Dreaming up the perfect app for your veterinary practice
As an avid technology geek and advocate for exceptional client care, I am always looking for ways to raise the bar when it comes to connecting and communicating with pet owners. One of the most important things I have learned about new technology is to be sure you're not doing something just because you can—you need to make sure that clients really need it and that it works financially for your practice.
If I were to invest in a mobile app for a veterinary hospital, I would want to make sure it could:
> Notify the pet owner via push notification—an alert for tablet or smartphone users—that it’s time for their pet's daily or monthly medications to be administered
> Notify the pet owner via push notification that their pet's medication is due to be refilled and enable the client to choose “OK” or submit that refill with a single-button response
> Notify the owner via push notification when their pet is due to be seen, when lab work needs to be done or when vaccines are due
> Dial the clinic directly
> Text the clinic directly
> Dial the emergency clinic recommended by the practice veterinarian
> Film pet’s behavior and/or unusual activity (limping, seizure activity, etc.) and send it to the veterinarian with a message detailing the date, time, etc. of the captured footage
> Sync with pet's vaccine history, diet history and medication history from your practice management software so the client has the information when they need it
> Automatically send the client a birthday postcard through the app for the pet's birthday.
You'll notice I didn't include many features that your practice’s website already has (or should have) other than immediate contact information. You don’t want clients skipping your website to use your app; that’ll hurt your traffic. You want current and potential clients to find and visit your website, because the more traffic it gets, the greater impact it has on ranking higher on the search engines.
Also, keep in the mind the cost of developing and maintaining a practice app. In my research, I found companies with custom apps as little as $300 to build, but there are added monthly fees to maintain the app's subscription. You can expect to spend $50 to $100 per month to keep your app functioning in addition to the initial cost, which can range from $1,500 to $2,000 depending on the features you want included.
Brenda Tassava, CVPM, CVJ, speaks often on social media and is a partner and veterinary practice consultant at Halow Tassava Consulting.