Utilizing Virtual Teams To Provide Quality ServiceApr 24 2023
Tech-enabled services are growing and changing rapidly in the veterinary industry! From the days of printing and mailing reminders to email and text capability, companies offering tech-enabled services found ways to integrate with our PIMS to send out reminders with a click of a button. We then moved to individualized apps for appointment requests, appointment reminders, and prescription requests or refills. Then, we arrived at a point where we could give clients access to their medical records and see test results from home while the doctor reviewed them over the phone. Now, here we are in 2023 moving towards the capability of telemedicine for follow-up appointments and hospice care. I remember a time early in my career when I was undergoing training to be a receptionist — it was a Saturday morning — we were only open for 5 hours, but the schedule was packed. At the clinic, we offered boarding services, and we also took walk-ins and work-ins. The phones were ringing off the hook. I had multiple clients in front of me with a gauntlet of needs: “I need a refill on Heartgard” “I am here to pick up my pet's medicine" “I am here to pick up my pet” “I am dropping my pet off for boarding” “I have arrived for my pet's appointment” “I am ready to check out” “I don’t have an appointment but my dog's nail is ripped and it’s bleeding” “I need to schedule a recheck appointment” Addressing a client's needs is overwhelming when you are new, let alone a seasoned staff member! The instruction from my trainer (which I remember almost 20 years later) was, “Do not make eye contact with a client until you are ready to help them." So I would keep my head down so they knew I was busy until I finished my task. The thought process was if you look at someone, then they think you are not busy, you are ready to help them and this will get you off track. Some see multitasking is an important skill, but it leaves vets burnt out and does not allow for QUALITY customer service and patient care. Allowing your team to be able to focus on customers and patients that are IN your hospital seems like a dream! Before I discovered GuardianVets I had no idea that this level of service was available for a small practice. I managed a small animal hospital for 6 years and would have loved the ability to have a “call center” to field calls for scheduling and refills. Another huge benefit that GuardianVets offers is Triage Services. That’s right! Triage Services. Take the burden of phone calls off your team so that your in-house staff can focus on patient care and customer service. GuardianVets uses technology to provide a remote team as an extension of your in-house veterinary support staff. I made a career move to GuardianVets when I needed a better work-life balance as a new mother. After I was trained and started working, I immediately saw the impact we were making on the hospitals we worked with. As someone who has worked in general practice as well as emergency medicine, I can empathize with the client and patient experience in both scenarios. Most importantly, I see how beneficial our services are to the entire veterinary teams in practice! There are many different ways that hospitals can utilize virtual teams to tailor services to each practice’s needs. Our practice solution can meet any level of demand; we work with small animal, large animal, exotics, specialty, and emergency hospitals. Options include, but will not be limited to: VCSR (virtual client service representative) Triage after hours Triage and Overflow during hours As a triage technician, I take pride in the fact that GuardianVets requires our technicians to be credentialed. When I take a call for a practice my number one goal is to properly triage the patient. If the patient needs immediate care I am able to facilitate that according to the hospital’s specific protocols. When a hospital is closed, our virtual team is there to answer incoming client calls. They never get a voicemail! If the doctor is on-call, I can see the hours they are available and which patients and emergencies they are able to see. If the pet does not fall into these guidelines or if there is not a doctor on-call, I can refer your patient to the preferred emergency hospital or urgent care. If the pet is stable and does not need to be seen right away, I am able to offer reassurance and a professional recommendation to the client. If the hospital allows it, I can schedule an appointment right then and there. If the pet has ingested a potential poison I can refer them to the appropriate hotline and also provide emergency options when warranted. Virtual teams are also a huge asset to emergency hospitals. Before working in an emergency hospital, I never realized that wait times could get over 4 hours. It never crossed my mind. Then I realized that wait times can get to 8-12 hours, especially during nights and weekends. On top of caring for critical emergencies as an in-person emergency technician, I also had the task of letting the owners of stable patients know the wait times. This is a huge stressor. If you get to a point where your emergency room is at capacity, you still need to triage the patient and interact with the client to make sure you are making the best recommendation. In practice, sending a client to another emergency hospital can be one of the hardest tasks. It also takes away from your time with hospitalized pets and owners of UNSTABLE patients. As a triage technician, I am so happy that I can help emergency teams with this burden. The patients get triaged properly, and I can alert them of possible wait times, exam costs, and payment options. If the hospital is at capacity, I refer them out accordingly. THIS IS A BIG DEAL! It allows teams in the hospital to prioritize patient care while still providing exceptional customer service. You get to focus on why you got into veterinary medicine. QUALITY! With virtual teams, your practice can unlock limitless capacity to meet any demand and provide quality customer service through and through.
