Today's Veterinary Business

OCT 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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Make sure you select a telehealth app that protects your patients and yourself. Define the Who, What, Where and When Offering the service to everyone all the time will invite opportunities for failure. Try it out with a few spe- cific clients in specific situations. Learn how to use the app, and engage with clients before offering it to the rest of them. Tell Your Team Informing your team about the new telehealth service will help ensure that they look for opportu- nities to engage clients. Tell Your Clients When you are ready, let clients know about the new app each time a patient comes into the client. Provide a handout offering instructions on how to download the app, get connected and get started. Spread the Word Post information about the app on your clinic's social media channels and web page. Set Expectations Early Make sure clients know that you are not "open" all the time. You have a personal life, you have to sleep and you need time to be off - line. However, with telemedicine, you might find yourself unchained from the office and able to do consults remotely from home or from leisure-time locations. When you are orienting your clients on telehealth, let them know if you plan to be offline on weekends, af- ter midnight or during vacation. If you want to be online 24/7 but will charge a premium for late-night services, be clear about your policy upfront. Your clients will appreciate the transparency and will respect your boundaries as long as you communicate them clearly. Charge for a Consult Your time is valuable, and you have the veterinary knowledge that your clients are looking for. Set 3 4 5 6 7 8 your fees, say $25 to $50, for an an- imal health consultation according to best practices and commonly understood hourly or geographic rates. Consider setting your tele- health consult rate at 60 percent of your annual exam fee. Turn Clients Into Advocates Once pet owners or caregivers see what is possible with personalized telehealth, they will become your advocates. Team members will want to explore the telehealth option, and their word-of-mouth endorsement is the best way to grow your business. According to a Nielsen study, 92 percent of customers trust recommendations over advertising. Best of luck as you embark on new ways of providing telemedi- cine to your clients and patients. 9 Innovation Station guest columnist Dr. Aaron Smiley is chief of staff at Devonshire Veterinary Clinic in Anderson, Indiana, and Geist Station Animal Hospital in Indianapolis. He is vice president of the Indiana Veterinary Medicine Association.

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