In most veterinary clinics, team members are waiting for the doctors' orders. In Henry Yoo's practices, the veterinarians
wait for the team's direction.
Dr. Henry Yoo (pictured below) created a five-minute checklist to help his team practice better preventive medicine in five
easy steps. PHOTOS COURTESY OF HENRY YOO, DVM
Case in point: When Yoo, DVM, MSc, MBA, asks his receptionist about the upcoming schedule for the day, she basically tells
him, "Go away, Dr. Yoo. We can handle it. We'll call you when we need you."
Of course, his staff didn't become this confident overnight. Yoo, now an executive consultant for Infinity Medical Consulting
in Santa Monica, Calif., owned four practices in Ohio for 20 years and says in the beginning doctors and team members worked
independently as "separate Indian chiefs." Plus, everyone practiced his or her own perception of preventive medicine—the most
important type of medicine clinics can implement, Yoo says.
Dr. Yoo keeps brochures in the back—so his team can chose the best ones for each client (right). On his non-traditional staff
directory, the doctors are listed last (below). "In our practice, receptionists and technicians are regarded as the top people.
They feel very well-respected and it shows in their attitude," Dr. Yoo says.
That's when he decided let the team members run the practice under one aligned system so doctors could focus on client interaction,
patient emergencies and treatment. He even created a five-minute checklist to help staff members practice the best preventive
medicine possible—and do so efficiently based on his postdoctoral training at The Ohio State University. The checklist is
broken down into five easy steps and starts with the receptionist at the front desk. (See a preview of the form at left and
to download the document for your team.)
The checklist reminds the receptionist to cover the predetermined topics on the sheet by asking clients questions such as:
> Does your pet have insurance?
> Does he have a microchip?
> Did he have any blood work done on his last visit?
> Is he due for any vaccinations or a fecal check?
He or she initials the appropriate boxes so the exam room technician knows what topics have been covered. The technician then
builds on this discussion by saying something like, "As Judy mentioned at the front desk, let's talk about heartworm prevention.
It takes only one mosquito to transfer heartworms to your pet."
During this discussion, the technician also gives the client a brochure on heartworm prevention with the most relevant information
circled or highlighted. Yoo says that too often clinics have a handful of brochures on display in the waiting room and it's
the client's job to pick them up—and this method is not ideal. His practices have a library full of brochures in the back
that the clients never see. It's the doctors' and team members' job to select the best pamphlets for each individual client