Linda Wasche, MBA, MA
LW Marketworks inc.
I went to a local low-cost spay / neuter clinic yesterday. Yes, I admit it. And I know you will not be happy. The clinic makes it affordable for me help homeless cats. It also allows me to study low-cost services. This one offers spay/neuter, wellness exams, dental procedures, vaccines, and treatment of eye/ear infections and URI.
Many full service veterinary practices view low-clinics as a threat. However practices that are able to create new RELEVANCY for today’s pet owners should have nothing to worry about.
What can practices do to boost revenue with increasing threats from low-cost clinics, chains and shelters? It’s time to rethink your marketing. Here are three ways to make a significant impact on your practice’s bottom line.
Number 1: Focus on growing current clients.
Before you go out looking for new clients, make sure your practice is working to boost usage among existing ones. It’s much easier — and less costly — to get current clients to use more services than to try to attract new ones.
However, if your practice offers the same services as clinics and other practices, you may be losing clients to low-cost options. When services are perceived as identical – and lack distinguishing differences— price becomes the only differentiator. So its important to look for ways to make your services more RELEVANT and MEANINGFUL to pet owners. In other words, by providing services that you can’t easily get elsewhere – that represent VALUE for pet owners.
Number 2: Segment your client base.
Ok – so how do you make services more RELEVANT? You SEGMENT. To effectively reach existing clients, you first have to know WHO they are. Successful businesses segment their client base so that they can better understand differing customer / client needs and wants. Without segmentation, services become diluted and your practice may be at risk of “trying to be everything to everybody.” Never a good idea. Segment your clients / patients into groups with similar traits and needs. For example, some practices may see opportunities in TARGETING:
– Big dogs Small dogs
– Cats with chronic conditions High risk breeds
– Senior pets Active / performance pets
To segment, you will need the right practice management software that allows you to IDENTIFY and TRACK key client VARIABLES. Today, having the right software is absolutely critical to not only identifying who your clients are, but to being able to launch effective preventive care and outreach efforts.
Number 3: Develop TARGETED services.
Once you have segmented your client /patient base and defined your targets, create services and programs that proactively reach out to these targets. Remember that pet owners easily access information SPECIFIC to their particular pet just by Google-ing. So reaching out to pet owners with services and programs tailored to their particular type of pet makes good sense.
There are two ways to do this:
1. With targeted services and programs
Big dogs have different health issues than small ones. Certain breeds of cat and dog face greater health risks. Performance pets get more injuries. Creating services and programs around segments such as these not only appeals to pet owners, but also POSITIONS the practice as more credible in looking out for these types of pets.
2. With targeted information
Similarly target information, alerts, bulletins, workshops and other forms of client outreach to help pet owners become partners in early detection and preventive pet care.
Looking for ways to proactively reach out to pet owner segments with services and information relevant to their type of pet is not only good marketing, its good medicine. Because when you are relevant, you are more likely to ENGAGE a pet owner and capture his/her attention. Plus you have created something that they cannot easily get elsewhere. Not down the street and definitely not at that low cost clinic.
For more information on client segmentation and developing relevant and meaningful veterinary services, contact Linda Wasche at LindaW@LWmarketworks.com. For more information on customizable practice management software, contact Rajat Sharma, Onward Vet, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (909) 851-3911.
Onward Vet is going to be exhibiting at the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas, from Feb 15-19, 2015. Stop by our booth #2013 to say hi and learn more about the platform. We can’t wait to meet you!
Though all of the fuzzy faces may make the average person forget, a veterinarian knows that their workplace is the same as a doctor’s office — just for pets. And like any doctor’s office, it needs to be clean, friendly and, above all, organized. After all, there are prescriptions to fill, lab results to get, supplies to reorder, and procedures to carry out, sometimes at short notice. All of these things and more need to be taken care of efficiently and correctly so that the patients and their concerned owners can move on with their lives. Here are some of the easiest and best ways to ensure that the office is set up for success.
Setting Patients and Owners at Ease
It’s important to set pets and their owners at ease from the first moment that they enter the office. Not only should the room feel and look welcoming, the check-in process should be efficient and systematized so that there are no misunderstandings. Payment requirements and options should be clearly outlined so that there are no problems at the end of the visit.
Personnel should be friendly and unintimidating, from the receptionist who greets patients to the person who administers a pet’s shots. The vets should be especially able to develop bonds with animals quickly, and be comfortable both calming them down and restraining them, if necessary.
Keeping the Clinic Clean
Keeping a vet’s office clean isn’t just a matter of getting rid of undesirable smells (though it certainly factors in), but also of keeping pets and their owners safe.
The office is going to be littered with different animal matter throughout the day — that’s just the nature of the beast. From the dog that bleeds on the floor because he had a bite taken out of him by a bigger dog to the cat that gets nervous and urinates all over the place (not to mention the fur that will undoubtedly cover everything if allowed to accumulate), there will be hazards everywhere. Fecal matter and urine can contain any number of bacteria, fur can carry flea larvae, and if a puddle is left on the floor, there is also the chance that someone could slip and sue.
