You probably got into the veterinary business because you love animals and want to help them. Seeing pets every day is what drove you to open a veterinary clinic in the first place and what you're passionate about. However, it's also true that people's professions often require them to manage other tasks they might not like as much. For you, perhaps that includes veterinary practice management - those day-to-day administrative concerns like finances and scheduling. You may start out thinking you can manage all of those aspects of your business on your own, and maybe you can, but you may need a dedicated veterinary practice manager to keep your business running efficiently while you use your skills and knowledge to take care of pets.
The benefits of good veterinary practice management are many. They include:
- Streamlined daily operations. A good veterinary practice manager will look at your daily tasks and the information and tools needed to get them done, and create a system that eliminates rework and keeps operations running smoothly. This may include a computerized patient management system, well-defined employee roles, medical protocols and defined procedures.
- Increased efficiency. Veterinary practice managers work to increase clinic efficiency by appropriately distributing appointments among veterinarians, keeping good patient records and ensuring that workflow makes sense.
- Better internal and external communication. Veterinary business management includes appointment scheduling, patient information systems, and any communications that go out to customers and potential customers.
- Financial stability. Veterinary practice management ensures that bills are paid on time and financial goals are set and met. This may include analyzing the cost of goods, implementing a marketing plan and setting a clear budget.
You may hear about veterinary practice management systems, which are software programs that may include appointment scheduling, automated emails and phone messages, patient records and more. It's a good idea to put this type of system in place for your business. However, hiring a dedicated veterinary practice manager with the skills and experience to manage operations and ensure that any software systems work for the people using them is also advisable.
Responsibilities of a veterinary practice manager
Veterinary practice managers, who are often certified in the field by the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association, handle a range of responsibilities, including:
- Managing finances. This includes everything from budget-setting to preparing financial reports and managing cash flow.
- These managers will reach out to your target customers through social media, your website, targeted emails, mailings and more.
- Community involvement, including health fairs and local events help promote your business to the community.
- Technology and medical records. These managers may be the ones to choose and implement your patient management software system. They're also responsible for laboratory and other medical technology.
- Human resources. Whether you have a small or a large staff, these managers are responsible for hiring, benefits and more.
What to look for in a veterinary practice manager
You'll want a practice manager with good leadership and communication skills, and one with an education specifically in veterinary medicine. Organizational and time management skills are also important, as is a passion for animals, as they're the focus of your business.