What's standard for veterinary medical standards?

What's standard for veterinary medical standards?

The business of good medicine counts on guidelines for a vast array of conditions, issues and procedures. Standards make sense, but are practices readily adopting them?
Dec 16, 2015

Standards make sense, but are practices readily adopting them? VHMA asked its members.

83 percent reported that their facility has written medical standards in place. A surprising percentage—17 percent—indicated that the practice has no written standards.

Among practices with standards, about 50 percent identified more than a dozen procedures covered by guidelines, including:

> history taking

> pain management

> vaccinations

> exam frequency

> what to include in the physical exam

> fecal exam recommendations

> heartworm tests

> flea and tick prevention

> preanesthetic testing

> surgical monitoring

> patient body temperature monitoring

> spaying or neutering

Team: Are you in?

When the team agrees and supports the medical standards the practice has adopted, this boosts the chance your team will implement and stick to the standards. Among survey respondents, 69 percent said the team agreed with the standards. Among team members who agree with the standards, 60 percent of respondents reported that these team members reinforce the standards consistently and 40 percent said the standards are enforced sometimes.

Most respondents—80 percent—say their standards are consistent with or exceed AAHA/AVMA standards. Less than 3 percent described their standards as falling below these guidelines.

Medical standards are powerful tools you can use to fine-tune practice performance—and more important, to protect the health and safety of clients and provide clients with critical information about caring responsibly for their pets. So take the time to adopt medical standards and watch how implementing standards improves your service and care.

Christine Shupe, CAE, is the executive director of the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association. The association is dedicated to serving professionals in veterinary management through education, certification and networking.