Finding Balance and Success on the Farm: Sarai’s StoryMar 28 2023
Finding Balance and Success on the Farm: Sarai's Story Working on the farm is not just a job, it is a lifestyle. From early mornings milking the cows to horseback riding in the evenings, GuardianVets staff member Sarai has found that her work provides her with a work-life balance that allows her to support her family and chase her dreams. In this interview, we discussed how GuardianVets enables Sarai to have a flexible work schedule while still providing the support she needs to care for her family and pursue her passions. We also discussed how working for GuardianVets allows Sarai to gain valuable skills in animal care, farming, and ranching, as well as how she balances all of these tasks daily. How long have you been working at GuardianVets? -I've been working with GuardianVets for almost three years. Can you tell us more about your passion for animals and how you manage the daily responsibilities of running a farm while also providing for your family? -Life on the farm is busy! Every afternoon consists of feeding chickens and gathering eggs, feeding the horses, milking my Jersey cow, feeding our calves, tending to the rabbits, and everything in between! I take an active role in running the farm, the animals are my passion project, but my husband and two daughters are involved in the daily happenings as well. It's very cool to provide for my family and be self-sufficient in any area that I can. Yearly, I grow a big garden to supply our animals with food as well as ourselves. I can lots of vegetables as well as homemade sauces too. We have a steady supply of eggs and chickens, and my cow gives us about two and a half gallons of milk every single day! I use fresh milk to make cheese, butter, coffee creamer, and ice cream! I also make a lot of sourdough bread! Fascinating! What kind of animals do you have? -I have three cows, four horses, a handful of Holland Lop rabbits, a flock of chickens, and your usual mismatched group of farm dogs! My horses are my passion, and racehorses specifically have stolen my heart since I grew up watching racing in Kentucky. I have adopted three ex-racehorses and one ex-pacing racehorse (Standardbred). They are all amazing athletes and beautiful examples of the temperament and personality these racehorses can have. One of the racehorses that I own came from the famous female jockey Rosie Napravnik! This same racehorse was formerly owned by (and named after) ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit! ( I included one of his race-win photos!) You mentioned that you work for a non-profit that focuses on horses. Can you describe what that experience like? -I work part-time as the Equine Manager for a non-profit that offers horseback/ground lessons with some amazing horses. We offer lessons and programs for war veterans, and individuals with mental/physical/emotional disorders/disabilities, as well as partnering with some amazing companies that support at-risk youth, the hospice house, grief counseling, drug, and alcohol rehab, etc. It is an amazing opportunity to be able to be involved in a program that brings so much joy and possibility to such a wide range of individuals. I specifically care for the horses daily, keeping up on their feed and supplements, and managing their health records, as well as just the daily care. The horses are the heart and soul of our program and watching them move and exist so carefully around their clients and partners is amazing. The horses know they need to be careful with certain riders/handlers and it is lovely to watch. You can check out all that PALS (People & Animal Learning Services) is about at palstherapy.org! How has the support you've received from GuardianVets helped you pursue your personal and professional goals, and how have the friendships you've developed with your coworkers impacted your experience working there? -Working for GuardianVets has given me SO many opportunities to support my family and chase my dreams. It has been such a tremendous blessing to learn and grow with this company over the last three years. The flexibility it offers with scheduling, the support from the management, and the investment they've given me are all priceless. I could not do what I'm doing without GuardianVets, and I'm forever thankful for that. I'm a part of this company for the long haul, and I am grateful for the continued support and opportunity that has come with this job! I have developed few friendships with coworkers that are now such close friends that we talk daily — about anything and everything — that is invaluable to me.
