The form just gives you achievable standards and goals. These are defined as what a quality-minded local practice can expect
to achieve. We are not talking about teaching institutions here. These are monthly minimum standards; failure to achieve them means negligence in many cases.
Only cowards will discard these standards. The numbers are valid over the long term.
Of course, you may send out only four thyroid profiles this month and nine next month, but you should average between six
and seven a month per veterinarian in your practice. Failure to achieve these averages simply means that your indices of suspicion
may be a bit tarnished. This is especially true in solo practice where peer review is largely absent.
The crux of the problem is simply overconfidence in your eyeballs. You think you have seen a case like this before, and you
assume that similarity is equal to diagnosis. Failure to pursue a laboratory or imaging confirmation can cost the patient
and you in so many ways. You cannot be shown to be mistaken if you do not test, and it is never a mistake to test-confirm
your initial diagnosis.
Some 71 percent of all veterinarians have found unsuspected lesions on the chest radiographs of coughing older patients. Not
only were we surprised to find them, but we have been further surprised when our films were reviewed by radiologists who all
seem to have eyeballs on pedicles. However, failure to use our imaging equipment is rampant at a time when earlier diagnosis
might make all the difference.
Monitor your diagnostic acumen. Think diagnostics, not eyeballs. It is a great deal healthier for the patient and the practice.
Keying individual performance to team success in a multi-doctor practice.
Dr. Snyder, a well-known consultant, publishes Veterinary Productivity, a newsletter for practice productivity. He can be
reached at 112 Harmon Cove Towers Secaucus, NJ 07094; (800) 292-7995; Vethelp@comcast.net
; fax: (866) 908-6986.