Overhaul outcome: Finding the tools for success
Practice Management Overhaul winners reveal what they've learned throughout the process—and how it's transformed their practice.
Jan 01, 2010
Our practice management experts Pamela Stevenson, CVPM, and Donna Bauman, CVPM, worked with two practices selected from more than 100 who told us about their struggles and shortcomings, their trials and tiffs, in an effort to be chosen for an intensive two-month management consultation. Were the winning practices ready to hear the consultants' feedback and, what's more, act on their numerous suggestions? Let's find out.
Northwest Animal Hospital, Omaha, Neb.
It's your practice, your vision, your goals," Donna Bauman, CVPM, told Dr. Jodi Houts. "Your team should help you accomplish those goals. If they don't, it's like trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. You're not getting them in there no matter how hard you pound."
Dr. Houts was facing some tough challenges, Bauman says. First of all, she was operating without a receptionist most afternoons. In fact, the previous owner didn't employ a receptionist at all until Dr. Houts lobbied for someone to staff the front desk at least during the morning hours. The rest of the time, team members answered the phone and handled reception duties "as needed."
Complicating this problem was the rush of discharges late in the day. "There would be nobody in the waiting room, then suddenly it would be chaos," Bauman says. "That left the doctors feeling rushed as they met with clients."
Also, the practice team wasn't meeting regularly, and disputes over uncompleted tasks were common between the morning and afternoon shifts. Despite the fact that things weren't getting done, Dr. Houts often observed team members wasting downtime, which frustrated her. "It was like you put these people in a building and shouted, 'Go!'," Bauman says. "As a new owner juggling medical and management responsibilities, Dr. Houts had a lot on her plate."