Let technology help streamline your life


What does all the new technology floating about in cyberspace offer you as a practitioner?

What does all the new technology floating about in cyberspace offer you as a practitioner?

Are these new modalities just going to fill up space or create space that will simplify your daily life?

The good news is that American productivity will increase with the use of current technology.

Certain technology can go a long way in streamlining your life.

Information 'needy'

Americans must make six telephone calls to a typical business to get the information or help that they need, so any business that can improve this bottleneck surely will benefit.

Consumer need for information and access to our time can be a burden, but with the careful selection and use of these available items we can improve our quality of life while improving customer service.

One of the biggest issues facing the business paradigm of veterinary practice is emergency medicine.

A survey we conducted shows that 90 percent of the time consumers want information; they do not necessarily want to have their pet seen. Cybertechnology can help.

We need to keep things simple, so we will discuss a Web page, the instant messenger, the cellular telephone with caller i.d., mail options, FAXes, e-newsletters and, low and behold the new models of hand-held walkie talkies.

Web Pages: We can provide reams of information in our offices, with written handout materials, making sure our telephone personnel are well-trained and with seminars for our staff.

Instant Messenger. I expected this technology to be a waste of time and effort when it was introduced, yet it has produced a lifeline of support and communication between clients and staff.

Cellular Telephone. This seems too obvious. Yet the reverse angle view of the cellular goes like this: use the cellular primarily as a pager and skip the pager. Put caller i.d. on the cellular and bingo, when the telephone vibrates, look at the screen to screen the call-answer immediately if you want, or pick up the message in 10 minutes when it would be more convenient.

Fax Machines. This somewhat dated technology holds a very special place in the business world. Some thought that with the emergence of e-mail, cellulars, and instant messaging that the FAX would die. But the fact is this-the FAX is reliable and quick. Clients can be encouraged to send questions in by FAX, the data studied and a reply returned to them in 10 minutes or less. Sure beats trying to make those six telephone calls, pull the record, rush, rush, rush to find the record and doctor, and oh, dang, they have been on hold two minutes and the telephone is beeping again.

e-news and e-newsletters. Folks that are on line like to get useful information. The practice can bundle together groups of clients with specific needs and give them "information bullets." Such an information bullet could be a short and sweet discussion of the diabetic and fructoseamine. The delivery of such information complete with some keywords, or even hotlinks to information libraries gives client data they need to be more informed consumers along with recommendations to care for pets more effectively all the while easing pressure on the staff.

Walkie Talkies. Even a smallish practice can have trouble finding staff within the building and this can sometimes present a problem. Pagers are just too cumbersome so these little hand-held walkie talkies that sell for $50 to $60 can be hooked on a belt or put in a pocket to enable personnel to communicate with each other. Hospital intercoms are just too troublesome, create noise pollution and assume that someone is on the other end of the line.

Electronic answering. We want voices, all of us want voices. Consumers are increasingly avoiding businesses that have electronic answering. Sometimes we have no choice but to deal with companies that use electronic answering such as a cable company or a public utility. When folks have a choice they will call a business with a voice.

Don't return the calls. We want calls returned. Generally, consumers want an answer within a couple of hours. So secure a hidden outside line and location within the clinic to make outgoing calls so as not to be interrupted doing these times.

The use of a Web page can streamline those duties. Certainly one issue for the consumer is that they need to be "hit" with messages a number of times for the message to register.

A simple Web page can provide the essential information needed for the consumer: hours, emergency numbers, first aid and introduce the staff to the public.

Of course we have all been overrun with the cliché, "They don't care how much you know until they know how much you care," so the staff, their interests, and lives can be presented. Clients are delighted to know that members of the staff have special interests in reptiles, birds, dog breeding, dressage or even rock climbing.

The instant messenger is about the size of a small cellular telephone complete with a screen and keyboard. The keyboard is a little funky but very useable. The screen is small but very serviceable. Access to e-mail and instant messages is excellent.

The joy of the instant messenger is that each message saves a telephone call and a page at an inconvenient time. The major benefit of instant messaging for the client and the clinic is a speedy exchange of information. The 6 a.m. inquiry about a cardiac case can have the patient in at 9 a.m. without a telephone call hassle.

Keep each e-mail group to 50 or less to keep the information focused and not too generic.

In our practice, we use two units for one hour every day-during the inpatient admission hour when patients are being ferried into the ward; a great labor savor.

No-no list

There are some techno-gadgets that do nothing but annoy clients. Try to limit or eliminate them:

The instant messenger, the cellular paging, e-mail, e-news, and

Web pages are a nice way to take the pressure off of the clinic telephone.

Technology can be a blessing or bane. Let technology work for you in a way that lets clients know you are available, minimizes waiting time and provides a professional conduit to give them as much information about their pet and its care as possible.

Related Videos
Related Content
© 2023 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.