Pssst…The Secret to Success is….

By VHMA Admin posted 01-06-2020 16:10



If the practice is implementing a Preventive Pet Healthcare Program, the goal is to take the proper steps to ensure the success of the program. One key strategy for accomplishing this is to ensure that proper guidelines are in place. But it is important to understand what guidelines are and how they should be approached to increase the chances of success.

Aren’t guidelines rules?

Guidelines are not rules, they function as tools that help provide a means to an end. Guidelines direct actions or behavior. Guidelines are used to streamline processes according to sound practices. A rule explicitly governs conduct.

Why quibble about the difference between the two?

When organizing a preventive pet healthcare program, guidelines are key components of the program. Staff is expected to refer to the guidelines when working with patients and clients. If the guidelines are perceived as rules, then employees may find them oppressive and may slavishly try to stick to the letter of the law. Guidelines provide a general framework that staff can consult to ensure that both the quality of care and the process that is followed adhere to high standards.

Can guidelines improve outcomes?

When selecting guidelines that the practice will follow, it’s essential to know who recommended the guides and why, as well as the content and utility of the recommendations provided. Preventive Pet Healthcare practices may be tempted to develop specific guidelines for the practice. As long as the practice does its due diligence in creating the guidelines, this is one way to proceed. However, organizations like Partners for Healthy Pets, have produced guidelines for preventive pet healthcare that have been vetted and scrutinized. The guidelines are available on the PHP website and can be adopted as is or can be tweaked or modified to reflect the needs of a specific practice.

The bottom line is to be sure that the guidelines that are chosen support best practices in the delivery of care to patients.

What are the benefits of adopting guidelines?

Overall, when practices adopt guidelines, it is with the intent to help improve the quality of care. Preventive care guidelines have the potential to improve the health of pets by identifying and scheduling regular health care protocols to ensure that the pet’s health care needs are addressed consistently and that potential issues are identified in a timely manner, resulting in longer, healthier patient life spans.

Getting staff to buy into preventive pet healthcare guidelines

Any change in protocol will impact how the staff carries out their responsibilities. When adopting preventive pet healthcare guidelines, it is best that staff understand them and have the tools, resources, and training to make sure they stick. First and foremost, strive to explain to staff the reasons for adopting the guidelines and the reasons for the change. This will help to reduce resistance. Engage staff and listen and respond to their feedback.

It’s also advisable to have one person in the practice identified as the point person for the changes that are occurring, a Champion. This person should be knowledgeable about all components of the guidelines that will impact staff. Keep in mind that the implementation of guidelines is not a “once and done” process. The Champion should be charged with monitoring the success of the implementation process and identifying situations that arise along the way, proposing solutions, and evaluating the overall process with an eye toward areas that can be tweaked and improved.

For more information and tools and resources pertaining to implementing guidelines in practices interested in adopting preventive pet healthcare programs, visit the PHP website.