How to Practice Smarter …Not Harder
World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings, 2001
Mark Opperman
United States

“If It Doesn’t Bleed, I Don’t Want To Know About It”

I.         Goal Planning

A.   Enables You To Set A Course Of Action To Achieve Goals And Reach Your Objectives

1.   Short-Term Goal Planning

2.   Long-Term Goal Planning

B.   Helps You To Solve Your Problems Faster And Easier

C.   Prepares You For What To Do In Case Certain Things Happen, What To Do Under Particular Circumstances, And How You Should React To Future Events

D.   Provides The Sequence Of Events For You To Follow To Improve Yourself And Your Practice

II.        Five Requirements Of Effective Goal Planning

A.   Be Specific Rather Than General. Define your goals and objectives and indicate the means for attaining them.

B.   Distinguish Between The Known And The Unknown. Make your goal planning more than just anticipation and reaction.

C.   Make Your Plan As Logical And Practical As Possible. Intelligent thinking would serve as the foundation for your plan.

D.   Introduce Flexibility And Looseness so that the plan may readily be modified if circumstance requires it. Recognize that no plan is infallible nor can it cover all contingencies.

E.   Be Sure Your Goals Are Consistent with the aims and goals of the practice.

III.      Time Management

A.   Time Management

1.   What are the things that you are doing on a daily basis that you should not be doing?

a)   Accounting and bookkeeping

b)   Running errands

c)   Problem solving

d)   Personnel management

e)   Inventory management

f)   Ordering drugs and supplies

g)   Routine laboratory procedures

h)   Preparing prescriptions

i)   Other

B.   Set Realistic Time Frames

1.   Office hours and surgery schedules

2.   “E” slots

3.   Fifteen or twenty minute office calls

4.   Use a well set-up appointment book

5.   Be realistic in all your scheduling

C.   Prioritize Your Time

1.   Use a mental or written priority list on a daily basis

2.   Set aside appropriate time periods

3.   Break down the task into individual components

4.   Do not attempt to start a component of a project unless you can finish it! (i.e., correspondence, continuing education, surgery, etc.)

IV.       Project Management

A.   Define The Project

1.   Breakdown the project into its individual components

2.   Write the plan out

3.   Set time limits

4.   Delegate

V.         Delegation—The Key To Success

A.   How To Delegate Effectively

B.   Why Some Staff Members Resist Having Responsibilities Delegated To Them

C.   Why We, As Managers, Fail To Delegate

D.   How Do You Rate As A Delegator?

Answer The Following Questions With A Yes Or No:
1.                                                    6.                                                        
2.                                                 7.                                                        
3.                                                 8.                                                        
4.                                                 9.                                                        
5.                                                 10.                                                      

O I am very effective at delegating

O I am not delegating as much work as I should

O I am an ineffective delegator and must work on delegating many unnecessary chores that are slowing me down.

VI.       Let’s Learn To Practice Smarter…Not Harder

A.   Office Procedures

1.   Color-coded medical records

2.   Quality medical record forms

3.   “Smarter” Accounting and bookkeeping systems

a)   One-write receipt system

(1)   Well designed receipt form

(2)   Use the system as intended

b)   Computerized cash register

c)   Computerization

(1)   Modularized software program

(2)   Full Service Programs

(3)   Do not re-invent the wheel

d)   One-write disbursement system

B.   In-Hospital Procedures

1.   Exam room technician procedure

2.   In-hospital tracking form

3.   Develop a standardized estimate book

4.   Employee manual

C.   Develop A “Smarter” Fee Schedule

1.   “Shop” your exposed fees

2.   Calculate other fees based on:

a)   Direct Costs at % mark-up

b)   Overhead costs per minute

c)   Return on time to D.V.M.

3.   Review and monitor your pharmacy

a)   Set % mark-up

b)   Minimum per pill charge

c)   Pharmacy preparation charge

d)   Minimum Rx charge

VII.      Generate Or Review “Smarter” Financial Documents

A.   Departmentalized Profit And Loss Statements

B.   Graphs And Charts

C.   Aged Accounts Receivable

1.   $4.50 Billing Fee

VIII.    Utilize The Expertise And Abilities Of Other Professionals And Staff Members

A.   Lawyers

B.   Accountants

C.   Tax Planners

D.   Consultants

E.   Office Managers

F.   Practice Managers

G.   Hospital Administrators

IX.       Practice Smarter…Not Harder

A.   Do Not Try To Re-Invent The Wheel

B.   Cut Down On Repetition Of Work

C.   Make Your Time Productive And Enjoyable

D.   Implement!

E.   Follow-Through


Develop a Written Goal Plan

On Four Separate Sheets of Paper, Write:

1.   Your Lifetime Goals;

2.   Your Five Year Goals;

3.   Your Annual Goals;

4.   If you were told that you have three months to live, what would you want to accomplish?

Developing Your Plans

On Each Of Your Plans, List 8–10 Major Accomplishments That Need To Be Achieved Along With Their Appropriate Time Frames:

Subheadings That Can Be Used:

1.   Practice

2.   Financial

3.   Physical

4.   Intellectual

5.   Family

6.   Social

7.   Spiritual

The Acid Test: 

 Compare your lifetime goals with the goals written on the sheet when you were supposing death in three months.


Focus Specifically on the More Detailed Practice Goals

1.   What Gross Income Do You Want?

2.   How Can You Produce This Goal?

3.   Are You Satisfied With Your Net Income?

4.   What Specific Steps Can Be Taken To Increase Your Net?

5.   What Improvement Ideas Should You Implement This Year?

6.   How Much Time Off Do You Want?

7.   What Type Of Continuing Education Do You Want To Attend This Year?

8.   What Improvements Need To Be Made In The Physical Plant?

9.   Are Any Staff Changes Necessary?             

Speaker Information
(click the speaker's name to view other papers and abstracts submitted by this speaker)

Mark Opperman
United States

MAIN : : How to Practice Smarter …Not Harder
Powered By VIN