Using the Internet at work at the veterinary practice

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It's great for looking at funny cat pictures, sure. But the Internet is also a powerful tool that can help your veterinary practice become more productive and profitable.

Anyone with an Internet connection knows how easy it is to get lost on the Web. One minute you're checking your e-mail or paying a utility bill, and the next you're watching hours' worth of funny pet videos on YouTube. There's plenty of nonsense out there, and lost productivity is the last thing you want to introduce into your veterinary practice.

But failing to provide Internet access to your team members has its drawbacks, too, according to Donna Recupido-Bauman, CVPM, hospital administrator at Veterinary Specialty Care in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. First, you're missing out on important medical research opportunities, she says. Veterinary reference books are useful tools, but a quick Internet search is often more helpful, Recupido-Bauman says. Online CE is also available from a variety of sources, and many of the classes are free.

More in this package:

How much time do you spend accessing veterinary information online while you're at work?

What do you use the Internet for at work?

Are employees at your veterinary practice able to access the Web?

Internet access can also make your practice a more efficient workplace. Why spend time waiting for faxes when you can check lab results online? In addition to saving paper, you'll access results quicker and better serve your patients, Recupido-Bauman says. Ordering supplies and medications is faster, too. You're just a few clicks away from a fully stocked hospital—no more long phone calls or endless order forms.

Finally, consider the marketing and client relations benefits you'll experience by using the Internet. After all, sending e-mail reminders is much quicker and easier than sending them through the mail. And Facebook and Twitter can be a goldmine for reaching out to current and future clients. Best of all, these powerful tools are both free.

According to our survey, most practices offer Internet access to employees. If you're not among them, it's time to plug in and start reaping the benefits. Just try to resist the call of those funny pet videos.

More in this package:

How much time do you spend accessing veterinary information online while you're at work?

What do you use the Internet for at work?

Are employees at your veterinary practice able to access the Web?

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Angela Elia, BS, LVT, CVT, VTS (ECC)
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