How not to be overwhelmed by your practice data


Feeling overwhelmed with all of the data in your practice management system? You’re not alone, and we are here to help!

If you are a VetSuccess member, you are likely receiving four or more reports on a monthly or quarterly basis. Do you ever look at your reports and think, “There is so much good stuff here; I don’t even know where to begin”? I can guarantee that you are not alone if you feel this way. During my report reviews, I show practice managers and owners different ways to best use the reports. But not every practice should plan to focus their energy and resources on working through every single report every single month. At least not at first.

I like to think of the reports like a large cake. Imagine trying to eat the entire cake all at once! You certainly wouldn’t want to eat an entire cake in one sitting. Instead, plan to work through your reports and take “one slice of cake” at a time.

Start by identifying where the areas of opportunity are, and write them down. Once you have your list, you can prioritize it by what projects you want to work on first. Create a short term and long term goal for each area that you identify. By doing this, you can utilize the reports to measure your progress and success. As with all goal setting, make sure to utilize the “SMART” approach in your planning.

S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Actionable
R = Realistic
T = Time bound

Here’s an example:

Goal: Increase client email collection

As of my October 2016 Practice Overview Report:

Current percentage = 37%
Number of emails collected = 1750
Current total active client count = 4730
TTM average number of unique clients = 1719

Short term goal:

50% collected
2365 emails
Would need to obtain 615 additional emails

Long term goal:

90% collected
4257 emails
Would need to obtain 2507 additional emails

If we collect emails from only 10% of our unique clients each month, we should be able to increase our email collection by 172 per month. At this rate, we should reach 50% collection in four months.

At that same rate of collection, we should be able to reach 90% in 15 months.

Action Plan:

  1. Educate the team at the next team meeting. Lay out the goal, and why we are going to be focusing on this. Ask for one or two people to be on the “Email Collection Task Force”. They will help to promote the program, and will provide the monthly updates at each team meeting.
  2. Make a poster to hang in the lounge to track our progress.
  3. Teach the team to not ask “what’s your email address?”. Instead ask “what email address would you like us to associate with your pet’s medical record?”.
  4. Ensure email (and postcard) reminders are being sent according to the recommendations in the Case Study Resource. By utilizing both emails and postcards for reminders, we increase the chances of our patients returning for their preventive care.
  5. Add a line for client email to all in-house forms that clients fill out, and highlight it.
  6. Ticket raffle – Every time someone collects a new email address, they write it on the ticket with their name. At the end of each month, we pull two tickets and each person will win a gift card.

Staff Incentives:

At 40% – $5 Starbucks gift card
At 90% – Pizza Party (or whatever your team finds to be motivating)
Raffle drawing each month for gift cards

I now have a clear, and very specific (S) action plan for how to increase my client emails. I’m going to get my team involved, and have set up incentives along the way. I can continue to use my VetSuccess Practice Overview Report to see my new percentage each month (M), and can show this to my team so they can also see our progress. I have laid out the steps that I need to take (A), and have identified systems in my practice that I can tweak to help encourage the process. I have set an expectation of how many emails I think we can collect each month, and I feel that it is realistic (R). I have set a time frame with which I feel we can accomplish this goal (T).

This may seem like a long and arduous process. But having a clear plan of action will most certainly guarantee your chances of success will increase significantly, versus just winging it.

So there you have it. Cut your cake into slices. Figure out which piece you want to devour first, grab your “SMART” goal-setting fork and dig in!