Aggie Animal Dental Center is a specialist veterinary practice based in Mill Valley, California that provides first class oral health for companion animals. Started in 2000 by Dr Milinda Lommer, they moved into their own purpose built facility in 2013. The move was a big upgrade of everything except their legacy on-premise software used to manage the business. Why couldn’t running the practice be as simple and convenient as using a smartphone?
We caught up with Dr Lommer about why she made the move to a cloud-based Practice Management Software, how she operated prior to ezyVet and how her practice has been navigating COVID-19.
Dr Lommer understood the flexibility a cloud-based Practice Management Solution could provide when out of office. When she first investigated cloud-based options in 2013, none on the market were intuitive enough to support the needs of a specialty practice. Add to that the time investment and uncertainty of changing systems, she decided to stick with the server-based devil she knew and was familiar with.
Fast forward to 2018 and Dr Lommer reignited the debate for going cloud based. At this time plenty of nearby practices were switching to ezyVet including a major nearby emergency centre, PESCM and the next-door orthopaedic clinic, The Sams Clinic. Dr Lommer had invested in a server-based system 5 years earlier. But when she compared the functionality, cost savings and productivity advantages of being in the cloud with ezyVet, it became obvious that ezyVet was the right choice to evolve and support her next phase of growth.
“Even though it was going to be a huge financial investment,
we knew it was going to save us time so it would be worth it.” , Dr Lommer recalls.
More appointments daily and no missing charges
Since implementing ezyVet twelve months ago Aggie Dental has lifted its revenue by over 20% (excluding price adjustments) and without increasing staff. They now also save at least 30 minutes per day on manual administrative tasks.
From the get go, Dr Lommer noticed huge time savings from the way ezyVet automatically syncs a clinical record to invoicing with accuracy. Therapeutics is set up with billing triggers. She can ensure no double handling of information during clinical record keeping. When her assistants enter products it automatically prepopulates the charges, which can be further adjusted based on the length of time for the surgery service. Her team are all involved, placing charges as they key in information in real time, Dr Lommer estimates this has saved at least half an hour of admin work per day.
We have a bigger chunk of time that’s free to do other things.”
Another benefit of the automated billing capture is that Dr Lommer finds it very difficult to miss charges. In their previous system medical and invoicing functionality were disconnected and hard to keep in sync. Dr Lommer explains that if she wrote in the clinical notes that she gave the patient an injection but did not specifically tell her nurse to add it on the bill, it would be missed. ezyVet solves this problem by automatically generating a charge whenever a chargeable product or procedure is added to the clinical record.
“With ezyVet, once it’s done, it’s recorded and charged for, that's for sure.”
More flexibility and better communication
Being able to access her appointments from home and plan her day is a capability Dr Lommer appreciates. As the old server-based system had a built-in schedule that was only accessible on-site, Dr Lommer had her staff manually transcribe every appointment that was on the server schedule into Google calendar. This extra step is no longer required.
Dr Lommer also loves being able to record and send client communications directly from ezyVet at the same time, no matter her location. She has done away with the double handling of client summary, previously it was emailed to her assistants to record in the server system. A copy of the same communication can then be sent to the referring veterinarian.
With automated reminders via email, SMS or even postcard, ezyVet is also helping her practice reach out to customers and ensure their pets are proactively cared for. Good for the practice profitability, clients and most importantly the animals!
Lastly the interface has a neat layout. The clinical notes section removes clutter and makes it faster to digest for referring veterinarians. As her medical records are completed in SOAP format, the Objective section used to be where the detailed procedure notes were recorded. This has now become a concise summary with captured charges as soon as the information is entered into the Therapeutic/Procedure section. The referring doctor can head straight to the Objective to get a quicker overview of the patient and skip irrelevant parts (for example, exact techniques used in surgery).
As an essential service, Aggie Dental was quick to implement new procedures and protocols when California enacted its state-wide stay-at-home order in mid-March 2020. New safety measures put in place included upping disinfection of all high-touch surfaces, full use of PPE, and curb side pick-ups/drop-offs. Routine patient appointments such as dental cleaning and x-rays rechecks were initially postponed with only urgent emergency cases being taken on. One positive of this change for Aggie Dental was being able to guarantee appointments for all urgent cases without any delays. Furthermore, this has enabled them to continue operating at 75% capacity, well above what would have been possible before ezyVet.
As for customization of ezyVet, there were key changes made to assist with the new workflow.
- Modifications to the appointment reminder email templates to include new information about COVID-19 protocols so clients know what to expect when they arrive on premise.
- Check in sheets are emailed to the client to fill in at home before coming in, with intake questions now completed over the phone.
- Telemedicine via the Zoom integration. SOAP notes are still done the same way with a note written that it was conducted by video call.
- They also have clients email in photos of the patient, which gets attached to the medical record.
“I find the email template very easy to work with
and like the fact that I can change them on the fly.”
Dr Lommer is glad to have moved beyond the limitations of their old server-based system. ezyVet has reduced the amount of time-consuming and manual administrative work for her team. It has also enabled Aggie Dental to focus on what’s important during modern times. ezyVet was worth the wait.