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Telemedicine is Coming to the Vets, Part 9: Highlight on Vet2Pet

pretty young pet owner using telemedicine app on her smartphone with her dog
Dec 10, 2020 at 12:26 pm
Carolyn Shadle

This is the ninth in a series of telehealth articles to be published on the VetPartners blog. Each article in the series will feature a different veterinary telemedicine option, providing valuable insight for veterinary professionals, consultants, and pet owners. Communications professional and freelance journalist Carolyn Shadle is not associated with Vet2Pet or any other telemedicine company. She received no compensation—monetary or otherwise—from VetPartners or Vet2Pet for authoring this article.

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VetPartners member Stacee Santi, DVM, has served the veterinary profession for more than 20 years. When, as managing veterinarian at Riverview Animal Hospital in Durango, Colorado, she noticed that too many clients were forgetting their pets’ heartworm prevention, she pondered how to address that. As an early adopter of technology, she had an idea. She had been receiving ads for pizza pushed to her smartphone. Why not send a push notification to her clients reminding them to refill their pets’ heartworm prevention?

An app is born

That was the beginning—way back in 2010. Santi reached out to a software engineer who was building apps for small businesses. She had several ideas that she wanted to incorporate into her veterinary app—one of the first was push notification reminders, and her clients loved it.

“Well,” she said to herself, “what else can an app do?” Santi turned to her software engineer to build prescription refills into the app, and then she added her loyalty program.

“That’s when things went off the rails,” she said. “I noticed an increase of $200,000 in revenue from clients in the loyalty program.”

Not only did the use of the app increase her practice’s revenue, but she found that it was a way to take better care of existing clients and, at the same time, to improve the work/life balance for her teammates. She decided that she needed to make her technology available to other veterinarians.

Vet2Pet was officially born in 2013. Santi’s original mission was to improve efficiency and enhance client engagement. By 2016, the demand was so great that Santi retired from her practice and devoted 100% of her time to Vet2Pet.

Pivoting to meet needs during COVID

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Santi quickly responded, adding features to the Vet2Pet platform that would help veterinarians and their teams more effectively, efficiently, and safely serve their clients and patients. Between April and June 2020, Santi added 2-Way Chat and Virtual Payment to Vet2Pet’s features. The 2-Way Chat feature allows practices and pet owners to exchange photos, videos, documents, and chat messages, and Virtual Payment allows teams to invoice and accept contactless payment through the app.

screenshot of the Vet2Pet platform showing telemedicine

Now, Santi’s team includes 25 employees handling coding, marketing, technology coaching, and more for practices. Most of them bring professional experience in the veterinary profession, and most are working remotely.

Vet2Pet’s unique platform

Vet2Pet is a “one-stop app” for veterinary practices. It offers everything from appointment requests and confirmations to health service reminders. Pet owners can request prescription food or medication refills, exchange chat messages with the veterinary team if they have pet health concerns, participate in the practice’s loyalty program, upload fun pet “selfies,” and much more.

The app is custom-built for each veterinary practice, and it’s branded to the practice, with their logo and colors. Each practice is different, and they can customize the app to fit their needs. One practice may provide push notifications or allow two-way communication during practice hours, while another may enable its clients to chat—or even share asynchronous video—with someone on their team 24/7.  The app is customized, and the practice can turn features on and off.

screenshot showing Vet2Pet's loyalty program

A recent addition to Vet2Pet is called App Academy. It offers on-demand training modules, RACE-approved CE, access to an expert support team, marketing materials to help practices promote their app and encourage clients to download it, and more.

The user experience

Wendy Frankmann, DVM, of the Animal Clinic of Chardon, in Cleveland, Ohio, has been using the Vet2Pet platform since 2016. Early on, she was intrigued by Stacee’s forward thinking and her willingness to brainstorm with her clients. She loved, too, that the app was customizable.

“One of the coolest things we did was to add an embedded link within our appointment confirmation that takes clients to a jotform™,” Frankmann said.

This pre-visit form has saved her nurses valuable time by gathering information ahead of the appointment and enabling the clinic to be well prepared before the client appears. Frankmann says that “it’s all about efficiency” without losing the personal touch.

Melissa Mounkes is a pet owner whose veterinarian, at Halifax Veterinary Center in Port Orange, Florida, suggested she download their hospital app, which was built by Vet2Pet. She loves the convenience of being able to order a prescription refill any time of the day, as well as the other benefits the app offers.

“My sweet 15-year-old dog daughter was sick, and I was worried that this might be the end for her,” Mounkes said. “I was able to send a message to the office through the app that allowed them to call me as soon as they opened and get me an appointment. I didn’t have to wait until they opened to try to get something going. There is such a comfort knowing that I have the options to do everything I need to do, and not just during normal business hours. And, I really enjoy the rewards system that I can keep track of.”

 

It’s clear that “telemedicine is coming to the vets” with so many platforms available right now. Vet2Pet, originating more than 7 years ago, has been a leader in showing the way.

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VetPartners plans to publish one article of this series per month. The author has featured, or will feature, the following telehealth companies:

Are you a veterinary telemedicine company not listed above? Contact the author for a chance to be included in the series!

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Carolyn Shadle
Carolyn C. Shadle, PhD, is the director of Interpersonal Communication Services, Inc., which assists individuals and organizations in improving their interpersonal relations. Those in the veterinary profession know her as the co-author of "Communication Case Studies: Building Interpersonal Skills in the Veterinary Practice," published by the American Animal Hospital Association, and by her presentations at regional and national veterinary conferences. She holds a PhD in organizational and interpersonal communication.

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