Making a practice ‘as pleasant as possible’ - Veterinary Practice
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InFocus

Making a practice ‘as pleasant as possible’

DONAL NUGENT reports on a practice owner’s choice of software for her new premises

GOOD things come to those who
wait. As Sibilla (“Billa”) Schleicher
prepared to set up in practice in
January 2007, such thinking was far
from her mind. Nor, when the first
premises fell through and
disappointment followed
disappointment from numerous
other buildings, “which always had
something wrong
with them”, was she
inclined to be so
philosophical.

In late 2009,
however, when her
search finally struck
gold, Billa was happy
to acknowledge the
wait had been worth it.
The Old Docks Office
in the heart of Milford
Haven offers views of
the harbour from one
side and easy access for
clients on the other
and it was here that All
Pets Vet Care finally
opened for business.

The right choice

Setting up a practice from scratch is an
expensive business and Billa is happy to
share her secret for bringing it in under
budget. “Half of the practice
equipment was bought on eBay,” she
explains with a smile, pointing to
everything from the instrument trolley
to the receptionist’s desk as online
bargains.

Purchases from Germany

Hailing from Berlin, Billa could also
shop on the German site and among
the items holding pride of place in her
surgery is a high-specification x-ray
viewer, which came in at just £50.

However, there were also items she
would only buy new and top of the
range. Her iM3 dental machine is a
perfect example as is her choice of
practice software. Previous experience
told Billa there was no room for short
cuts here.

In her former practice, she had been
forced to use a software package that
was “so cumbersome and so un-user
friendly, it used to wind me up every
day”, she recalls.

Canvassing friends and colleagues
for their views, Billa went so far as to
compile a shortlist of the contenders.
Among them was VetSCOPE, which Billa had come across through two
practices she was in contact with. She
was immediately impressed by its high
specification and exceptional ease of
use.

Surpassing expectations

When the practice opened last year, Billa
had made her choice and is in no doubt that VetSCOPE has
played its part in a year
that surpassed all
expectations.

“I wanted a
veterinary practice that
was as pleasant as
possible to be in and
we’ve achieved that.
Clients always
comment on what a
lovely atmosphere we
have here,” she says.

That client list now
extends to over 800
people and the
software’s utility demonstrates itself on
many levels. “We have a little flip video
camera, so the first thing we do when a new animal comes in is put a picture of
it on the history page. Owners are
always impressed with that.”

Early on, she discovered a practical
advantage to this. “If I have a client
with two dogs, for example, I can have a
quick look on my screen and be sure
which is which. It’s a small thing but
clients are really impressed when you
get it right.”

At a more technical level, progress
on the healing of a wound, for example,
can be quickly ascertained through
VetSCOPE. “I’ll have pictures from
each time a patient is in the clinic and I
can access these immediately to be
certain progress is being made.”

A further feature to impress, in
terms of client relationships, is the
ability to offer a detailed costing of a
surgical procedure in just a few
moments. “I simply press ‘procedure –
surgery’ and it will come up with all the
different items that might be used in an
operation. It is not only fast and
efficient but, because everything is in
front of you, you are less likely to forget
something.”

This comprehensive but easy-to-use
approach has a great advantage when
bringing in a locum, she explains. “It
means it doesn’t take an eternity for
them to understand how you do this or
that – they can get started immediately.”

Support

VetSCOPE’s robust accounting
program proved more than a pleasant
surprise: Billa sees it as a dynamic
resource for vets at a time when, like all
business people, they need to stay close to their finances.
“Each day, I can just click a few
buttons and quickly
see what my profit
and loss for the day
is.” VAT returns
have, similarly,
been simplified and
when her
accountant called
recently to do her
end-of-year
accounts, “I was
able to take all the
information from
the system and
present it to him.
He was very
impressed with it.”

The software
developers,Stephen and Clare
Lawler, provide
user support
directly to their
clients and Billa
describes this
hands-on approach
as “brilliant”.

After a delayed
start, setting up in
practice has been a
voyage of
discovery and, with
a rapidly growing
customer base
responding to her
client-centred
approach, Billa has
much to be proud
of. However, she
sees the adventure
as just beginning –
a feeling that
applies to
VetSCOPE as
much as any other
aspect of the business.

“Every so often, we find something
new we want to do and we wonder how.
So, we phone up Stephen and he says
‘All you do is press this button here and
that there and there it is’ and I think
‘Wow! I didn’t even know that was
there’. This is the beauty of it. It’s just
such a lovely program to work with.”

  • VetSCOPE is manufactured in Ireland
    by Lawler Developments Ltd. It has
    been on the market for over 10 years
    and is the market leader in Ireland and
    there are now over 500 users of
    VetSCOPE in Ireland and the UK. It
    will run on either Apple Macs or
    Windows PCs. For details see
    www.vetscope.ie.

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