Forecast: Schedule disrupters on the horizon

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Jun 01, 2007

It doesn't take a crystal ball to know who'll walk through your practice door next. All you really need is a meeting, says Cindie McDuffee, the office manager at Animal Hospital of Thousand Oaks in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Like many teams, the reception team at Animal Hospital of Thousand Oaks reviews the appointment schedule to stay up-to-date on who's visiting and why. Then receptionists review clients' names and pertinent facts to make the visits go more smoothly. For example, are they chatty or demanding? Do they have special needs, such as detailed prescription instructions or wheelchair access? A client checklist keeps team members current on the status of each case and any issues they need to follow up on, such as copying a patient's chart for a client moving out of state.

The result: When a client steps through the door, the receptionist knows it's Mrs. Peterson with her 8-year-old male poodle, Oodles. Since Oodles often pees when he's excited, they know to be ready with cleaning supplies to take care of his happy accidents quickly. "Fewer surprises in our day lead to happier clients and a happier team," McDuffee says.