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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Quantity vs. Quality

Today I saw the most pets I have ever seen in one day...47! Considering that an average doctor should see 20-25 pets per day that's a pretty crazy number. Probably 40 of those I saw between 2:00 and 7:00, which averages 7-8 pets per hour. Again, that's a crazy amount to see. My practice has a policy that we will see any pet that needs to be seen. We simply don't turn people away. For the most part I agree with this, as it keeps pets from having any delay in diagnosis and treatment when they need it. However, at some point I think that pet care potentially suffers.

It's a question of quality versus quantity. And it really makes me wonder which people want. When I'm seeing almost 8 pets per hour, that averages to spending less than 10 minutes per pet. For a routine puppy booster vaccine this may be enough. But for a sick pet it definitely isn't. Personally I would rather give fewer patients better care. It would also improve client service, as I had several clients wait over 2 hours to be seen. Now, they were warned of the wait and they were happy to sit around, but I still don't like doing that to them.

So it's a bit of a conundrum. Do I turn some people away? The ones I turn away might need only minor care, or might turn out to be a serious case that needs immediate evaluation. Turning people away might mean better care for the pets I do see, but might mean denying care for other pets. Honestly, I've never worked at a location this busy before, so I've never been faced with this dilemma. It's great for business in the short run, but I also need to put aside the business at times and concentrate on being a doctor and providing the best care possible.

So now you can see the challenges of being a doctor and a hospital manager. I am continually weighing the business versus the medicine, trying to find a balance between them. And that brings me to my first ever poll! Look on the top right and let me know what you would prefer.