3 Time-Saving Digital Strategies for Small Veterinary Practices

Finding files can be a challenge

As veterinary recruiters and relief veterinarian providers, we work with a lot of animal hospitals and veterinary practices. We get a snapshot of how a clinic works, and how easy it is for new employees, whether relief veterinarians or new recruits, to fully onboard. 

Technology – or the lack thereof – can be a stumbling block for new employees. Doing some things “the old-fashioned way” can be a time suck in general, putting unnecessary pressure on both your veterinary and administrative staff. 

We’d like to discuss three areas where technology can have a dramatically positive impact on your practice, from easing the onboarding process to increasing general productivity. We’ve implemented some of these software solutions ourselves with great success.

  1. Electronic Medical Records
  2. Digital bookkeeping
  3. Digital organization/contacts/emails

Electronic Veterinary Medical Record (EVMR) Software

According to a 2014 study, about 20% of veterinary hospitals do not use any electronic medical records, and another 60% use a combination of electronic and paper records. Small veterinary clinics ask themselves: why bother? My system works fine!

The system works fine until someone else has to learn it. 

When you add a new employee or hire a relief veterinarian, that new vet has to be able to understand your organizational system and read your handwriting. They will spend significant time accessing and deciphering customer histories instead of examining and treating patients.

Digital records make relief veterinarians more efficient in your practice. Since a relief vet may only be at your practice for a day or two, there’s no time to learn your handwriting or that you keep your dental records in one spot, lab records in another, and exam notes in a third (or all in one giant unorganized stack). EVMRs help your relief veterinarian spend more time seeing patients and less time finding or completing paperwork.

EVMR software is especially important if you’re looking to recruit freshly-graduated DVMs. New graduates are trained on EVMRs as part of their training, and going to paper-based record-keeping would be a significant obstacle for a new vet. With the market for veterinarians of all experience levels getting hotter, small issues like this could be the reason a great candidate chooses another opportunity.

As EVMRs have gained in popularity, new solutions have come on the market targeted at smaller practices. Instead of a massive program that you have to install on each computer, cloud-based EVMR software means lower prices and better ease of use. If you haven’t looked at EVMR solutions in a while, now might be a good time to re-examine the issue.

Bookkeeping

Over the years we have evaluated several accounting options. From manual spreadsheets to desktop software, we finally moved to Quickbooks online. The main reasons for the transition include:

  • Easy to upload receipts and attach to specific expenses
  • Remote access for when we’re away from the office
  • Sharing capabilities

We switched to Quickbooks and a more modern accountant and suddenly, bookkeeping wasn’t such a headache. Creating invoices for clients got faster and easier. Digital receipt upload made expense tracking a snap.

Best of all, we could give our accountant online access to just the information they needed. They can access the data 24/7, so we know that we’ll be able to meet state and federal due dates for any types of payment or reporting. And the numbers are always current. 

Quickbooks is one of the standard accounting packages and integrates with many EVMR systems, like Vetter.  

If you’d like to see how easy it is to switch, learn more about Quickbooks here* (and get a discount, too).

Digital Organization with CloudHQ

No matter how old-school your practice is, you probably still get emails from owners and suppliers. You can’t escape digital marketing. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to digital marketing, services like HubSpot or CloudHQ can give you some basic digital marketing tools with no marketing or tech knowledge required. 

We use Cloud HQ ourselves for quite a few things, including:

  • Professional email signature and meeting scheduler
  • Gmail Copilot, a mini contact relationship management tool
  • Auto-BCC for email organization

Professional Email Signature

The first thing is the email signature and meeting scheduler. You can go beyond a text-only signature, making your emails look more professional and engaging, with just a few clicks. The instructions are clear and easy. Best of all, you can include a button to book an appointment right in your signature! Integrate this feature into your clinic’s digital scheduling calendar for easy digital appointment-setting. 

Here’s an example of our signature.

If this was an email and not a screenshot, our email address, phone number, and website would all be clickable, along with the big button to schedule a meeting. This makes it super easy for pet owners to schedule follow-up visits, letting your front desk staff focus on people and pets in the office or on the phone.

Gmail CoPilot & Auto-BCC Function

The Gmail CoPilot is a neat feature. Sometimes, the way Gmail threads conversations can make it hard to find exactly what you’re looking for. The CoPilot keeps all your notes and documents about a certain pet owner in one spot, so you don’t have to search through 3 email conversations to find what you’re looking for.

Finally, we use the Auto-BCC feature a lot. This feature adds you, the sender, as a recipient of the email as well. That makes the thread easier to follow for us, so we always have the most recent portion of the conversation up top. 

CloudHQ has saved us so much time and frustration, and our inbox is always current. It’s helped us be more professional and organized, and it’s a great toolbox for small practices that don’t have a ton of marketing resources.

We are in the 21st century. Maybe your practice could benefit from joining the digital revolution in some form or another. 

*We may receive compensation when you click some of the links in this post.