How to Run a Veterinary Back Office From Your Front Pocket
How one vet uses mobile apps to stay organized and improve cash flow.
Practice owners and managers understand the challenge of wearing multiple hats. It’s hard enough juggling appointments and client needs each day. Even if you have office staff, you still need to dedicate time to back-office duties.
As the sole owner of a mobile veterinary diagnostics practice, I spend a good portion of my day traveling between practices. Between travel time, appointments and handling all the administration for my business, I can’t afford to waste a minute of my day.
Fortunately, we live in an age where mobile technology is changing the way we work for the better. Mobile apps can vastly enhance efficiency in and out of the office, help us look more professional, keep us organized and even improve cash flow.
In our profession, we know how vital it is to stay up to date with the latest advances in veterinary medicine so we can offer the best care. There’s a lot of value to be had with using the latest tools to stay just as up to date when it comes to the rest of our business.
Here are simple ways mobile technology is having an impact on small business and changing the way veterinary practices can get things done.
Send Invoices on the Spot
Gone are the days of letting all your invoices pile up as homework for the end of a long day’s work. Apps like Invoice2go make it easy to send professional invoices from your mobile, tablet or computer when you’re done with an appointment.
Doing everything straight from a single app is helpful for keeping track of accounts receivable so you’re not chasing down payments or looking for lost invoices. Everything is stored safely in the cloud, the invoice processing time is cut in half, and you’ll be running a more efficient, paper-free operation.
The app also allows businesses of all sizes to accept debit and credit cards.
Store, Back Up, Share Files From Anywhere
For safekeeping important documents, photos and videos, it’s hard to beat the benefits of cloud-based storage apps like Dropbox. When you use such a product, files are automatically backed up and synced, meaning they are accessible from any device you log in from. It’s easy to share files with others.
Also, cloud-based storage is the best way to store and share large files, which email servers often have a hard time handling.
Especially for mobile practices like mine, it’s important to plan routes. In any given week I’m working with practices in New York metro, Connecticut and New Jersey.
I use Waze to get me from A to B in the most efficient way possible. It’s a fun app that offers real-time updates on traffic, road hazards, police activity and food stops. The less time you’re stuck on the road, the better you can maximize your working time.
Manage Daily Tasks in Real Time
We all know the to-do list is an ever-evolving, moving target. List and project management apps like Trello are helpful for keeping checklists organized and updated as you go. Use labels, color schemes and due dates to help you stay on top of your day as it unfolds. It’s a more efficient way to get things done.
Evernote can keep lists organized, too, and it is known as a wonderful tool for keeping track of notes, ideas and resources. It’s a great place to capture those million great ideas that come up throughout the day.
One of the biggest benefits to integrating more apps into a daily routine is lessening your reliance on hard copies of files, documents, invoices and everything in between. Paperwork can be a major hindrance to organization and productivity, with important documents getting misplaced in the daily shuffle.
I decided many years ago to make the switch to a paper-free practice, and I wouldn’t turn back. I used to write invoices at the end of each work day when my energy was waning. Then I would make a photocopy, send it by mail and wait weeks to receive payment.
Using a digital tool to create and send invoices to veterinary hospitals the moment I finish an appointment means I’m organized, efficient and invoicing quickly, and I typically get paid quickly.
You can find business apps for everything from storing files and making appointments to creating invoices and processing payments.
Implementing new technology may seem overwhelming, especially for those of us too crunched for time to sit down and learn something new. But in the end, most of us would agree that anything that will make your business more efficient and you more successful is worth it.
Dr. Judy Pawlusiow’s practice, Advanced Veterinary Mobile Diagnostics, takes her along the East Coast to perform diagnostics and procedures such as ultrasound and endoscopy for veterinary clinics that lack onsite services.
Originally published in the February 2017 issue of Veterinary Practice News. Did you enjoy this article? Then subscribe today!