Hi Amanda, please tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Amanda. I am a veterinarian and the co-founder of VetCheck, a veterinary client communication platform. I’ve had quite a varied work-life and most probably because early on in my career, I was one of those vets who questioned whether there was anything else out there for me. And like many of my friends, I felt trapped in the clinical space. But, as veterinarians, we are very fortunate that our skills are so transferrable. So, as well as clinical practice, I’ve worked for a veterinary registration board, in pharmaceuticals, in an animal biotechnology company and in pet insurance. Around 10 years ago, I saw an opportunity to combine my veterinary skills with my passion in technology and launched one of the first pet care apps into the USA market. It was at that point I realized just how much of a difference technology can play in improving pet healthcare management. So, I have continued to focus on pet health initiatives with the vision of improving pet healthcare and reimagining the way we practice so that we can deliver high quality veterinary medicine.
You are currently living and working in Australia. Can you tell us what is your opinion about the veterinary profession there?
Having worked in Australia, USA and UK, I would say the quality of veterinary medicine that we practice in Australia would be on par. The USA veterinary technicians were definitely a standout in terms of their dedication to delivering high quality of care and supporting both the clients and veterinarians. This is probably due to the ease of access to knowledge and tools in the USA, which is improving in other countries.
In terms of salaries, compared with other professions, veterinarians are underpaid. For example, the average wage for a veterinarian is about $65K versus $98K for a dentist. There also seems to be a high demand for veterinarians with statistics showing 41% of practices wait longer than 6 months to fill a vet position. Unfortunately, there are many factors that contribute to a lack of vets and this is related to the high stress nature of the job and the poor pay.
There is also an increasing public perception that veterinarians are too expensive, where pet owners compare vet bills to their own medical care, which is often heavily subsidised. This puts added pressure on the vet industry. And, when price is the only thing the pet owner is focused upon, then we as an industry will lose. But, this is where technology can help veterinary teams add value to the vet visit and exceed client expectations every time.
You are the co-founder of VetCheck. Can you tell us a bit more about how you got the idea of starting this project?
Early in my career I worked for the veterinary registration board where I was responsible for investigating complaints against veterinarians. In 90% of the time, the cause for complaints against vets is due to inadequate communication usually to do with risks of general anaesthesia, potential negative outcomes of surgery, prolonged treatment duration and drug side effects. The amount of stress these complaints would put on veterinarians would be immense and often lead to them worrying about future clients and second-guessing themselves. Most of the time, complaints can be avoided with improved client communication. But, with the limitation of consultations to 15 minutes and the fact that most pet owners only take in 40% of what a veterinarian will say, means that we are set up for failure from the start. I saw an opportunity to develop an easy to use client communication system that allows veterinary teams to share comprehensive information sheets that are in every day language and video format, to support their recommendations. Whether it be sharing pre-treatment information sheets e.g. what to expect with general anaesthesia, surgery or dental prophylaxis, discharge instructions or home compliance videos, veterinary teams can be rest assured that the client leaves will all the information they need.
What does VetCheck represent?
We want to help veterinary teams deliver high quality care every time. It allows teams to demonstrate their expertise and care to their clients. Clients cannot easily compare vet practices from another, but they judge them on their service and the way the practice made them feel.
VetCheck makes client communication easy:
- 1400 Client Communication Templates – Manage client expectations with pre-treatment templates e.g. welcome packs, pre-surgery information, dental booking confirmations and health information sheets.
- Discharge Instruction Templates – Improve home care compliance and patient health outcomes with hundreds of discharge instruction, drug information sheets and treatment plan templates.
- Online Forms – Use convenient online forms and health assessments e.g. new client, behavior questionnaire, allergy questionnaire, to capture detailed patient histories with ease, before the vet visit.
- Videos & Visual Aids – Access a great selection of home care compliance videos e.g. how to brush teeth, administer insulin, perform passive range of motion exercises, anatomical diagrams and images to increase client understanding and add value to the vet visit.
For more information visit www.vetcheck.it
What is your advice for veterinary professionals when dealing with clients?
Client communication is not easy but it is extremely important.
We see client confusion every day in the practice:
- Clients not following our recommendations
- Unrealistic client expectations
- Clients not complying with annual health checks, vaccination or parasiticide protocols
- Veterinarians spending an extra hour each day on call backs
- Nurses being stuck on the phone with client questions
At the end of the day, veterinary teams share the same goals as the clients, which are healthier, happier pets. And without the client on board, these goals cannot easily be achieved. We put a lot of professional time, knowledge, skill and even our heart and soul into these cases, but without the client, it can be wasted. Working as a team with the client and keeping them up to date along the clinical process with personalised pet reports straight to their mobile phone, make a world of difference in the pet’s health outcomes and team and client satisfaction.