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Posted By Christine Shupe, Sunday, February 28, 2016

You are an aspiring PRACTICE CHAMPION and an agent of change committed to transforming policies, procedures and attitudes to promote preventive pet healthcare. But how do you impact the behavior of clients? Preventive Pet Healthcare: Your guide to becoming a PRACTICE CHAMPION promotes a strategy for addressing this issue—forward booking, a best practice with the potential to increase client compliance and ultimately improve patient health.


Forward booking—the process of booking ALL patients’ next appointments before they leave the office—can increases the odds that patients visit the practice as required and receive appropriate services on schedule.


The forward booking conversation begins with the Practice Leadership Committee. Prep the group for the initial meeting with quality information such as current forward booking protocols, “Forward Booking Appointment: How to Fill Your Appointment Schedules,” downloaded from the Partners for Healthy Pets website, and the results of a survey detailing staff’s impressions of how the procedure is adhered to and implemented within the team.  Comprehensive background material will help to promote a productive meeting discussion.


Issue an invitation to Practice Leadership Committee (PLC) members via email. Be sure to include support documents. Page 64 of the guide provides an e-invite template.


This meeting is called to order

PHP’s “Forward Booking Appointment: How to Fill Your Appointment Schedules,” is the document that should guide the meeting. Several important decisions need to be made by the committee. The guide addresses these decisions on page 66. The practice’s Forward Booking Protocol should emerge from these decisions.


The five essential elements of the protocol are:

  1. A definition of forward booking
  2. A statement that underscore the practice’s commitment to holding itself accountable to implementing forward booking
  3. The agreed-upon forward booking intervals
  4. Definition of the forward booking reminder system
  5. Individual team member’s roles and responsibilities related to forward booking.

The specific elements are discussed in greater detail in the guide on page 67.


Share the draft protocol with the practice owner and circulate the protocol to staff once the owner gives final approval.


Once approved, page 69 outlines a strategy for introducing the protocol to the team. Page 69 is a good source of specific information about how to work with the team to ensure success.


Periodic review, follow-up and improvement to the protocol will ensure the procedures are relevant and applicable over time.


For a complete discussion and access to the tools that can facilitate forward booking in the practice, refer to Preventive Pet Healthcare: Your guide to becoming a PRACTICE CHAMPION (pages 61-70).


As with all of the modules outlined in the guide, each chapter offers a comprehensive implementation strategy. Readers are encouraged to review the strategy and incorporate the steps that make sense to their practices.

Preventive Pet Healthcare: Your guide to becoming a PRCTICE CHAMPION is available to VHMA members for $49. To order go to


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