5 simple steps to set up your remote veterinary employee

by By Stacee Santi, DVM

12 min read

Just a few short years ago, remote jobs were hard to come by, and they were downright unheard of in veterinary medicine. Today — thanks to advances in technology and changes that came about because of COVID — remote positions are more common in every industry, including vet med.

Many veterinary practice owners and managers are interested but unsure of how to implement remote employees because of the seemingly overwhelming logistics and technology involved. But, you can get over that hurdle. And when you do, you’ll notice that remote team members can handle a number of tasks, shouldering the workload and reducing stress for your in-clinic team, while dramatically improving efficiency and client service.

Read on for five easy steps to setting up your remote veterinary employee, and some thoughts from real-life veterinary professionals who have implemented remote employees in their practices.

Step 1: Create the job description

With any role, it is important to have clear definitions of the required duties, from the day-to-day to the big picture. When you take the time to put the job description in writing, it will illuminate the expectations for the employee as well as the employer. This will be critical down the road if you ever need to re-hire for this role or let your employee go because they aren’t a good fit for the role. Be sure your job description includes the checklist of duties and the desired characteristics of the type of person for this role.

Thoughts from the field

What tasks does a digital coordinator do at your practice?

  • “What can’t they do? Manages Vet2Pet app requests, Vet2Pet app chats, Vet2Pet mass push and emails… They also sync users weekly, create the digital intake forms, help fill sudden openings off a cancellation list, keep the website updated, post on and monitor social media, and more.” — Melisha Rynearson
  • “Appointments, food/med refills, chat with clients, call backs, loyalty rewards, promote online pharmacy, etc. The app + digital coordinator frees up my front desk and makes my clinic efficient.” — Lori Anthony

client texting animal hospital

Step 2: Decide if you will hire from within or outside

In many situations, the solution may be right in front of you. You may have an exceptional employee from the past that you can re-engage. Or, perhaps you have a rockstar on your bench who is looking for a new spin on the job (like working from home) or has family commitments that would make this a win/win opportunity. Or, you may have a solid bench so hiring from outside with a job post on LinkedIn or Indeed would be best. Fortunately, there is no shortage of qualified veterinary professionals looking to leave the clinical setting.

Thoughts from the field

What are some key personal qualities for a remote veterinary employee?

  • “Self-motivated, integrity, loyalty, passion for their role and their team” — Jessica Murray
  • “Driven, trustworthy, understands the clinic motto, passionate about the field, great customer service skills” — Melisha Rynearson
  • “Dedicated, self-driven, strong work ethic, understands our core values, well-spoken, and well-written” — Kathy Kirk

How did you find your remote veterinary employee?

  • “Worked for the clinic originally, so clients still somewhat knew who they were chatting with.” — Melisha Rynearson
  • “Worked in the clinic, and then due to a move, stayed on as a remote coordinator” — Jessica Murray

Step 3: Choose your technology tools

It is important to set your remote employee up for success with veterinary technology tools. This is not the time to dust off the old laptop from 2010. Make sure your remote employee has an efficient computer, good internet connection, and a phone. After that, you will need to decide which tools are required to streamline the workflow. This will include tools that allow the remote employee to communicate with the clients, communicate with the team, and access your veterinary practice software.

Thoughts from the field

What types of software programs are you using for your remote employees?

  • “Ooma office app, Vet2Pet, PC Anywhere so she can remote into the office and print RX labels for the staff to fill, and TextBlaze.” — Lori Anthony
  • “We use a combination of Logmein or TeamViewer, Vet2Pet, TextBlaze, JotForm, Slack (for in-clinic communications), clinic email, and Google Drive” — Melisha Rynearson
  • “Our client/patient software is cloud-based and can be accessed anywhere with WiFi. Sagoma is our calling system, and it sends calls directly to my cell and/or work phone.  We use Vet2Pet like mad. Google Chats is used for in-office communications with staff, and all things Google, like Drive, Docs, etc. We also use Adobe Sign for consents to go to clients, and Adobe suites for creating all consents. I’m able to access the printer for RX label use.” — Jessica Murray
  • “Our software program is not cloud-based, so we use Splashtop and OneTalk (Verizon). Google Drive as well.” — Iva McKenna

Step 4: Schedule regular 1:1 meetings

Having a remote veterinary employee doesn’t mean “set it and forget it.” Since you won’t be bumping into them around the office, it will be important to schedule frequent check-ins to allow space for questions and answers, process refinement, showing appreciation, and giving feedback. Ensure your employee feels connected to the mothership by regularly communicating how their work is impacting the team. Regardless of who you are, everyone wants to know their work matters.

Thoughts from the field

How often do you meet with your remote employees?

  • “I’m always available for questions via Slack and assigned an in-clinic team member for immediate needs. I meet with the leadership team weekly, but due to other jobs I complete it’s not strictly about digital coordination.” — Melisha Rynearson
  • “Video meetings, even if brief, weekly. Specific 30–60-minute meetings every 1.5–2 months.” — Jessica Murray

Step 5: Reassess your program and iterate as needed

It is 100% unlikely that your program will be perfect upon your initial rollout. The key to success is to constantly make small tweaks and adjustments to refine and streamline your program. Over time, your remote employee and role will evolve to be something you can’t imagine living without!

For information about implementing a digital coordinator — who could work remotely or onsite — in your practice, download Vet2Pet’s free resource, “The Veterinary Digital Coordinator Guide.” Interested in learning more about some of the technology tools mentioned in the above “Thoughts from the field”? Sign up for a demo of the Vet2Pet platform!

Stacee Santi, DVM

Stacee Santi, DVM

Dr. Stacee Santi founded Vet2Pet, the only customizable, all-in-one client engagement system for veterinary practices, which was acquired by Vetsource in 2022. Since earning her DVM from Colorado State University in 1996, Dr. Santi has accumulated more than 20 years of clinical experience in small animal and emergency practice, has spent significant time serving on various industry advisory boards, and served as 2020 president of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association. Considered a key opinion leader on mobile applications and veterinary reward programs, and selected as 2021 Continuing Educator of the Year—Practice Management by Viticus Group, Dr. Santi is passionate about helping veterinary practices better connect with their clients so pets get the best care and veterinary professionals enjoy more fulfilling, balanced careers.

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