My family pediatrician walks into the exam room and introduces himself by saying, "Hi, I'm Pat Gordon." He's the new-generation
physician—no tie, no title, just a friendly and down-to-earth attitude. In my veterinary practice I, too, have dropped the
tie, but I still go by "Dr. Jeff" and wear my white doctor's jacket. Why? To create value in the exam room. I've never wanted
to be the kind of doctor whose clients go to the front desk and say, "Office call for what? He didn't even examine my pet."
Now, I know that no one loves to pay their bill. So what's the trick to keeping clients happy at the front desk? Much of it
stems from the art of working the exam room, which is all about creating value. In simple terms, controlling the exam room
is a combination of welcoming clients, gaining their confidence, providing a thorough nose-to-tail exam, and educating them
about what you're doing while you're doing it. All veterinarians should be able to provide a positive experience in the exam
There are a lot of ways you can do this. Consider giving clients a physical exam report card. Complete it in the exam room
and discuss the results with clients—it's the perfect time to make recommendations.
Next, simply use the tools at your disposal. Do an eye exam on each patient using the ophthalmoscope or penlight, then follow
up by scoping all ear canals and passing a swab to rule out otitis. When you take the time to employ each of these procedures
during the exam, clients will notice the difference. And you might even spot an ear infection you would have otherwise missed.
It may take you a little longer to complete exams, but your clients will be satisfied and you'll provide better care for your
patients. And even the crankiest clients will finally realize the true value of your services.
Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Jeff Rothstein, MBA, is president of Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals and Management
Group in Michigan.