boxes and drag and drop them into the desired order. Choose whether to include any of the core functions on the list in a similar manner.

  1. Carol Cain, Saira Haque. Organizational Workflow and Its Impact on Work Quality. In Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses.