Rev Up Revenue With Technology!Feb 22 2023
Technology has revolutionized the way Veterinarians operate their clinics. Utilizing technology, Veterinarians can increase revenue and customer satisfaction by providing after-hours triage, virtual front desk, callback and automatic scheduling services. This helps to offload work from the clinic staff and also provides a better service to customers. With the help of technology, Veterinarians can provide an easier way for customers to request appointments and receive timely responses from their clinic. By using technology in their practice, Veterinarians can ensure that they are providing the best possible service to their clients while also increasing revenue for their business. Virtual Front Desk acts as an extension of your Vet staff that helps businesses triage calls, provide on-call advice, offload work, and eliminate long hold times. It allows businesses to handle more calls and book more appointments in a shorter amount of time. With the help of Virtual Front Desk, clinics can save time and money while giving their customers the best possible service. The technology works by using a remote triage team to understand customer needs and automatically route them to the appropriate next step — whether that be: setting up an appointment request or refer out to a ER if there is a more immediate need. The remote triage team can also help to identify patterns in pet owner’s cases and suggest better ways of handling them in the future. By leveraging these technologies, Virtual Front Desk can help hospitals better manage their incoming calls and increase customer satisfaction. After hours triage is an effective way for businesses to keep their operations in house and provide customers with the best service possible. It allows businesses to provide on-call advice and triage calls from customers, enabling them to make smarter scheduling decisions and handle appointment requests more efficiently. This can help businesses maximize their resources, increase customer satisfaction and ultimately increase the number of appointments they are able to take on. Combining tech-enabled services is a great way to create a complete user experience for both the clinic and the pet owner. By providing an omni-channel experience, clinics can reduce hold times and provide smarter scheduling. This helps to reduce stress for both the clinic and pet owners, while allowing them to increase their bandwidth and achieve better work-life balance. Tech-enabled services can provide clinics with more efficient ways of managing their operations, from scheduling appointments to handling payments. Additionally, they can help create a more personalized user experience for pet owners by making it easier for them to book appointments, check on their pets' health records, and receive updates about upcoming appointments or treatments. With these features in place, clinics are able to provide a complete user experience that is beneficial for both parties involved. GuardianVets’ team of licensed Veterinary professionals work to help clinics increase the number of patient appointments through our tech-enabled services. By providing after hours triage overnight & virtual front desk support during the day, our team is able to seamlessly integrate with a clinic’s portal — our team can even handle callbacks and scheduling requests to keep business in house. These services provide a more efficient way for clinics to manage their work-life balance & rev up the revenue in general practices. Furthermore, with callback features & scheduling request capabilities, GuardianVets can help clinics streamline their appointment processes & reduce wait times for patients. Curious to know more about how veterinary answering services can revolutionize animal hospitals? Ask your animal doctor about GuardianVets! If you are a Practice Owner/Manager & would like to take the next step, contact Sales at [email protected] to know more.
Is Your Practice Bottlenecked?Aug 17 2022
The word bottleneck is pretty straight forward, the narrowing end of a bottle. In that space, things get much more crowded, tend to collide, and slow down. Bottlenecked is a term we use to describe something or someone that has been slowed down by an obstruction, hindrance in performance, or even lack of support. If you were a machine, and you weren’t working to your utmost ability, or something was slowing you down, you’d be bottlenecked. Surprisingly, that term can be used in the Veterinary space as well. I know what you’re thinking, how? And what are you talking about? We're moving at speeds that we can’t keep up with! Well what if you could keep up with those speeds, and generate much more revenue, if it weren’t for being bottlenecked. Have you ever sat down and really put thoughts onto paper to calculate the amount of money your practice is losing monthly, by being understaffed, burnt out, overwhelmed? Your team will inherently slow down, or in other words, become bottlenecked. That causes the practice to lose out on valuable money, and time. Not to mention the pets that would be able to be seen, and happy clients when you tell them you have appointments open that week to see their fur baby. The numbers are pretty astonishing, and shed light to the need for help in this ever growing industry. Let’s put some numbers together, to visualize what I mean. If your practice was running at optimal level, I mean full steam ahead, clients in and out in a timely manner, how many appointments an hour do you think you’ll be able to see? The answer typically is 4. But your practice is not running at optimal level and you’re only able to see 3 an hour. This is due to being understaffed, having to pull technicians off of the Doctor and help out the front desk staff. This slows the Doctor down, which doesn’t allow them to see as many appointments as they would an hour, in turn causing a loss in revenue and time spent with clients and their pets. If the Doctor doesn’t have their ideal support staff, they are not running optimally. Back to the numbers, how much is your transaction size? For this calculation's sake, let’s say $250. That's $250 an hour you are losing right there. Let's take it a step further. You’re working 8 hours a day, let’s say, 22 days a month. Pull your phone out and punch those numbers in, $250 multiplied by 8, multiplied by 22. That is $44,000 you are missing out on a MONTH, just by being understaffed and losing out on one appointment an hour. Imagine you’re doing even less than that? Or imagine you have multiple Doctors with minimal support? Bottlenecked practice vs. Practice operating Ideally vs. Practice with no support There is help out there for practices like this, it can come in the form of a partner, or by DIY (hiring yourself). In the next blog post, I’d like to discuss the differences between the DIY approach and using a partner like GuardianVets. If you would like to learn more about GuardianVets as a partner, we would love to set up a meeting with you and your practice. Contact email: [email protected]
Pet SafetyAug 17 2021
Amber Mader | RVT Tips and tricks for keeping your pet safe during high temperatures: When it's hot don't leave your pet in the car! Even if the temperature outside is only 70 degrees, the inside of your car maybe as much as 20 degrees hotter. On a day that is 85 degrees, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees. Within just 30 minutes, the car's interior can reach from 85 degrees to 120 degrees. Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion: Excessive panting Drooling Vomiting and diarrhea Weakness Increased heart rate and respiratory rate Elevated body temperature **It is important to make sure your pets have plenty of fresh water and access to a fan, air condition or shade during high temperatures. Facts: In 2018-2019 almost 78 pets passed away due to heat exhaustion from being in a hot car. Pets can only survive 2-3 days without water. Dogs are unable to sweat so instead they pant to help cool themselves down.
The Pandemic’s Impact on Veterinary Medicine’s Most Sacred ResponsibilityAug 16 2021
Dr. Holly Sawyer, DVM During the most heinous rotation of my senior year in veterinary school, my horse developed laminitis in all four hooves. It is an acutely painful condition with an extremely poor prognosis. Emmy was 32, beloved beyond words, and I agonized over the decision before me. Four sleepless nights later, I chose to end her suffering. Truly, I was not certain I would be okay without her. Little did I comprehend, Emmy, who had taught me so much during her life, would mold me into the veterinarian I became the day she died. Euthanasia became hallowed ground for me. While most of my colleagues treat these appointments as jarringly sad interludes in an otherwise busy day of saving or improving lives, I view them as the highest purpose of my training and the most significant act I could ever perform for the family. Why? Because euthanasia would only ever happen once in the animal’s lifetime, and nothing intensifies the preciousness of the human-animal bond like imminent separation. I was present during the worst days of my clients’ lives—and humbled to have seen so many at their very best. For me, this realization occurred before the term “human-animal bond” officially entered the veterinary vernacular, before hospice gained popularity, and well before COVID turned this most sacred responsibility of the veterinary profession into a minefield of client anxiety and unmet expectations. I am out of private practice now—partly due to my refusal to erect a barrier between myself and the raw grief of clients—but in my current position with a veterinary triage provider, I still witness the chaos reigning in our profession over this very issue. Whether euthanasia results from financial constraint, grave prognosis, or the tender knowledge the joy has gone out of an animal’s life, clients asking for this service are typically driven by one overriding emotion and, thus, have one supreme need the veterinary team must address. Euthanasia, distilled Illness and death slam all of us with the realization we do not have full control over life (we never did, of course, but this is a topic for philosophy class). Lack of control breeds fear: fear of what to expect with the euthanasia itself. Fear the pet will be scared, will suffer, or will struggle. Fear of taking a pet’s life away too early (or too late). Fear of not knowing how we will cope with the loss of this animal. Fear of not knowing if mornings or evenings will be worse. A young boy’s fear over how he will grieve his first and best friend. An elderly widow’s fear she might not survive the loss of her constant companion. Fear is the emotion behind every thought and the engine driving every client’s euthanasia experience. When the veterinary team meets a client’s fear with compassion, effective communication, and predictable action, the pet owner’s emotion transforms into gratitude. If any of these components are missing, if the complex dance of describing the euthanasia process, responding to the client’s body language, modifying tone and posture, and showing affection for the animal at the center of the visit falls apart, client fear easily escalates to fury. Why? Because in a tangible or intangible way, the client feels abandoned—and this is the single and absolute unforgivable sin of our profession. COVID’s unintended consequences Curbside care converted face-to-face heart-to-hearts into constrained phone conversations, which could easily degrade into a listing of facts delivered with thinly veiled impatience. This hardly happens on purpose, but each day’s flood of patient cases dictates less time on each pet. Compassion suffers at the hands of expediency. Without compassion, rapport evaporates, trust crumbles, and communication falters. Additionally, in most cases, clients could not be present during the euthanasia itself due to social distancing. This introduces a level of unpredictability in this emotional procedure, heretofore unimagined by most pet parents. Veterinary professionals do their best to slow down and treat euthanasia with the kindness and respect it deserves, whether the client is with the pet or not; all the client sees, however, is a crammed parking lot, a wait time defying logic, and a clinic too busy to answer exhaustive questions. Many pet parents feel their final and greatest responsibility is to be with their four-legged friend to the very end, to pour out the kind of love only they can give when the pet needs it most. Curbside care wrenched the inviolable duty away from them. As mask mandates subside and clinics return to more normal workflows, our profession is still grappling with unmanageable patient loads. To mitigate burnout, many practitioners who were once on-call for afterhours care now refer all clients to emergency clinics. In some cases, the nearest emergency facility is three hours away, and we all know the wait times for emergency care have skyrocketed. Clients calling in the middle of the night expecting their veterinarian to be available are stunned to find themselves sent to a distant stranger instead. During regular business hours, same-day euthanasia requests are either worked in at the cost of staff sanity or are scheduled out to a different, hopefully less busy, day. We all know this is not always the case. Clients told they must delay euthanasia wonder how to trust a practice, which, to their thinking, is making their pet suffer needlessly. Mobile veterinarians are now answering nonstop calls from new clients requesting same-day euthanasia, while dealing with limited staff support and impractical driving distances. The way forward The veterinary profession’s ability to end suffering humanely and peacefully is at the heart of what makes us different from every other medical profession. It is a heavy and delicate responsibility, which can determine if the heart of veterinary medicine is noble or tarnished. As we emerge from the strictures of the pandemic, let us own that client trust in our profession has decreased. Meet this challenge by renewing your commitment to compassion. Put yourself in the client’s shoes. Even a brief glimpse of life through their eyes can reset your emotional temperature. Effectively communicate any changes in your after-hours services to pet owners through social media, pet portal announcements, invoice notes, hold time messaging, and, most importantly, in-person interactions. Go out of your way to acknowledge client fear and explain what to expect throughout the euthanasia process. Never let a client feel abandoned. Your extra effort will not only rebuild client trust, but enhance team satisfaction, magnify the human-animal bond, and restore the beating heart of this most honorable profession. Holly Sawyer, DVM, Human-Animal Bond certified, is a 1999 graduate of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. After 19 years in private practice, she became a regional director for GuardianVets, a veterinary communication company that helps practices streamline access to patient care, strengthen client bonding, and alleviate professional burnout through live, 24-hour triage service, call overflow support, and user-friendly telemedicine access. https://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/the-pandemics-impact-on-veterinary-medicines-most-sacred-responsibility/
Understanding Veterinary Burnout Using the Job Demand-Control ModelJul 26 2021
