As the date approaches for the AAHA meeting in Tampa and the Vets First Choice Sunrise Session, I’m reminded of the enormous benefits of AAHA accreditation.
The Value of AAHA Accreditation
This is the third time, I’ve written about my experience with AAHA accreditation. Over the past 15 years of my career, I’ve helped four practices either become AAHA accredited or reaccredited. Each time, the process has proved to be a milestone in my advancement as a practice manager, as a technician, as a member of a true team, and as a veterinary professional.
Before you review the requirements for accreditation, you might want to sit down. There are over 900 criteria that AAHA takes a look at in the accreditation process; everything from what we say to employees, to how we wash our hands before surgery, to how we shoot radiographs, to what we look like online. And yet, there is nothing extraneous about it. The list represents the collective efforts, experience, intelligence and thoroughness of an organization and that has literally defined great veterinary medicine for decades.
Use AAHA Accreditation Standards to Help You Train
One of the questions we regularly field during our education events is ‘how can I get a training program started at my practice? How do I know where to start?’ My answer is AAHA accreditation. Why come up with a list of everything your team needs to know, when a list has already been done; one that would otherwise take you years of thought and effort to produce?
Why Should I become AAHA Accredited?
I also sometimes hear people dismissing the need to become accredited. I tell them unequivocally that they’re wrong. In my nearly-constant effort as a practice manager and consultant to get people organized, bought into change, improving the status quo, and increasing the service and care we provide pets, nothing has worked as well as enlisting the whole practice team in helping the hospital become accredited or reaccredited. It gives the group focus, a re-appreciation for protocols, and a better sense of value.
Imbed AAHA Accreditation Standards into Your Training Manual
Speaking of protocols, one of the cool things that we did during several of our accreditation endeavors was to directly reference, by code number, actual accreditation requirements in our employee training manual. In this way, we were able to underline an importance to certain protocols that might otherwise have been overlooked. It was also an excellent way to quickly point out to our AAHA accreditation manager that the required standard had been addressed by our practice.
So on this trip to Tampa, drop by the AAHA booth and say hello, or thank you, or ‘how can I get started at becoming accredited?’ The knowledge at conferences is always great, but without a process in place to keep the fire of improvement and consistency ongoing, your registration fee might be for naught. Look to AAHA for today’s education needs and the means by which to implement that education when you go home.
Oh…and stop by and say hello at the Vets First Choice Sunrise Breakfast meeting on March 12th. We have a great hour of education for you and I love seeing old (and new!) friends 😉