Covid has accelerated technology adoption in the veterinary clinic. Here are the best examples of solutions that can add real value to your practice and patients.
In the time since Covid shook the world in early 2020, fortunately much about life has begun to return to normal. But it's clear that some things won't return to how they were before the pandemic.
Several key trends have impacted the veterinary industry in particular. The exponential increase in pet ownership (how many "pandemic puppies" have you met?) along with a well-documented veterinary talent shortage has created the perfect storm for many practices, who find themselves in the untenable position of having to do more with less.
Another trend accelerated by the pandemic is the rapid digitization of society – a trajectory that may seem daunting but does, in fact, offer significant opportunities for veterinary practices with the foresight and the courage to embrace it.
"Going digital" and moving operations into the cloud will save your practice time, relieve pressure on beleaguered staff, and free up valuable hours in the day. Just as importantly, your clients will benefit from the kind of experience they now expect, and you'll be able to gain valuable insights to improve service levels, patient care, and the profitability of your practice.
Here are 6 of the best practical examples of how "going digital" can add real value to practice and patients alike:
1. Digital patient records
Easier to create, access, store, and share than paper, these become the "single source of truth" for your patients. Digital records can be viewed and updated anytime, anywhere, and are the foundation for improved customer communications and client care. They also offer peace of mind from a data security perspective.
2. Online appointment-setting
Clients now expect to be able to "self-serve" at the click of a button, rather than wait in a telephone queue. Enabling your clients to book appointments online at their convenience and select a time that suits their schedule improves customer service and saves time for overstretched clinic staff by reducing the number of phone calls they have to manage.
3. Automated reminders
Reduce the amount of time lost due to owners who forget their appointments and the effort it takes to reach out and reschedule. Additionally, help owners take better care of their pets by reminding them of upcoming health checks and vaccinations.
Virtual appointments are a valuable alternative to face-to-face appointments for initial triage consultations, follow-ups, or non-urgent matters such as nutrition. Telemedicine helps time-restricted or less-mobile customers access pet healthcare, allowing you to increase the number of consultations for owners less likely to attend in person.
5. Integrated payments
We are all now used to paying for goods and services digitally, and veterinary services should be no exception. Clients can pay securely in the most convenient way by card in-clinic or via a secure link online. This reduces admin for clinic staff by instantly updating the client’s record, removing the need for all manual reconciliation of payments.
6. Pet parent apps
Better connect with your customers by enabling them to book appointments, view pet records, receive vaccination reminders, manage their accounts, and much more at their convenience.
The pressure on veterinary practices to provide ever-better care to an expanding pet population leaves many practices at breaking point. And while technology is not the whole answer, it is an important enabler. The right mix of digital tools will allow you to achieve the right balance between running your practice and providing better care for your patients. The right partner can help you get there easier, quicker, and more cost effectively than you might think.
Kickstarting your digital journey will quickly bear fruit. And ultimately, what choice do you really have if it’s what your customers want and expect?