Dr. Holly Sawyer, DVM We’ve all been touched by the reality of veterinary burnout in our work lives. Burnout has been studied extensively in human medicine for more than a decade. Thankfully, more literature is coming out now to unravel why burnout has become so prominent in the veterinary realm as well. First, we must understand some terms. Compassion fatigue is the emotional burden felt when caring for those who are suffering. To speak metaphorically, if each contact with suffering is a spritz of water on a cloth, the compassion-fatigued worker is a water-logged towel that cannot hold another drop of moisture. Burnout, in contrast, is defined as severe physical and emotional depletion due to prolonged work stress. Where compassion fatigue produces a sopping wet mess, burnout results in a crispy, bone-dry cloth that can no longer bend to fulfill its original purpose. What is it about modern-day veterinary medicine in particular that is leading to so much burnout in our colleagues? Industry articles propose a variety of causes: Student debt outstripping the rate of projected salary increases Compassion fatigue in the face of constant exposure to suffering Frustration over effective treatments that clients cannot afford Work overload due to unprecedented patient demand What do all of these explanations have in common? Modern veterinary professionals do not feel they can control their own destinies. In 1979, sociologist Robert Karasek observed that workers, regardless of how demanding their jobs were, experienced improved mental and physical health when given increased control over their work environments. In contrast, workers in low demand jobs with rigid work parameters became passive and bored, while workers in high demand jobs given no opportunity to influence their work space were prone to psychological strain and physical illness. Karasek named these tendencies the Job Demand-Control Model. Every job position in a veterinary clinic requires maximal effort from each team member to provide safe, consistent, and compassionate care to patients whose lives are on the line. This is the definition of a high demand job. According to the Job Demand-Control Model (JDCM), workers in high demand jobs who lack autonomy over their work environments are at extreme risk for prolonged work stress. That sounds like a top-of-the-list differential diagnosis for the burnout that ails our profession. The JDCM not only explains this major cause of work stress, but also elucidates areas of potential intervention. Work environments can be modified to decrease the likelihood of workers reaching burnout and leaving their jobs altogether. The first step is to give veterinary staff, from the CSR to the associate DVM, more control over their immediate environment and the systems that govern it. The model advocates managers to grant this “decision latitude” to mitigate work stress and improve professional longevity in individuals and teams at large. Model Behavior Increasing a worker’s sense of self-determination within a broader work environment requires concerted effort on the part of hospital managers to ask for and implement suggestions from the team. Whether this happens at staff meetings or during individual employee reviews, it is imperative for the leadership to ask, “What can we do better?” and then to show how suggestions are being incorporated into the daily workflow. Individual autonomy can also be enhanced by giving each team member a certain amount of freedom over work schedules while maintaining standard of care and proper patient flow. This could take the form of increased job sharing and part-time positions. adjusted work hours to facilitate childcare needs, and establishing a culture of affirmation when hardworking individuals request needed time off. Lastly, it is worthwhile to note the Job Demand-Control Model also goes by the name of the Demand-Control-Support Model. This nomenclature emphasizes the importance of support from supervisors and colleagues in raising the overall health of the workers. This again speaks to practice culture and how concerted effort by management can facilitate the kind of mutual respect and camaraderie that can only be found in well-managed troops in the trenches together. The Now and Future Worker It has been said compassion fatigue results from WHAT we do, but veterinary burnout results from WHERE we work. To decrease staff burnout, hospital managers must take a step back and look at the practice through fresh eyes. Would your workers characterize your management style as collaborative or authoritarian? Proactive or reactive? Open or closed? By giving CSRs, veterinary technicians, and associate DVMs a voice in how the practice can improve, you will give your team ownership over its own success, and enhance team loyalty and retention along the way. GuardianVets partners with veterinary practices to decrease the demands on today’s clinic staff at three major pain points. For the daytime practice: the licensed veterinary professionals at GuardianVets help answer phones during high call volume. For the hectic emergency practice: GuardianVets professionals triage patients over the phone to ensure the most critical cases get the fastest intervention while shunting those that can wait back to their regular DVMs. For the on-call DVM: GuardianVets triagers filter calls based on emergent status and contact the on-call doctor only when after-hours intervention is necessary. GuardianVets steps in as an ally in the trenches to ease your veterinary team’s stress and decrease the risk of veterinary burnout. https://www.toolshero.com/human-resources/job-demand-control-model/ https://www.ckju.net/en/dossier/job-demand-control-support-model-what-it-and-why-it-matters-cope-workplace-stress https://vetidealist.com/burnout-veterinary-medicine/