If you’re a veterinary practice owner, your practice is probably like your baby. You were really excited when you found out you were going to be a parent (a practice owner). As soon as your baby was born (you actually stepped into the ownership role), you quickly realized how hard having a baby (a veterinary practice) really is. You’ve trusted your gut instinct when it comes to parenting (practice management) decisions ever since.
But owning and managing a veterinary practice is quite different (the most successful in our profession might even say it’s better—shhh, don’t tell the kids) than trying to raise a child. If you’re going to be successful as a practice owner or manager, you can’t rely on your instincts. Here are four reasons why you should be managing your practice with metrics.
- Data is objective.
Data doesn’t lie. It tells the real story behind the state of your practice.
Think about it: Imagine your data revealing that one doctor is generating far less revenue than the other doctors in the practice. You can use that data to identify inconsistencies in patient care, poor time management, discounting, lack of confidence, and more. Once the problem is identified, you can use the data to back up your decisions regarding personnel, and bias will not come into play.
- Data gives credibility to leaders.
When leaders want to implement change, it is better to back it up with data and statistics.
Think about it: If your data shows that preventive care exam revenue has decreased by 15 percent over the past year, despite a 2 percent increase in the cost of exams, you can use that data to justify setting a standard surrounding preventive care exams in your practice. How and when will preventive care exams be recommended? What will always be included in the exams? How will the team communicate with clients about preventive care?
- Data is the measuring stick behind change.
When teams can see the data to support the need for change, they will be more likely to embrace new standards, protocols, and strategies.
Think about it: By surveying your clients or team, the results cannot be denied when the majority’s answers are the same. For example, if 85 percent of clients surveyed said the exam-room wait time is too long, the exam-room wait time is too long, and leadership needs to implement changes to correct the problem. When the team sees the survey results, they’ll be more open to the proposed changes.
- Data removes the guesswork.
By using metrics, leaders will know exactly what they need to focus on in order to improve the practice and the team, no guesswork needed.
Think about it: A veterinary practice should aim to add 25 new clients per full-time veterinarian each month. If you have a three-doctor practice, and your data shows that you’re only adding 50 new clients each month, you’ll know that you need to focus on marketing your practice in your community to bring more new clients through your doors.
- Data is objective.