After 16 years as an equine ambulatory veterinarian in northern Virginia, I know firsthand the obstacles the field presents. Driving around seeing patients, answering calls from clients needing to schedule appointments or get their certs, attempting to collect payment for services rendered weeks or months ago — it can be chaotic, and you have little time at the day’s end for yourself.
I recently left practice to try my hand at more creative endeavors, but when I saw a new equine-specific app being launched that provides a platform for client engagement and communication, I did some research to see if the app would be useful for my practicing colleagues. I was extremely impressed by what I discovered. Read on for 8 reasons your practice could benefit from an equine app.
1. Make appointment management easy
Your clients will conveniently be able to request, confirm, and cancel appointments directly through the app, meaning you and your team will not spend excessive time scheduling appointments. Before going out on the road every day, I would help the office staff field incoming calls because the phones would not stop ringing. This delayed the start of my day, and inevitably delayed what time I finished in the evening. Having your clients manage appointments through the app will also allow your office staff to field more important calls to help triage emergencies.
2. Communicate with clients without sacrificing your privacy
I always made a point to be available to my clients when they needed me. Many times this meant giving out my personal cell phone number to ensure a client could contact me whenever they wanted. My clients loved the convenience, but I was routinely interrupted on days off and during what was supposed to be my downtime, sometimes for issues that could have easily waited for business hours. This app has a chat feature that allows you to communicate with your clients without giving them your personal phone number. Through the app, you can exchange chat messages, photos, videos, and documents with clients. You can use the chat to help you determine if the horse needs to see you. Avoiding unnecessary visits saves you time, and saves your clients money. The best part is that you can decide when to allow the incoming chats, so your “you time” will not be not interrupted.
3. Collect payments without awkwardness
I dreaded collecting payments from owners, especially after treating a horse affected by a serious problem. I felt callous to be asking about payment when I knew the horse’s owner was only concerned about their horse’s welfare. Worse yet was having to broach the subject after a euthanasia. In many cases, I confess that I left the chore to the practice’s bookkeeper. The equine app allows clients to pay directly from their smartphone either while you are on the farm or at a later time when the client is more calm. You can send your invoice through the chat feature and your client can make the payment when they are not so distressed.
4. Provide the best care for your patients
If a client forgot about their horse’s upcoming appointment, whether for a wellness visit to administer fall vaccines or to recheck a sutured wound, rescheduling could be difficult. This could mean that the horse was late in receiving vaccines or that appropriate antibiotic coverage was not provided. These situations always bothered me because this meant that my patients were not getting the care they needed. The new app features a reminder option to notify your clients about their horse’s upcoming health service. These reminders can conveniently be sent via email, SMS, or directly through the app, at a cadence of your choosing.
5. Simplify your clients’ ability to utilize your pharmacy
My clients routinely purchased medications and supplements from cheap, online pharmacies, causing me concern because I could never be sure the pharmacy they chose was reliable. The medications could be counterfeit, expired, or not stored properly, causing their effectiveness to be diminished. The new platform allows your clients to easily refill prescriptions and order supplements from your pharmacy with a few clicks on their smartphone. If the process is convenient, your clients will be more inclined to utilize your reliable pharmacy, which is best for you and your patients.
6. Easily distribute marketing and educational messages
Client education is something I consider extremely important, but my busy schedule didn’t always allow me to effectively notify my clients about every issue I thought was relevant. Using the app’s notification feature, you can easily inform your clients about current disease outbreaks, updates on travel restrictions, or any promotional deals you are offering, and you can choose which clients receive each notification, whether it’s all clients or a select group.
7. Balance your workload and increase revenue
I always thought that loyalty programs were a great idea, but I struggled to find a good way to implement one in the equine world. This app offers a loyalty program that’s customizable, so you can create a program that suits your particular practice. You can reward clients with “horseshoes” for money spent, services or products purchased, referrals, online reviews, or any other behavior you want to drive, and the program can help drive business during your quieter months. Everything is tracked by the app, ensuring no extra work for you or your busy team. Proven to increase revenue by an average of $100K in small animal practices, the Loyalty Program will help you increase compliance and improve your bottom line.
8. Receive welcomed support
When I started in equine medicine, I only had to worry about my clients, my patients, and my truck. Times have drastically changed, and apps, social media, telemedicine, and other technology have innovated the field. These changes allowed me to reach horses I may not have had access to in the past, but I sometimes found the technology confusing. The new platform offers a dedicated success coach and access to a team of expert veterinary advisors, ensuring you have the support you need.
Vetsource is behind this new innovative and easy to use platform. Your clients will greatly appreciate the convenience an app will provide when interacting with your equine veterinary practice. And you and your team will love the ease and simplicity of the platform’s “mission control” cloud-based dashboard. If I were still actively practicing, you can bet I’d want to use this platform in my practice. Sign up for a demo to find out how the Vetsource platform can transform your practice — and your life!