Focus on fecal compliance in veterinary practice
If there's one thing we've learned in more than 20 years of association with veterinary medicine, it's this: There aren't many topics here that make for polite dinner table conversation. People don't want to know that the term melena means black, tarry stool—especially when they just named their baby daughter Melina. They aren't interested in hearing about the 32 yards of carpet yarn you helped remove from a pit bull's stomach last week. And they definitely don't enjoy hearing that their dog or cat, their pride and joy, could have worms. The real clincher to that conversation is when you tell them that to find out for sure, you need to examine their pet's poop.
Worms and poop: two sure-fire conversation-stoppers. But it's an important conversation, nonetheless. And since it's definitely not a conversation that most clients will ever initiate on their own, it's important for each team member to play a part in educating clients about intestinal parasites and the importance of fecal testing.
Managers: Poop happensChances are, most of your clients have had a fecal test recommended at least once or twice. And chances are, many of those same clients may have chosen to overlook that recommendation. But when your whole team gets involved in educating the client, and the client hears the same message consistently and repeatedly from multiple team members, you provide the knowledge clients need to make an informed decision. More often than not, with proper education, your clients may just start to comply.
People need to have information presented to them multiple times and in a variety of ways for it to become part of their memories and belief system. That's why it's so important for each team member to be involved in making fecal compliance successful. Each team member plays a vital role.
An effective fecal compliance program starts with the practice owner. Before you launch a program, the practice needs a fecal testing philosophy, and this should be based on the practice owner's recommendations. Should fecal testing be done once a year? Twice a year? With every new puppy and kitten? Should testing include Giardia?
Once you've defined the practice's fecal testing philosophy, it's time for the practice manager to develop protocols. Protocols will ensure you're delivering a clear message—and consistency is crucial. We confuse clients when the technician tells a client one thing and the doctor tells a client something else. And confused clients often take the easiest route—doing nothing. When you're developing your practice's program, consider these critical points: