Pulse - April 2021 - 12

Optimizing staff not only increases
efficiency in veterinary practices-
it retains clients-and could alleviate
burnout among veterinarians
By Heather Grimshaw

As veterinarian shortages persist and threaten access to care, veterinary practice owners might
be more willing to assess skills and redeploy staff to ensure team members are working up to
licensure and providing the appropriate type of care. Some say it's leadership, not necessity,
that will prompt this type of industry shift and those who put patients-or clients-first will
lead the way for others. One example from the human medical realm illustrates that point.
" We've gotta change how healthcare is delivered, no
matter who it's delivered to, " said Lisa K. Lewis, D.O.,
F.A.C.O.G., M.P.H., who owns Sustaina Center for Women,
Lakewood, Colo. Her practice transformation efforts to
improve patient experience saved $481,936 in one year
and landed her an invitation to present at the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Innovation conference.
Cost savings came from various process and management changes including tapping a medical assistant (MA)
to handle low-acuity urgent needs to increase patient
access. This work alone, which is allowed by the Colorado practice act, saved $257,908 in one year by avoiding
302 emergency room (ER) visits.
Training an MA to handle these needs, which include
urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted disease
screenings, allows patients to get care on the same day
they call. " They love it, " Dr. Lewis said. " It conveys a
message that 'We are here for your in- and out-visits.' "
The same could be said for pet owners seeking access
at veterinary clinics.

12

Providing team-based care
In addition to expanding patient access and reducing
avoidable costs, ER visits provide MAs (there are now
two working with Dr. Lewis) with professional growth
opportunities, enable Dr. Lewis to delegate work that
doesn't require a doctorate (though she signs off on
charts and confirms order accuracy), and allocate two
hours in her schedule for administrative work.
" Josephine [the MA] is so efficient sometimes I don't
even know a patient's there, " Dr. Lewis explained. " They
[patients] come in, check in, pay copays, she takes them
back, runs through her section of the chart and gets their
samples and 'whamo' [they're done]. Patients love that. "
The work garnered Dr. Lewis preferred status with several insurance companies, added $8,000 directly to her
practice's bottom line during the first year, and improved
satisfaction rates with patients, who prefer to receive care
within 24 hours from known, trusted professionals than
going to an ER. In fact, it's become the team's tagline:
Swing by and get things done by people who care.

APRIL 2021

PULSE



Pulse - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pulse - April 2021

Pulse - April 2021
Chapter Meetings & Calendar
President’s Perspective
SCVMA Profile
Pulsepoints
Practical Pathology
Optimizing Veterinary Practice Staff Increases Efficiency and Retains Clients
Medical Leeway
UC Davis Update
Tools for Success
Angel Fund
Dear Tabby
The RVT
Industry Insights
Quick Reference
Digital Photography for Veterinarians
AVMA Diplomates
Resources
Disease Table
From the SCVMA Office
Pulse - April 2021 - Pulse - April 2021
Pulse - April 2021 - Cover2
Pulse - April 2021 - 1
Pulse - April 2021 - 2
Pulse - April 2021 - Chapter Meetings & Calendar
Pulse - April 2021 - President’s Perspective
Pulse - April 2021 - SCVMA Profile
Pulse - April 2021 - 6
Pulse - April 2021 - Pulsepoints
Pulse - April 2021 - 8
Pulse - April 2021 - 9
Pulse - April 2021 - 10
Pulse - April 2021 - Practical Pathology
Pulse - April 2021 - Optimizing Veterinary Practice Staff Increases Efficiency and Retains Clients
Pulse - April 2021 - 13
Pulse - April 2021 - 14
Pulse - April 2021 - 15
Pulse - April 2021 - Medical Leeway
Pulse - April 2021 - 17
Pulse - April 2021 - UC Davis Update
Pulse - April 2021 - Tools for Success
Pulse - April 2021 - Angel Fund
Pulse - April 2021 - Dear Tabby
Pulse - April 2021 - The RVT
Pulse - April 2021 - Industry Insights
Pulse - April 2021 - Quick Reference
Pulse - April 2021 - Digital Photography for Veterinarians
Pulse - April 2021 - 26
Pulse - April 2021 - 27
Pulse - April 2021 - 28
Pulse - April 2021 - AVMA Diplomates
Pulse - April 2021 - Resources
Pulse - April 2021 - Disease Table
Pulse - April 2021 - 32
Pulse - April 2021 - 33
Pulse - April 2021 - 34
Pulse - April 2021 - 35
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Pulse - April 2021 - From the SCVMA Office
Pulse - April 2021 - Cover3
Pulse - April 2021 - Cover4
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