Dr Claire Wade is principal veterinarian of Wade Veterinary Services – a practice servicing livestock and companion animal health throughout south-west Victoria. She also provides an experienced locum service for veterinary clinics throughout Australia.
Claire migrated her business to the VisionVPM practice management software solution in late 2017, after qualifying in animal biomechanical medicine midway through the year. As a veterinary locum to general practice for a number of years, she was familiar with a wide range of veterinary practice solutions, including VisionVPM and RxWorks.
She had seen first hand how these software solutions offered the tools necessary to computerise an entire practice workflow – from appointment booking and front desk administration through to consultations and patient follow-ups. She saw how this functionality was able to improve practice efficiency, which in turn translated into greater profitability.
With this background knowledge, Claire understood she needed to introduce automation and innovation into her business to help make it a success. She pursued enquiries with Henry Schein Veterinary Solutions after weighing up the pros and cons of each solution she had worked with during her time as a locum.
Claire explains she was initially trying to run her small start-up equine biomechanical business using a manual process incorporating Microsoft Excel and Word. She managed all of her financials in Excel, which she then sent to her accountant; she had never used a software solution for accounting previously.
“I was using Word documents for my forms, which was extremely time-consuming,” she says. “And I had no client database apart from basic data in Excel. I only had a few clients, as I was just starting out in parallel to my locum work.”
Realising she needed to introduce efficiencies to her business, Claire spoke to fellow veterinary professionals and then contacted Henry Schein Veterinary Solutions to discuss which solution would work best for her. “After considering my business type and needs, the solutions consultant I spoke to suggested VisionVPM would be ideal.”
“I was a bit reluctant at first, as it seemed bigger than what I needed for my little business,” she continues. “But the consultant encouraged me to look at it from every angle and it turned out to be just perfect. The answer to every question I asked ticked a box.”
Because Claire’s practice has a strong equine component, VisionVPM was a particularly good fit. This is because equine practices face unique challenges compared with small animal practices, including inaccurate inventory counts due to multiple storage locations, or complex accounting when billing multiple owners, stables or trainers.
It can also be difficult managing a business when spending a lot of time in the field and VisionVPM saves time, streamlines practice operations and keeps medical information readily available, even when Claire is on the road. Customised fields are also available specifically for the equine industry.
Claire was very impressed with how well the roll-out of VisionVPM went, and particularly with the fact that the Henry Schein Veterinary Solutions team was there hands-on to help implement the solution. The expert team had the right knowledge, skills and experience to deliver the service and support crucial to get the system up and running for her.
Initially, though, she had some reservations. “I am IT proficient, but definitely not an expert, and I was quite concerned about having to learn a new system,” she says.
“I needn’t have worried. The training process was set up in two phases, so I never felt overwhelmed. Sal [the Henry Schein Veterinary Solutions consultant] came and set everything up and gave me a two-day training course. It was seamless and really easy. I didn’t have to worry about the implementation. Everything was thought about and taken care of during implementation,” she adds.
Business growth ‘explosion’ supported by automation
When Dr Claire Wade, implemented VisionVPM in her livestock and companion animal practice, she was immediately impressed with how easy and intuitive the solution was to use.
She experienced immediate benefits from the rollout of the practice management solution, which replaced time-consuming manual processes done previously in Microsoft Office. She understood that daily practice life can be chaotic and it’s hard to juggle essential business processes while providing the best patient care. It’s also hard to stay on top of financial aspects like missed charges, as well as take care of client communication and retention.
Despite some initial reservations, Claire knew that the VisionVPM solution ticked all the ‘must have’ boxes on her list of requirements. She describes her ‘aha’ moment as the time she experienced sudden insight into the value of the software solution.
“I felt I was over-investing initially because I didn’t have many clients and my business was still in start-up mode. However, another experienced vet in the region retired and I picked up two of her major customer runs. My caseload and client database suddenly exploded,” she says.
“There is no way I could have kept up without VisionVPM,” says Claire. “The way that it schedules bookings online is fantastic, plus I was able to automate my forms, making it very easy to manage the sudden growth in my client base as well as my increased geographical coverage. I clearly remember thinking: Thank goodness I did this. I definitely haven’t over-invested and it has made running my business so easy.”
The integrated services are a core strength of VisionVPM – they help veterinary professionals like Claire capture more revenue, streamline workflows, boost efficiency and grow their practice. Better practice operations build client confidence and lead to better patient care, which in turn generates repeat business, increased customer conversion and loyalty.
Claire was also very impressed with the level of professionalism, knowledge and support from the Henry Schein Veterinary Services team, starting with the solution sales consultant. She explains that she has an extensive background in sales, so she was very wary of the ‘sales pitch’ she expected to get.
“However, he was very patient and knowledgeable,” she explains. “He made sure every question or concern I had about my investment was addressed thoroughly – nothing was brushed aside. I wasn’t made to feel that I wasn’t important, just because my business was small.
“He took the time to understand my business needs and made me feel important. Even though I wasn’t a big customer, I felt like I was still a valuable client.”
Claire then transitioned to her implementation manager, who helped her set up and customise VisionVPM and import her manual client data. Between him and her case manager, Claire said she never felt like she was left on her own. “I was free to call when I needed support at any point,” she explains. “It has been a good learning experience and the team were really good at taking me through the implementation step-by-step.”
She has also been impressed with the after-sales service and support. She says that as a locum she would often hear staff in veterinary clinics complain about significant delays with software solution providers getting back to customers. “I was used to this and expected the same with VisionVPM,” she says.
“However, on the contrary, I found that the VisionVPM support staff get back to me really quickly to address any questions or problems. In fact, sometimes a call comes back to me so quickly that I’m not expecting it and I miss it and have to ring back!
