The CEO and founder of Talkatoo laid out multiple innovative companies new to veterinary medicine
Editor's note: This article was updated on 9/20/2023
When it comes to change, many would prefer to stick to how they have always done things instead of trying something new. However, new companies are popping up in veterinary medicine, with platforms and offerings that range from showing promise to solving problems that professionals face daily in clinics. You may wonder which are worth looking into.
Shawn Wilkie, founder and CEO of Talkatoo, a subscription-based veterinary dictation software, and cohost of the Veterinary Innovation Podcast, shared which companies he thinks are worth investigating, during his lecture at the 2023 Fetch dvm360® conference in Kansas City, Missouri. In no particular order, the companies he discussed included the following.
A cloud-based operating system, Instinct Science offers a fully electronic medical record and practice management system. Instinct Science operates as a stand-alone digital workflow treatment plan as well as an e-prescribing platform. The company, based in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, was founded to help solve the problem of other tools being inconvenient and not driving or promoting clinic efficiencies. The solutions Instinct Science provides include Instinct Treatment Plan, Instinct EMR, and InstinctScripts.1
“It’s another one of these web-based practice management software and they’ve got a bit of a different swing…they’re not doing as much on the pet parent communication side, but they are doing a bunch of interesting things. So, they’re trying to solve the same problem. They feel that existing veterinary practice management tools are cumbersome, maybe not developed for the modern day,” Wilkie explained.
It is no shock to the veterinary industry that more patients are coming into clinics, with 1 in 5 households having brought home a pet since the COVID-19 pandemic began.2 Although the pandemic inspired many families to bring pets to their forever homes, the trend also is resulting in more calls, texts, appointments, and stressed team members. To alleviate some pressure, PetsApp is a client communication platform that can also handle marketing and patient management.1
“I think their app is really neat. Once again, the user interface design, the experience of using their software is really good, and that’s really challenging to do. What they were trying to solve is the unsustainable numbers of inbound calls. There are so many missed calls that happen in your practice, as well as poor customer service and compromised patient care,” Wilkie said.
The CEO and cofounder of the Minneapolis, Minnesota–based company, Thom Jenkins, MA VetMB, MRCVS, is a veterinarian and has had an inside perspective on what can go wrong and how things can be better. Through PetsApp, veterinary clinics can text chat with clients and handle appointment bookings, reminders, video calls, and digital payments.1
VetSnap is the first federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regulation–compliant controlled drug log software.3 Its controlled logbook gives veterinary practices a simple, secure solution for managing controlled substances. Normally, documenting a clinic’s inventory can be tedious for team members and finding errors can be a major challenge.1
Through VetSnap, veterinary teams can access real-time tracking when inventory is logged, finished, opened, or restocked. The software also uploads client and patient information from the veterinary practice information software (PIMS) and identifies possible differences between the PIMS codes and logs; it filters, organizes, and searches logbooks by container, veterinarian, drug, and time. The software is also available on tablets, phones, and computers to give veterinary teams access to their logbook anytime and anywhere.1
“[VetSnap] made [logbooks] more accessible. They made it real time. They’ve allowed you to restock items based upon the drug log. And, last but not least, they made it super easy to solve this problem [and] are kind of organizing something that’s super important [that] has this potential scary impact for a veterinary hospital. Nobody wants to have the DEA come to their hospital and say, ‘Show me your drug log,’ and have that conversation—I don’t think it’s any fun. So, they have created this product that really helps with it,” Wilkie said.
When it comes to the clinic, outdated and clunky legacy systems can wreak havoc, according to Wilkie. They can make it difficult to integrate add-ons; this can result in frustration, complications, and higher costs at the clinic. All these factors can affect the staff, which can lead to burnout due to a hectic, unorganized system. Digitail is a cloud-based, all-in-one management software that includes a pet parent app.1
“One of the things that they’re doing that not many people have done, when it comes to practice management systems, is building KPIs [key performance indicators] and analytics into their software on all the things that happened in that practice. They also have a smart whiteboard component and they’re really trying very hard to…fill in a lot of the things [for which] people buy multiple pieces of software,” Wilkie said. “And the 1 thing that I know from being an entrepreneur for 20 years is that doing 1 thing is really hard. Doing a lot of things is even harder. But if you can get enough people around you [who] are smart enough, you might be able to pull it off.”
Veterinary clinics can also send out invoices, manage inventory, and create reports; in addition, Digitail offers data migration, cleaning, and standardization.4 Change can be hard to accept for many; as the saying goes, ‘If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.’ However, Wilkie encouraged attendees interested in new management software to seek more information on Digitail.
PetDesk created its communication management software to improve understanding and exchange of information between clients and veterinary professionals. The software aims to help with staff burnout by saving time through its offerings.1
“PetDesk’s aim is the staff burnout, time savings, [and] the newest issue of veterinary care and monetization. They voluntarily help with all of these things. So, what does their solution do? It sends online appointment confirmations to customers [and] allows pet owners to track their pet[’s] health and communicate with that staff in real time using their app or their mobile website,” Wilkie said.
“[PetDesk] is a really interesting tool [that] allows customers to view their prescriptions, make new prescription recordings, [and] refill their prescriptions all within a single app. And then the biggest one, and this is a very common theme in [veterinary medicine], they’re really trying to help with client communications, trying to help you interact with your clients in a digital way on your client’s own terms,” he continued.
The app also will allow pet parents to submit appoint requests, gain access to health records, and communicate with the staff as needed. The clinic can utilize this platform to communicate with all clients, targeting messages to certain ones or specific segments through email, text messages, app notifications, and more. Additionally, PetDesk gives its users the opportunity to build their online presence through website creation, social media management, and more to help get the clinic’s name out into the community.5
Throughout the rest of his lecture, Wilkie also named PetDx, Med Dimensions, SignalPET, Vetstoria, and Zomedica as other companies to watch within the veterinary industry. Although change is not for everyone, the upgrades and services each of these companies can offer veterinary clinics may provide solutions for getting pets the care they need to live happy, healthy lives. These options can also help veterinary teams remain happy and organized within their workplace.1