The team at Eglinton Vet, when hired, is introduced to core values put together by our management team to help guide their behaviours in the workplace: excellence, respect, compassion, teamwork, kaizen and fun. We ask that all of our team members remember these principles when working with our clients, patients and each other.
The most unusual of these is the concept of “kaizen” which is a Japanese word meaning “improvement” or “change for the better”. Our understanding is that this was a concept popularized by Toyota to improve processes and outcomes in the workplace. For more details, the Wikipedia discussion of Kaizen is found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaizen.
What does this term mean to us at Eglinton Vet and why did we include it as a core value? It encourages us to always look at and discuss how better to manage our cases and care for our clients, while changing with the times. It reminds us that we work in a field in which it is important to be continuously educating our team. Although our clinic has an amazing history, we know that it is important to work together to change and improve. Examples of things that we do behind the scenes that our clients may not be aware of:
Daily hospital rounds: These take place each day to allow the whole team to come together to discuss each case that is in the hospital. Our discussions in rounds allow us to insure that all patients are comfortable, that we have completed our tasks for our clients and that our communication is clear. If team members have questions about the medical care of the case, they can ask these of the doctors. We also use the time to discuss management items that may have arisen.
Team meetings and communications: On a regular basis, we will either meet with the team as a group, or send out communications to everyone on the team via email. This gives us a more extensive forum to discuss medical information, new products or services, client issues and how they were resolved and a whole host of other useful topics. Very often, our team meetings will include presentations to teach the team about something new.
Continuing education (CE): There is no question that our field requires us to be learning things on a regular basis. For the doctors and registered technicians, continuing education is mandated in order to be licensed. However, the whole team is exposed to new information all of the time; this may be in the form of management memos, lectures or CE opportunities outside of working hours. In the next few weeks, our doctors are lucky enough to be participating in some larger events, including the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association conference in Toronto in January, and the Western States Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas in February. We love to bring new information home to the clinic!
New services, medications and products: This is an area of constant discussion behind the scenes; we are always looking at how we can improve the quality of care for our patients. Most recently, we have added our laparoscopic surgery program (less pain, better recoveries), laser therapy program (a drug-free way to help with pain) and a list of safer and more effective medications including anesthetics and pain medications. We have also made the commitment to try to use the internet as a tool to reach our clients and provide information. This includes our new PetSites Gateway, which allows our clients access to their own pet health information, our website and Facebook page (join us here). Perhaps there will be a Twitter feed coming soon!
Kaizen... This is not only a fun concept, but commits us to doing better. If any of you ever have any suggestions as to how we can improve our services, please let us know in person, via phone, or send us an email at: email@example.com.