The Clients Are Coming: 6 Tips to Reopen Your Veterinary Hospital

By Heather Allman, CVT

You know your clients are ready for you to reopen your doors, and your veterinary team may miss the face-to-face interaction with pet owners. But, can you safely reopen your veterinary hospital during this transition phase? With proper planning and preparation, you can keep your team and your community safe as you switch from curbside-only care to a hybrid protocol of limited occupancy. Here are six ways to get your veterinary practice ready to reopen its doors. 

#1: Determine your in-hospital protocols

The most important key to iron out before reopening your veterinary hospital is to determine what your protocols will be, and ensure your entire team is on board
Without buy-in from your team, safety protocols may not be properly followed, potentially transmitting disease.
Call a team meeting so you can discuss the following protocol aspects: 
  • How clients will enter your facility
  • How clients will be directed in your lobby
  • How many clients are allowed in your lobby
  • How many clients are allowed in exam rooms
  • If curbside pickup of prescriptions, food, and pets will be available
  • How to schedule appointments to maintain a lower occupancy
  • Staggering staff schedules to limit the number of people in the building
Once you’ve decided on the best protocols that fit the needs of your veterinary practice and team, you can put your plan into action.
veterinary curbside pickup solution

#2: Revise your veterinary hospital layout to keep your team and clients safe

When walking through your veterinary practice, is it tough to navigate the cramped hallways and common areas? If so, see if you can adjust the furniture layout for a more open space that allows people to remain six feet apart. 

Your lobby will be the most important area to avoid bottlenecks, so evaluate your available space and the protocols you have in place to determine how to best keep clients separated.

Consider the following further layout revisions and hospital additions that are designed to keep your clients and team safe:

  • Add trash cans, tissues, and touchless hand sanitizer pumps to common areas and exam rooms
  • Place exam tables between team members and clients whenever possible
  • Move cramped workstations to a larger area or use common spaces as needed
  • Mark one-way traffic patterns down your hallways and in your lobby
  • Add floor signage to maintain adequate distancing while waiting at reception areas
  • Install safety partitions at your front desk

While you can adjust your hospital layout to help guide clients and team members to maintain an appropriate distance, it will often be up to your CSRs to enforce the maximum occupancy numbers. And, although it will be difficult to stay six feet away from your coworkers, try to minimize situations where your team is crowded close together.

#3: Stock up on marketing materials

Before opening your doors again, peruse your marketing materials. Is your brochure rack filled with pamphlets on products you don’t even carry anymore? Or, maybe you’ve added a new service and want to advertise it to your clients. Swap old, outdated marketing materials for new brochures, and even consider switching to digital options. 

Create a digital library of your most-used brochures and client education handouts to help ensure you never run out. These can easily be emailed or printed for clients as needed. 

#4: Create push notifications and social media posts to explain your new protocols

Inform your clients about your new protocols by reaching them in a variety of ways. Use your veterinary practice app to send push notifications, post across your social media channels, or design a PDF file to email to clients. Begin sharing the news a couple weeks before your protocols change to ensure your clients have multiple opportunities to read about the updates before they go into effect, and so they know what to expect. This will also help reinforce the new procedures in your team’s minds when they’re scheduling appointments and answering questions.
veterinary platform push notifications

#5: Deep clean your veterinary hospital

Although you’ve likely been maintaining strict cleaning practices throughout the pandemic, there’s no better time to perform a thorough deep clean than right before reopening your doors. In addition to the routine cleaning and disinfection you normally perform, scrub down less-traveled areas to eradicate any potential source for pathogen growth. After your doors are open, you’ll spend the majority of your cleaning efforts on common contact surfaces that are touched by many different people (e.g., doorknobs, light switches, chairs, countertops).
cleaning veterinary hospital

#6: Perform a walk-through of your veterinary practice from a client’s perspective

Before welcoming clients back into your veterinary hospital, perform a walk-through of your practice to see it from your clients’ eyes. As you’ve become accustomed to focusing solely on pet care without owners watching over your shoulder, you may have accumulated heaps of items stuffed in forgotten corners, stockpiled on tables, or scattered in exam rooms. Take the time to put everything back in its place, and cast a critical eye around your practice to ensure it doesn’t appear cluttered and disorganized. If various pieces of equipment and medical supplies are living in random spots, it can look like your hospital is dirty, which can cause your clients to worry about disinfection protocols and re-entering your practice.

As you’re preparing to reopen your doors to clients—even if it is to only one at a time—consider using technology to help streamline your workflows and make communication among your team and clients more efficient. Many pet owners and their veterinarians have come to rely on technology and telemedicine to help provide top-notch care even during social distancing procedures, and having a customized hospital app can help you do just that. Find out how Vet2Pet can help your practice by scheduling a demo.  

Heather Allman, CVT

A certified veterinary technician since 2004, Heather Allman also holds two bachelor’s degrees—one in business and the other in marketing. Putting these dual degrees to excellent use, she started her own veterinary marketing consulting business, and has worked as a marketing and creative director for a local veterinary hospital since 2016. As the Vet2Pet marketing manager, Heather wrangles and coordinates the marketing team, ensuring projects are delivered on time and remain true to the Vet2Pet brand. Discover more about Heather here.

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