This makes it absolutely necessary to clean and maintain all areas of the office, not just the exam rooms. The floor should be swept and trash emptied regularly, any messes should be cleaned up immediately, and every examination room should be wiped down with chemical disinfectant after each patient.
A veterinary clinic will need to organize its information for both its own good and the good of the clients — and there’s a lot of information to handle. From patient invoices and e-mail appointment reminders to prescription records and vaccination histories, there are many, many things to keep track of. Using a paper-based system has led to a number of mistakes and oversights in the past that have often ended in frustration or worse.
In recent years, many doctor’s offices have started to digitize their records and use software to manage their information, so why shouldn’t a vet’s office? Onward Vet offers specially-designed veterinary office management software that anticipates the particular needs of this kind of clinic. The program utilizes Cloud software to keep data secure, as well electronic signature devices that can be used on iPads and Android devices. The software is easy to use and customizable, so that it can be seamlessly integrated into the workings of any office.
Running a vet’s office carries with it all the complexities and frustrations of any other doctor’s office. However, by creating a well-managed and welcoming space, the people who run these establishments can make it a bit easier on everyone.
Diamond Bar, CA —January 07, 2014 – Onward Vet, a leading provider of practice management software to veterinary clinics and hospitals, will exhibit its innovative product at the North American Veterinary Community Conference (NAVC) from January 19th through 22nd in Orlando, Florida.
The annual conference, which attracts more than 15,000 attendees and offers 650 exhibits, highlights innovations and the latest developments in the field of animal health.
Onward Vet will demonstrate its easy-to-use, cloud-based electronic health records system in Booth 4214 in the Marriott Hotel Exhibit Hall. In addition to a video loop demonstrating the software and showcasing its many benefits, company representatives will be on hand to answer questions and provide a more in-depth look at the system. Visitors who stop by the booth are also eligible to win an iPad, which will be given away on the final day of the conference.
Designed to help veterinarians easily, efficiently and effectively manage their hospitals without the headaches of in-house information technology, Onward Vet’s software system provides easy access to patient records, appointments, lab results, prescription information, billing, etc. It can run on a PC, laptop, Android tablet or iPad, allowing users to update patient status and records while on the go within their offices.
A simple user interface provides complete visibility in the clinic, from patient check-in through check out, allowing office staff to see where the patient is within a clinic or multi-hospital practice at any time throughout their visit. It also allows office staff to track every occurrence within the clinic, such as labs ordered and examination results, and provides billing at the touch of a button. Everything from appointment reminders to SOAP notes to inventory management can be handled through this convenience, cloud-based system.
“We are looking forward to meeting as many members of the veterinary community as we can during the NAVC conference,” notes Rajat Sharma, CEO, Onward Vet. “We are excited to demonstrate the ease of our veterinary practice management software, and show how simple and convenient it is to switch from manual or even other computerized systems to a cloud-based software system that enables practices to run smoothly without incurring the costs of in-house IT personnel to support it.”
About Onward Vet
Onward Vet was born with the mission to help veterinarians easily, efficiently, and effectively manage their hospitals without the headaches of in-house information technology and paper-based records. Onward Vet’s state-of-the-art, cloud-based veterinary practice management system offers an easy-to-use practice management system with no servers to maintain and the freedom of using any device and internet connection to access medical records from anywhere in the world.
The North American Veterinary Community Conference took place January 19 – 22 in Orlando, FL. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to attend, and to demonstrate the Onward Vet software to others in the veterinary field. We had close to 200 visitors at our booth and gained a lot of new customers and prospective customers!
The main reason many of our new clients signed on with us is because they like the fact that the Onward Vet management software is web-based. There’s no need to purchase hardware or software and no need to hire an IT team in case anything should go wrong. It’s more affordable, and most of our clients already have computers or iPads to use it on.
When we weren’t busy with our own booth, we got to speak with other professionals, and we noticed some very interesting, up-and-coming trends in veterinary care.
Acupuncture to Treat Pet Pain
It’s becoming more and more popular for veterinary clinics to offer acupuncture to ease the pain of pets with chronic illnesses, such as arthritis. Veterinary acupuncture encourages the body to release more pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory substances. It helps the muscles to relax, improves tissue blood flow, encourages oxygenation, and removes metabolic wastes and toxins. It’s becoming so popular because it lacks any of the adverse side-effects that often come with medications and supplements.
Another interesting practice that is gaining traction is the use of water-based treadmills. Dogs who require treatment are placed on treadmills that are submerged under water to get exercise and rehabilitation that is very low-impact. It’s a similar concept to pool therapy for humans and is showing promise for canine treatment.
Pressurized Oxygen Chambers
Pets requiring wound care are being placed in a pressurized oxygen chamber in order to keep tissue alive longer until proper treatment is available. Pressurized oxygen chambers cause the bloodstream to absorb oxygen much more quickly, which prevents tissue from decaying and making for a more successful recovery.
