2018 VMX: Fun (mostly) nonclinical products

February 22, 2018
Brendan Howard, Business Channel Director

Brendan Howard oversees veterinary business, practice management and life-balance content for dvm360.com, dvm360 magazine, Firstline and Vetted, and plans the Practice Management track at all three Fetch dvm360 conferences.Brendan has proudly served under the Veterinary Economics and dvm360 banners for more than 10 years. Before that, he worked as a journalist, writer and editor at Entrepreneur magazine and a top filmed entertainment magazine in Southern California. Brendan received a Masters in English Literature from University of California, Riverside, in 1999.

We poked around the big exhibit hall in Orlando, and here are a few new (or new to us) products that jumped out at us. #INCYMI

‘Alexa, tell me if I'm running my practice into the ground'

Practice Assistant

Sikka Software

This company says more than 12,000 practices are feeding data from practice software into their system these days through a free web browser add-on. The payoff for practice owners who use that add-on? A select few metrics drawn out of regionally applicable averages on fees, visit numbers and client numbers. But for as little as $545 a month, practices can avail themselves of the far more robust Practice Optimizer, which offers far more information on local averages that can be applied to pricing. If you really need this information to comfortably and reliably adjust your numbers, you could easily make back the cost of this software in a year's worth of fee adjustments. You can get similar information on your smartphone with Practice Mobilizer.

But that's not the cool new thing: You can totally buy a subscription to Sikka on your Amazon Echo device.

“Access your practice from the comfort of your own home, hands free,” reads the brochure.

The Sikka Practice Assistant is either a fun gimmick, a cool new way to plan your morning or another way to take your work home with you.


Practice software. German engineering.



We don't know how important it is that this practice software made its debut over 25 years ago and now sits in more than 5,000 practices in Europe, but the fact that it hails from Isernhagen (and at least one booth rep at VMX had an accent) means we get to throw in that “German engineering” comment.

What does the easyVET practice software tout? New features include pet insurance and wellness plan components as well as form templates, but based on a chat with that booth rep and a poke-around on the website, the software has sported a lot of that functionality overseas already. New to you in the States.

Unique in the design is an “electronic card index system” that mimics the feel of a traditional index card filing system on screen in three colors: blue for clients, green for animals, and orange for treatments. The design lover in you may enjoy this approach that differs from the standard look of many other touchscreen-focused approaches to software. It might also look old-school and annoy the Apple design lovers.

The website is pretty clear that their software-new to the U.S. market-is the answer to your software woes: “easyVET is easy to learn and use. easyVET is elegant, attractive and intuitive. easyVET is fun. easyVET is secure, stable and reliable. easyVET is powerful, fast and advanced. easyVET is the future.”

Whether it's your future or not, well, your results may vary. How it really compares to other practice software suites is up to needs and taste and price comparison. (Start here, but remember that our last chart is from January 2016. We're working on a new one!)

A great way to choose a good practice software? Ask around with colleagues whose opinions you trust and needs match yours. And always, always demo the software to see if you're really gonna love it (like, say, at the next Fetch dvm360 conference). If you're really smart, you'll let your manager or team members talk it over too.


O where o where did my vet client go?

Sample postcardPatient Recapture

Henry Schein Animal Health

If you don't do a perfect job of checking in with lapsed clients gone for 18 months or more and you're a user of Henry Schein software already-AVImark or ImproMed-check in on this program to see if it's right for you.

The distributor will use an ever-evolving algorithm to send snail mail or electronic messages to your lapsed clients, and you pay $25 per client who, in fact, shows up for an appointment.

If you want to bone up on managing lapsed or inactive clients first, you can check out data from Vetstreet or try your hand at reaching out first with a form like this. Of course, the big reason you don't pay attention to lapsed clients is you're probably too busy, so you may wind up back at Henry Schein's doorstep for this new service.


A place to cat around

Feline Comfort Suite


All this luxury boarding for dogs is super-species-ist, people. Show some cat love.

OK, so the new Feline Comfort Suite from Shor-Line doesn't have jungle colors or football team allegiances to wow the clients, but for patients, meowwww.

The company says a new fine-celled foam board material is “stronger than wood and impervious to water and urine,” with a finish including a slight texture “for secure footing.”

Two door options provide cats a standing view clear of bars-either 1) a clear, polycarbonate door with diagonal ventilation in each corner, or 2) a tri-panel door with vertical bars above and below, and a band of polycarbonate for a view right at standing height.

The litter space has ample vertical room for comfy time in the crapper as well as a grill for ventilation and a litter and fluid retention strip to avoid drips.

The latches are inset to protect paws.

You can accessorize with Tiffany chandeliers and Pioneer surround sound speakers. I'm lying. You can actually accessorize with an optional “Kat Kave,” which lets cats lounge on top, snuggle on the bottom and wind through the openings below. And a “Privacy Quiet Cover” can provide more visual privacy for doors with grills (those polycarbonate doors are for bold cats).

Want it on wheels so your cats can have condo drag races down the hallway? You can have it on wheels, but only do that condo drag race thing with your most bad-ass patients and boarding visitors. (Just kidding, don't do that, please.)


A pet insurance ‘Easy Button'


Embrace Pet Insurance

Many pet insurance companies get the message: You and your front-desk staff (or your practice's pet insurance advocate) have zero interest in spending time faxing or scan-and-emailing medical records or claims forms back and forth. What, you don't want your veterinary practice someday to look like a physician's office with a gaggle of folks spending all day, every day, managing paperwork with insurance companies?

In order to make a medical-insurance-nightmare world seem more unlikely, Embrace Pet Insurance has joined other companies-like Trupanion's Vet Direct Pay and Nationwide's partnering with the VitusVet app-to make claims easier.

Embrace360 hooks up to a number of major practice software suites (Cornerstone, AVImark, ImproMed, to name a few) and allows quick filing of claims via the internet.

So, hold off on hiring more office workers. (But, y'know, do consider empowering one of those team members to be a pet-insurance advocate, if you'd like fewer “money talks."