Claire explains that in the time she has had VisionVPM – which is over 12 months – she’s never had to wait for more than a day for the support team to get back to her. This was something that surprised her – considering how small her business was at the time. “I don’t spend a fortune with Henry Schein Veterinary Solutions, but the support is always there,” she says. “It really is fantastic.”
“If an issue isn’t resolved immediately, I always get a call from one of the support team to take me through the solution step-by-step, or I’ll get an email telling me they’re working on it and outlining timeframes and next steps,” she concludes.
Improving business processes and financial control; frees up time to focus on patient care
Veterinary and animal biomechanical professional, Dr Claire Wade, implemented VisionVPM in her livestock and companion animal practice in late 2017. She describes how key features within the solution transformed her business and helped her manage a large and growing client base, while simultaneously developing strong client relationships.
Claire understands that the modern veterinary industry is full of challenges and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for independent practices like hers to become, and remain, successful. Tighter profit margins, increased competition and higher client expectations are just some of the pressures that face veterinarians these days.
Despite having a very busy daily practice life, Claire is realising the benefits of improved financial control and stronger business processes through VisionVPM, which allows her to focus on providing the best patient care. The solution allows her to run an efficient and profitable practice by simplifying the management of her business and gives her peace mind.
She highlights the user-friendliness of VisionVPM as a major strength. For example, it’s quick and easy for her to produce client reports using examination templates and generate invoices at least three times quicker than her previous manual system.
This improved client and patient management saves time and improves her practice workflow by recording detailed client and patient progress and she can store documents and images on the patient record. She also saves time and money using VisionVPM’s comprehensive reporting. She can quickly run reports at any time of the month to see how much she owes suppliers, and then easily pay them.
“VisionVPM is very user-friendly and functions can be done very quickly,” she explains. “I can finalise a report for a client – including a wordy rehabilitation plan – generate an invoice and email it all to a client within 5-10 minutes of a visit.
“When I was doing Word reports and invoices in Excel it could take me hours to do the same. Instead of writing up my report, spell checking it, double checking it and emailing it off, VisionVPM now takes care of this all for me. I just write up my veterinarian notes and VisionVPM emails it as a comprehensive report. I also don’t have to worry about manually entering reminder dates into my calendar, as it does this for me too. The time taken has gone from 30 minutes per client to an average of five to ten minutes,” she says.
And emphasising the significant time efficiencies that VisionVPM has introduced, Claire says she’s achieved these gains despite having grown her practice from around 30 clients to 120 in less than 12 months. “The time savings have been huge,” she says.
So much so that before Claire spoke to the solution sales consultant, she’d already considered the need to recruit a reception person to help manage her business administration. Once she’d talked to the solutions consultant about the features and benefits of VisionVPM with Rapport scheduling, she realised she no longer needed to hire a support staff member – which was a significant financial saving.
VisionVPM’s automated reminders and recalls help build compliance, strengthen client bonds and add value through better communication. And its powerful reminder system allows Claire to send SMS or email, or post reminders to her clients. Daily, weekly or monthly reminders also help her to streamline follow-ups. Reminders are automatically generated on invoicing and reminders are removed when you record a patient as inactive or deceased.
But these advantages of VisionVPM aren’t only being experienced in Claire’s business operations – she says her customers enjoy the functionality of the solution too.
“My clients love the fact that they get a consult report with every visit. I write up my case notes, including any referrals, and it all gets sent to them right after the visit. This gives them an ‘electronic library’ of all my visits, which they can refer to if they want to check the progress of their animal.
“If I am referring them to another veterinary professional, I just email that report on. It’s so much easier; they don’t need to contact me or get a referral letter, which streamlines the process.
Claire says she doesn’t have to write up a consent form for each new client either. “I don’t have to add any data – it’s a one button press, and everything is done online,” she says.
As this is her first year of operation using VisionVPM, Claire has yet to experience the full benefit of VisionVPM’s reporting tools. However, she says she has used the online Help to navigate her way around the system.
“It’s very consistent and logical,” she says. “What’s in the Help menu mirrors what’s in the actual programme, so the navigation is clear and mostly up-to-date. This has helped me easily work out what reports I want – all I have to do is ask my accountant what she needs and it’s simple to create.”
In particular, Claire enjoys how the General Ledger splits reporting by species. “As I get older, I want to do less horse work,” she explains. “I love how – at the touch of a button – I can see how much money the horse work generates, compared with companion animals. So, year by year, I can tell if I am able to start working less with horses. The reporting is actually going to help me decide my career path – it’s not just an accounting decision.”
Another game-changer for Claire has been the online booking functionality through Rapport Scheduling. This module is designed to offer clients the convenience of making appointments at a time that suits them – even outside business hours.
The initial take-up of online booking by her clients was as low as 10 percent, but now it’s closer to 80 percent. “Because I’m often on the road I am often too busy to schedule appointments over the phone, so I direct my clients to my website to make an appointment online using Rapport,” she says. As she is on the road a lot, covering a very large geographic area, Claire also finds the remote access features of VisionVPM invaluable.
She confirms that the biggest business benefit since implementing VisionVPM has been the significant time-saving. She says the software has lifted her professional brand too.
“I work in the highly competitive area of animal body work, but I am the only practitioner who is veterinary qualified that provides a written report for every animal. It means that I can, and I do charge more, as my clients know they have a highly professional, consistent service.
“They know they can expect a full report after every visit, with the same format and layout. This is great for building strong client relationships,” she says.
Claire doesn’t hesitate to recommend VisionVPM. “I regularly recommend it to other professionals,” she says. “If you’re a new business, or you’re thinking of changing your software, you must consider VisionVPM first.“I haven’t misspent a single penny with the VisionVPM solution – it’s been well worth the investment. I haven’t looked back; the software has helped me save a lot of time and grow my business,” she concludes.