Battling The Burnout BluesMar 17 2023
Imagine this scenario: Dr. Sarah is a successful veterinarian at a general practice in a small town. She has been working for years and is well-loved by her patients and their owners. But lately she had been feeling burned out from the long hours of her job, especially her overnight shifts. One night Dr. Sarah was called at 1am for a patient that had been having diarrhea for the past two days. The pet was stable, active and still had a good appetite. Dr. Sarah advised a bland diet and scheduled the pet to be seen the next morning. The next day Dr. Sarah was exhausted from lack of sleep and was very fatigued during her appointments. Have you ever felt like Dr. Sarah? By the time she realized how overworked she had become, she was knee deep in stress! A survey of burnout among veterinary practitioners in the United States was published in the January 2021 issue of JAVMA. This study surveyed over 2,200 veterinary practitioners in the US to assess the prevalence and risk factors associated with burnout in the profession. The study found that over 50% of respondents reported experiencing high levels of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment, indicating burnout. Risk factors included working longer hours, lower job satisfaction, and higher levels of debt. The field is both fulfilling and demanding. During long work hours, veterinarians frequently deal with emotional situations, such as euthanizing animals, and delivering bad news to pet owners. These experiences can take a toll on a veterinarian's emotional well-being. Over time, the emotional burden of caring for sick or injured animals can cause veterinarians to experience compassion fatigue. Burnout and compassion fatigue leave behind some noticeable traces. The AVMA wrote that bottled-up emotions, sadness and apathy, and the inability to get pleasure from activities that previously were enjoyable are all symptoms of compassion fatigue. (Source: “Work and compassion fatigue”.) Some veterinarians may feel overwhelmed by the demands of their job, such as managing a busy caseload, managing high call volume, and training new staff. It's important for veterinarians to recognize the signs of burnout and seek help when needed, such as taking time off, seeking counseling, or changing their work environment. How can tech-enabled services help Veterinarians mitigate feelings of burnout? These kinds of services can offer various ways to help veterinarians diminish feelings of burnout. Here are a few examples: Practice management software: Remember the days of the spiral notebook for scheduling appointments? Those hand-written appointment and prescription refill reminder notices? Or those vintage triplicate invoice books for billing out clients? Practice Management Software revolutionized the way practices handled appointments, reminders, and billing, while it also centralized and digitized medical records. “A survey of veterinary practices found that practices that adopted practice management software reported a 25% reduction in time spent on administrative tasks and a 30% increase in client satisfaction" (Source: "Streamlining veterinary practice operations with practice management software" by T. S. Mahan and S. J. Bartlett, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2017) Tech-enabled' isn't scary at all! These virtual tools and services have already benefited veterinary practices. Telemedicine: Telemedicine services allow veterinarians to provide remote consultations, which can help reduce the workload associated with in-person appointments. Telemedicine can also make veterinary care more accessible to pet owners, which can help alleviate stress for veterinarians who feel overwhelmed by demand. After-hours triage and virtual front desk services can help veterinarians solve burnout in several ways. Reducing workload is one of the main benefits tech-enabled services provide Veterinarians. After-hours triage services can help reduce the workload on veterinarians by taking calls from pet owners outside of normal business hours. This can free up veterinarians to focus on other tasks, such as patient care, and reduce the likelihood of burnout. Other ways these virtual tools can benefit vets include: Improved work-life balance: By outsourcing after-hours triage and front desk services, veterinarians can spend more time with their families and pursue hobbies or interests outside of work, which can help reduce stress and prevent burnout. "A survey of veterinary practices found that practices offering after-hours triage services reported a 27% reduction in on-call time for veterinarians and a 34% reduction in on-call time for veterinary technicians. Additionally, practices offering after-hours triage reported higher staff morale and reduced staff turnover" (Source: "Effect of after-hours emergency telephone triage on veterinary practitioners' workloads and quality of life" by S. M. Rhind, et al., Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2018). Enhanced patient care: After-hours triage services can provide pet owners with immediate support when their pet is experiencing a medical emergency. By providing prompt and efficient care, these services can help improve patient outcomes and reduce stress for veterinarians who may feel overwhelmed by a high volume of emergency calls. Improved client communication: Virtual front desk services can help improve client communication by acting as a virtual extension of your veterinary team. This can reduce the number of phone calls and emails that veterinarians receive, freeing up their time and reducing stress. Cost-effective: Outsourcing after-hours triage and virtual front desk services can be cost-effective by deploying remote support staff for a fraction of the cost of employing and training new people. Not only that, remaining in-clinic CSRs and CVTs are freed up for patient care and handling in-person tasks with more focus. By reducing the workload on veterinarians, practices can improve their efficiency and productivity, which can help increase revenue and profitability. Overall, tech-enabled services can offer valuable tools and resources to help veterinarians manage their workload, improve patient care, and prioritize their own well-being. By leveraging these services, veterinarians can mitigate feelings of burnout and maintain a healthy work environment. We have paid close attention to the symptoms of this problem and have the perfect solution for it. GuardianVets’ Virtual Services can meet any level of demand for your practice! Our triage team will sort non-urgent calls appropriately so you can focus on what you love: enhancing pet health and not feeling the stress! Want to know more? Take the next step and reach out to us at email@example.com if you have any questions, or fill out the Get Started form on our website to book your consultation!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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@example.com
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.