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Ep 50: Stop the Blame Game and Fix Mistakes, with Tracy Sheffield

Episode Details

Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

Patient safety is presumably one of the top priorities in every medical setting. However, errors still occur despite various measures put in place by the clinic management.

In today’s The Veterinary Business Success Show, Brendan Howard is joined by Tracy Sheffield to discuss proper ways of increasing patient safety and the benefits associated with such practices. 

Tracy is a seasoned practice administrator having served as a practice Administrator at Wimberley Veterinary Clinic for more than 31 years. She also currently works as a Managing Partner at T&L Veterinary Business Consulting where she specializes in offering real-world solutions to business issues encountered in the veterinary field. With the experience, along with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Science from Oregon State University, Tracy offers in-depth ideas on how to prevent medical errors and uphold patient safety at all times. 

Alongside earning the designation of Certified Veterinary Practice Manager, Tracy is a Licensed Veterinary Technician in the state of Texas. She is a widely published author and has published pieces in Veterinary Economics, Veterinary Technician, The Veterinary Business Journal (UK), and DVM 360. Tracy is also a well-recognized speaker at veterinary conferences across the country. She has spoken at AAEP, Southeast Veterinary Conference, Fetch DVM 360, the Bluegrass Conference, and many others. 

In this episode, Tracy reflects on the ‘blame game’ in the veterinary profession and how practices and work environments should provide systems, checklists, and procedures to prevent medical errors, fix mistakes and limit blame.

Episode Outline 

  • [00:00] Episode Intro 
  • [01:38] An introduction to patient safety from Tracy’s perspective. 
  • [03:25] Actions to be taken when a medical error occurs.
  • [06:45] Tracy reflects on a case when a medical error occurred and the staff was blamed for it. 
  • [09:08] What factors in the Veterinary industry make people blame others whenever an error occurs?
  • [12:30] Brendan asks Tracy why systems such as checklist exercises are not instituted everywhere.
  • [14:19] Ad Break – Our veterinary leadership program
  • [15:47] Tracy talks of the procedures and systems she has recommended to veterinary practices and the pushbacks she often gets. 
  • [17:25] Brendan and Tracy discuss Habitual non-compliance, a habit where staff fail to follow key procedures with the assumption that all is well. 
  • [19:51] Tracy talks about work environments in regard to system compliance.
  • [25:24] Tracy provides criticism on the traditional mantra that fresh graduates will always make mistakes in their early years of practice. 
  • [27:10] Does conducting a root-cause analysis require a procedure? 
  • [29:20] Tracy speaks on the actions she would first take if she were a new manager at a new or existing practice. 
  • [30:31] Episode Outro.
  • [31:23] The end. 

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Mentioned Links 

Connect with Tracy Sheffield 

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