The facility plays a huge role in the healing of its patients. From the parking lot to the foyers, to the rooms and the healing
garden—every space is carefully created, cultivated and fine-tuned to assure that patients and their families are comfortable
and inspired to heal. Even the nurses' stations are carefully planned. Each room is no more than 20 steps away from a station.
8. Bill of rights and responsibilities
You can access this three-page document at the Mayo Clinic website, http://mayoclinic.org/. There are two specific items in it that caught my attention. The patient has the right to choose the level of care he or
she desires—including declining recommendations and the responsibility to understand the consequences of these decisions.
When I had two trauma injuries in 2011, a ski accident and a horse accident, I was fully apprised of my options and the potential
outcomes of each one. Then I made my decisions. Nobody pushed, pressed or guilted me into anything; they just gave me the
9. Adherence to schedule
Dang, it's impressive. A patient has an appointment at 10 a.m., and it is actually at 10 a.m. I asked how they do it and the
Reader's Digest answer is, "It's hard work."
10. Client education
The clinic's newsletters, website and other materials all have a clear purpose: education. And you don't get a sense they're
trying to sell you something. It's clear they believe an educated medical consumer makes for good relationships.
11. Follow-up excellence
Excellent follow-up care and tracking helps determine outcomes. The flow at the Mayo Clinic is: admission, appointment and
then arrival at the scheduling desk. This desk is separate from admission and the cashiers—it's the scheduling desk only.
So as a patient leaves each appointment, new appointments are made and if adjustments are needed to a string of appointments,
the new appointment is entered and the string is adjusted.
This is a physician-run organization. And an excellent clinician may ascend to a leadership role, but only for a time. Then
he or she goes back to his or her clinical specialty. And while there are non-physicians within the flow chart of leadership,
they're in support roles. An MBA or a CPA is not making decisions that affect patients.
While this is a lot to take in, your first step in emulating the success of the Mayo Clinic is to develop a mission statement
that everyone in your practice will believe in. Once that's in place, you can set up policies and programs that empower employees
to follow and live by the mission.
Dr. Riegger is the chief medical officer at Northwest Animal Clinic Hospital and Specialty Practice. Contact him at (505)
http://www.northwestanimalclinic.com/. Find him on AVMA's NOAH as the practice management moderator.