Third-Party Financing for Veterinary Procedures
It’s all too often that clients have pets requiring serious care, but they do not have the available funds or credit to pay for the medical procedures. More and more veterinarians are offering third-party financing. Since more customers can finance the cost of the procedures and pay for them in manageable installments, more pets are getting the care they need and more veterinarians are securing long-term customers. Fewer pets are being put down or being forced to suffer, which we’re very glad to hear!
Digital Cameras Used in Surgical Procedures
Surgical procedures performed on pets are becoming more efficient, precise, and successful with the use of digital cameras. Animal surgeons are utilizing flexible tubes with cameras and lights on the end, which magnify onto a monitor, to see more easily the intricate details as they perform a procedure. Surgery outcomes, as a result, have been much better.
We’re excited by all of the cutting-edge trends we saw at the show! We look forward to next year’s conference where we will surely see a new round of exciting technologies emerging in veterinary care and practice management.
As we discussed in an earlier blog post, Onward Vet’s cloud-based veterinary software is a good avenue for clinics that want to go paperless but don’t want the hassle of IT issues. One of the biggest benefits that it offers, though, is an interface that provides direct access to in-house lab equipment such as IDEXX VetLab Station. IDEXX VetLab Interface provides benefits to veterinarians in addition to those provided by the rest of the Onward Vet software. Here’s a brief overview of how it can streamline the processes of a clinic.
Increases Medical Capabilities
Whenever a test is run on a patient at a lab, results are stored in a report via the IDEXX VetLab Station interface Additional tests and results are compiled into the same report over time, creating a cumulative representation of results and progress. This makes it easy to visualize recent results in comparison with past results, putting the progress into context. It also makes it much easier for the vet to detect abnormalities, which is better for the pet’s health. Veterinarians can view a graph of the patient’s results over time and easily detect changes so that health problems can be nipped in the bud.
Makes a More Productive Office
More time than you probably realize is wasted on data entry; often, receptionists enter the same data for the same patient more than once. Onward Vet stores all IDEXX VetLab results about a patient in its storage cloud, making it unnecessary to rummage through files, manually copy down information, and perform other tedious tasks. This is not only quicker and more efficient, it reduces the amount of errors, making the office a more productive place.
Provides Streamlined Business Management
The bottom line is that customers like to know that they’re visiting an organized and well-maintained office. No one wants to dread visiting the clinic, knowing they’ll have a long wait time while the receptionist digs up old records and copies down new ones. Having a streamlined management system helps to gain customer loyalty. It also provides employees with the peace of mind of accuracy – they’ll know every test result will be attributed to the right patient, since it’s done automatically. Most importantly, it’s cost-effective. It keeps track of important patient records, like prescriptions and bills, ensuring that payments are up to date. Visitors are happy with the quick and easy service, and you will never compromise profits by forgetting to collect a bill.
Having such software is beneficial for clinic owners, pets, pet owners, and employees. When records don’t get lost and service is quick, everyone is satisfied and the job gets done efficiently.
In a society where nearly everything is going virtual – from viewing kids’ report cards to paying your phone bill to confirming your flight – it’s not too surprising that offices in the medical field are also finding ways to streamline operations with the latest technologies.
Cloud-based software in particular makes it easy to keep track of patients’ histories, appointments, billing, allergies, and more (much more, actually). Now, furry friends can benefit from the organizational, forward-thinking technology: more and more vet offices are taking advantage of cloud-based veterinary software, and it’s a game changer in the industry for quite a few reasons.
One reason a lot of offices are doing things the old-fashioned way is because they simply don’t have the IT teams to support fancy software. If something goes wrong, especially in smaller veterinary offices, there isn’t always going to be someone around who knows how to fix it. Since cloud-based software requires no downloading, it eliminates the need for constant IT support. Plus, its functionalities are extremely straightforward.
Yes, the software keeps track of all patient information, but it’s all done through a secure website. All data is safe, and nothing can be accessed without personal login information administered by the establishment.
There are programs that you can use to bill your clients. There are programs you can use to store a patient’s medical history. You can use a calculator to generate an estimated cost for a procedure. The great thing about software generated specifically for use within a veterinary clinic is the fact that it does it all and can operate on a tablet. Imagine – just with a tablet, a pet and his or her owner can come in and your employees can pull up their medical history. They can check them in for the appointment, have the owners provide a virtual signature for procedures, print prescription labels, estimate procedure costs, schedule new appointments, create custom templates for procedures…and so much more. It’s everything they need in one place, and it stays totally organized (and confidential).
Employees of the veterinary clinic update the virtual whiteboard whenever an animal is moved from one room to another. Therefore, everyone in the office is aware of which pets are in the building and in what exact room they’re located. This helps appointments to move along much more smoothly, since everyone is informed about where they need to be.
Chain hospital compatibility.
If you have more than one veterinary hospital in your chain, the cloud-based system offers the benefit of accessible information. Even if the pet is taken to a different hospital on a different date, his or her information can still be accessed within the system.
This technology has been available in regular hospitals and doctors’ offices for years. Animals deserve the respect of a speedy appointment, convenient billing and quick prescriptions, too. Cloud-based software can greatly improve the efficiency of a veterinary clinic.