By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
Facility management practices are expanding beyond traditional offices and white-collar companies. Today, even veterinary facility management is a practice that demands skilled oversight. The reason is because the benefits are scalable—veterinarians and their operations benefit from good facility management in many of the same ways a traditional office-based company does.
While a veterinary practice may have a much smaller footprint than an office building and fewer people working there, its operations are not any less complex when broken down. Veterinary clinics face unique challenges and facility obstacles that require innovative solutions. Here is a look at how vets can use facility management software to improve operations and the level of “patient” care they provide.
What is veterinary facilities management?
Veterinary facilities management involves making the best possible use of facilities to expedite and optimize the care given to animals. It involves maximizing the use of exam rooms, lab equipment, animal-specific amenities, and, most important, the time and skills of veterinarians and vet techs. This is vital in an environment with so many volatile variables: different animal temperaments, urgent and emergent situations, and limited physical resources.
Examples of veterinary facilities management
Animal hospital facility management introduces much-needed flexibility to veterinary environments. It allows vet techs to adapt to changing situations with quickness, to keep themselves and animals safe, and to expedite the delivery of care. Here are a few basic examples:
- Room reservation software shows three aggressive dogs booked for appointments at 10am. When Dorothy calls to book an appointment for her skittish cat, the vet tech can schedule them at 11am, to avoid anxiety.
- A pet owner calls ahead to say they’re bringing in a dog with severe trauma. A vet tech can quickly relocate a dog from the intensive care room to a regular exam room and put the x-ray tech on standby to prepare for the incoming dog.
- An animal hospital is preparing to receive 10 animals from a breeding mill that’s been shut down. All animals need various levels of care. The hospital’s facility manager delegates cages and exam rooms for all 10 animals in advance of their arrival.
Whether to promote harmony between pets or to prepare for an unforeseen, emergent situation, more vet clinics and animal hospitals are using facilities management software to govern their space and amenities.
Coordinate a better level of care
What variables fall under veterinary facility management? Instead of hot desks and agile workspaces, vet clinics need oversight for their most important assets and operations:
- Exam rooms. Exam rooms are where evaluations and basic procedures happen—or, where you render billable services. Maximizing exam room utilization has a direct correlation to clinic profitability and patient care.
- Equipment. X-ray machines, digital scales, surgical equipment, lab equipment, and the like are all critical tools for delivering care to animals. Again, maximizing availability of equipment leads to more billable services rendered.
- Animal housing. For clinics that charge for boarding or those involve in animal intake for long-term treatment, it is vital to coordinate animal housing. These spaces are finite and essential, necessary to always manage.
- Staff and volunteers. The workforce’s interaction with facilities is worth measuring and managing. For example, if you have six animals in intensive suites, it tells you to staff more than the usual one or two vet techs.
Whether it’s triage and urgent care, routine exams and procedures, or extended stays, veterinary facilities are home to diverse demands. Like any workplace, it is up to facilities to meet these demands. Visibility is the first step.
Beyond animal care
Veterinary facility management goes beyond finding space for pet and predicting care needs. There are also the people to consider and the general operations of the business as they relate to facilities.
Do patients and their pets have a comfortable waiting room that alleviates stress? Are facilities set up to streamline the patient experience, such as weighing and vitals before the vet consult or leaving through the back door to discourage animal agitation? Are waiting rooms, lab rooms, storage areas, and the waiting room arranged to reduce cross-interaction between pets as they receive care? These questions and many others like them show the link between proper facility setup and management, and business operations.
Maximize the level of care and comfort
Few animals like going to the vet and most are smart enough to know where they are when they get there. Provide an experience that gets them the care they need, in a comfortable environment, with as few disruptions as possible—whether they are in for a routine checkup or an emergency visit.
It is not only about the pets, either. Well-managed vet clinics and animal hospitals will put pet parents at ease and give them the confidence they need to not think twice about scheduling their pet’s next appointment at a particular clinic.
Keep Reading: Selecting the Right Facilities Management Software