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Q&A with Tim Garran - Vet and Practice Co-Owner

All Paws Veterinary Clinic Uses Telemedicine to Propel Themselves into a Better Future.

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From a people point of view, it shows how much we care for the patients, in these challenging times we have bought a service that allows people to see a vet and have their concerns addressed no matter what.

– Tim Garran, Vet and Co-Owner of All Paws Veterinary Clinic

The road to recovery from COVID-19 will be a long one, but All Paws Veterinary Clinic has an excellent track record for adopting innovative technology and taking the express route to grow. For them, COVID-19 was just a catalyst for significant digital transformation.

All Paws Veterinary Clinic is one of the newest kids on the block in Limerick, Ireland. Founded by husband and wife team Tim and Aoife in 2019, they’ve utilized modern technology from the get-go, by offering online booking to prospective clients; fashioning their social media with colorful, consistently branded content to connect with audiences of all generations; and appropriately running promotions to distinguish themselves from competitors, all of which has effectively led to impressive client acquisition for the new practice.

All Paws flourished and things were looking promising until not-so-distant February 2020 happened, aka, coronavirus or COVID-19. We know what happened next. Mass panic, global shut down, toilet-roll fights, and people learned a word they never knew existed, furlough.

The veterinary industry luckily was allowed to operate, but on a much smaller scale, due to it being deemed an essential service by most governments.

This, however, did not lead to a significant downfall for the newly blossomed All Paws Veterinary Clinic, as the management saw a fantastic opportunity to get ahead of their competition by adopting telemedicine and online payments.

Since April 2020, over 60% of the appointments booked online for the practice are telemedicine appointments.

We are now at a stage where businesses are working out the best ways to return to a new normal, and this poses a new question for the veterinary industry:

How can emerging technology like telemedicine propel us into a better future?

We talked with Vetstoria user and All Paws Veterinary Clinic co-owner, Tim Garran, to see how things were for the business during this period with the aim of hopefully answering the question above.

Q: Hi Tim! Firstly, let’s start with the dreaded question: did you have to furlough any staff?

Unfortunately yes, we had to furlough one of our nurses, as we felt we had a duty of care to this individual and their family. We felt that their safety was paramount, and being at the clinic would be an unnecessary risk, as such, we had to take the difficult decision to furlough that person.

Q: How is everyone feeling generally?

Initially, it was quite stressful, largely because of the unknown. However, we quickly established a safe means of working and have embraced as many forms of technology as possible to allow us to continue to care for our patients. Our clients have been amazing and understanding, and I am so proud of how our team has risen to the challenge to continue treating our patients.

It has been a privilege to see the team continue to do such a great job under such difficult circumstances. We made a commitment to our clients and patients that we would be there for them, and we are succeeding in doing so. Pets now are more important than ever and can be the only company some people have, so we are proud that we can be there for them!

Q: You mentioned continuing to treat patients. Is that the main goal for your telemedicine usage?

The areas where we feel video consultations have been of real benefit are 1. triaging patients where owners have difficulty getting into our practice, and 2. follow-ups, to check how the patient is responding to treatment.

Lastly, we see a good proportion of second opinion surgery cases, and often people have to travel quite a distance to see us, and certainly, now, that is an issue. Regardless, video consultations will give us another way of staying in contact and assessing how the animals are doing.

Q: What’s the average duration of video consultation appointments?

We are running two types of video consultations. The first is follow up consultations, such as post-op checks and routine check-ups. These usually last around 10-minutes. We are also doing first-consults as well, using video as an effective means of triaging patients, to see if they need to come in or if it’s something we can sort during the process of the video consultation.

The video consultations have been particularly useful for those follow-up checks for clients who live some distance from the clinic.

Q: How have you been promoting video consultations?

Largely by social media, and we offer it to clients when they call for appointments. We’ve also advised our team when discharging patients that they can use the video consultations. Appointments are also quickly and easily booked via our website through the Vetstoria widget.

All Paws notice board
A digital leaflet posted on All Paw's Facebook page promoting video consults

Q: How much do you charge for a video consultation?

Same charge as a regular consultation. If we need to see a patient, then there is no additional consultation fee. We are still providing advice, offering options, and treatment advice, and that has the same value either in a face-to-face consultation or via video.

Q: How much revenue has telemedicine helped recover for your practice?

It’s difficult to quantify. Many our clients are on a subscription, which includes their consultation fees so that revenue is consistent. Where we feel it has been vital is allowing us to maintain that income, so it probably accounts for at least 20% of monthly income.

Furthermore, I genuinely feel where video consultations have been successful is in attracting new clients. Clients know now, whatever the restrictions, they can get in touch and see us, and that gives them confidence, and despite these restrictions, we have registered new clients.

Q: What has Vetstoria (Booking & Telemedicine) brought to the practice?

From an operational point of view, it adds another avenue of people being able to reach us and interact with us. Vetstoria Telemedince took minutes to set up and integrated with our PMS seamlessly.

Certainly, the expectations of our clients to use technology to communicate is increasing, and we need to keep ahead of that curve. The more options people have to interact with the clinic, the better bonding we achieve, and that results in a more successful business. It is also an effective way of increasing consultations without the effects of overfilling the waiting room!

From a people point of view, I feel it shows how much we care for the patients, in these challenging times we have bought a service that allows people to see a vet and have their concerns addressed no matter what.

Q: How does Vetstoria Telemedicine compare to others?

The most important aspect of a service is the ease of using it. Vetstoria telemedicine is both easy to set up and use, both for the client and vet. it’s a winner and superior to other solutions we considered.

Q: What would you like the Vetstoria team to do to help? It doesn’t have to be related to telemedicine.

The one thing I have been toying with is thinking about setting up an online ordering system: for flea/wormers/food etc. It can be done, but I found the systems out there are clunky. We strive for efficiency at every level, and any process that could help automate online ordering would be great.

Q: It’s been great to get your insights. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I would like to thank the whole Vetstoria team for responding to the COVID-19 crisis with such haste and efficiency, we really needed the telemedicine facility, and you guys provided it so quickly and effectively. It’s good to know that there are businesses out there that do care about the success and viability of their clients.

About

In 2019, Tim Garran and his partner Aoife opened All Paws Veterinary Clinic, which provides a wide range of animal care including vaccinations, flea, worming, microchips, pet passports, neutering, surgeries, x-rays, blood test and referral surgeries.

Locations

1 Location based in Limerick, Ireland

Practice Type

Independent

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