What I wish I'd known
Think, then act.
Jun 01, 2009
A full plate of delectable ideas
Upon the directive of the two owners, I observed every function of the hospital for a two-week period and made notes about how things could be done better. I watched interactions between team members, between doctors and team members, and between doctors and doctors. Then I watched how everyone interacted with clients. I dissected the entire patient record and filing system, radiograph filing system, and controlled drug log. I came up with a way to overhaul how the practice handled inventory and charges, including setting the correct price for products and services and tracking missed fees. I wrote down ideas for enhancing appointment flow and client service.
Dinner and a meeting
One of the practice owners invited me to share my ideas during a meal at her house. I handed out copies of my 10-page report, and the two owners and I discussed each item over Chinese food. I backed up my ideas with written material and proper reasoning. I perceived the meeting as totally positive. Both owners said they were on board with my suggestions.
Nine years later, I decided to move out of state. Not long before leaving, I was reminiscing with one of the practice owners about the good times. Then, out of the blue, she told me how hurt and shocked she and the other owner had been after our initial meeting. This was their first stab at running a veterinary practice, and they thought they'd been doing well. My report was like a knife in her heart, and she remembered the meeting like it was yesterday. I couldn't believe what I was hearing and asked her again and again why she didn't tell me before. (I never really got an answer.)