Customer Story

Emerson's Green's Productivity Soars with Online Booking and Telemedicine.

With Martin Brice - Vet and Practice Owner at Emerson's Green Veterinary Surgery

Emersons Green Logo

300+

appointments booked

60%

reduction in call volume

Through Vetstoria from 23rd March 2020 to 12th June 2020

Winner of Veterinary Practice of the Year, Emerson's Green Veterinary Surgery in Bristol, UK, is the epitome of uber-modern veterinary practices. Medical expertise and tech-savvy management join forces with the power of Vetstoria to help a happy and fulfilled team provide exceptional pet care.

Winner of Veterinary Practice of the Year, Emerson's Green Veterinary Surgery in Bristol, UK, is the epitome of uber-modern veterinary practices. Medical expertise and tech-savvy management join forces with the power of Vetstoria to help a happy and fulfilled team provide exceptional pet care.

The management deploys technology and delegates jobs innovatively so the staff can enjoy a relatively low-stress working environment with a lot of flexibility. There are many ways a patient is seen and treated, thanks to the use of telemedicine, which helped massively in the COVID-19 environment.

Having recently been acquired by IVC-Evidensia as a result of consistent growth since the practice’s inception by husband and wife team Martin and Louise Brice, Emerson’s Green is an excellent indication of what the future holds for our industry.

The future is here, just not evenly distributed

2020 is forecasted to see a contracted economy running at 90% of its previous capacity, with the 10% loss impacting all sectors including pet care.

However, Emerson’s Green started their year off on a positive note by signing up for Vetstoria’s services, such as online booking and telemedicine.

Vetstoria had been on owner Martin’s mind, but the COVID-19 crisis encouraged him to take decisive action. In March 2020, Emerson’s Green started using Vetstoria for online booking, prescription requests, and video consultations so effectively that they averted the business disaster that many other practices experienced.

To minimize the disruption from social distancing and maximize control with online booking, Martin cleverly hid the online booking widget on the website and utilized targeted booking links as well as the “book on behalf of client” feature for appointments such as on-site (curbside) appointment with video and the fully automated prescription collection.

By adjusting how online booking works for his practice, Martin helped reduce phone calls and automate manual processes to increase operation speed and the productivity of his staff. We spoke to Martin to get an inside look.

A leader who believes in technology and a team that believes in him

Martin trained as a vet surgeon in South Africa and worked intensively in Europe and Oceania. His commitment to investing in training and technology is second to none. When we asked him how his team reacted to the decision on online booking, he said that they were initially skeptical.

Staff concerns were always about accuracy, which turned out to be the least of their worries because it’s always accurate. There’s enough customization to make sure the appointments are correctly booked digitally on Vetstoria, which led to peace-of-mind.

Martin Brice

Martin Brice – Vet & Owner, Emerson’s Green Veterinary Surgery

The phones were crazy!

Even before COVID, a busy phone line had always been a pain when delivering exceptional customer service. The front desk was always overwhelmed with booking inquiries, payments, and in-house customers. For Emerson’s Green, they had another problem: their prescription service was also extremely popular and that used to take up a lot of phone time to arrange.

Taking payment over the phone used to be time-consuming when arranging for the medicine to be picked up. And it got even worse when COVID-19 social distancing measures were imposed. Thankfully, Martin quickly adopted Vetstoria’s online booking system to facilitate medicine pick-ups in an automated way.

The customizations on Vetstoria are extremely powerful. From the type of appointments and the doctor’s preferences to the species, everything works as parameters that determine the best date and time to offer such an appointment as well as the duration for it.

Pet owners are shown the available time-slots which are pulled from the practice’s management system in real-time and booked in real-time. An optional payment feature can be activated if the practice wishes to take payments at the time of booking.

Call volume reduced by 60%

By using Vetstoria’s online booking, Martin was able to configure targeted rules that generate 6-min time-slots at the appropriate times for medicine pick-up. The pet owner picks a time that’s convenient for them, and the PIMS integration means that the receptionist can see what they need to do to prepare for these “medicine pick-up appointments”.

People are booking continuously on Vetstoria. That cut our phone calls by at least 60%. Clients found it very easy to use the digital link to book a collection time themselves. The ease of use just means people are booking things and loving it, and collecting their meds.

Setting medicine pick-up appointments on Vetstoria only takes seconds and there’s so much more I can do with it.

Martin Brice

Martin Brice – Vet & Owner, Emerson’s Green Veterinary Surgery

Vetstoria’s platform works in the background, with no manual intervention needed. The smart platform is also a triage system, so it works like a virtual receptionist. The integration with 20+ practice management systems means that all the appointments are scheduled in real-time, with the practice in full control over what appointments pet owners can book and how far they can book them in advance.

Online booking reduces human error

Martin explains that there is a degree of editing and reconciliation carried out on their practice management system, Merlin, every morning. It’s not unheard of that an appointment is out of place and needs changing. This type of error is a lot less common with online bookings because Vetstoria’s customizations and keyword tracking functionality make the booking process a sufficient triage system.

You can just design it with the algorithms. For example, dentals are 30 mins, and behaviors are 1-hour slots. A receptionist although experienced and well trained can still make human errors given how busy the front desk is all the time. We have an internal traffic light system to help them but mistakes do happen.

The natural inclination is that humans can do it better than a computer. I would say that’s not the case.

Martin Brice

Martin Brice – Vet & Owner, Emerson’s Green Veterinary Surgery

Automation is the future and it’s advantageous

Using an online booking system starts to educate and involve the client in the clinic in a new way. Once they can book appointments themselves, they are open to receiving other self-help procedures digitally, such as digitized claim forms, digitized signatures, online payment, etc.

They engage with the online booking system, which is simple and easy to understand. Therefore, they will be more comfortable with the rest of the stuff we are going to ask them to do. I’ve noticed that people are so willing and so quick to learn when they are presented the option, which is great!

Martin Brice

Martin Brice – Vet & Owner, Emerson’s Green Veterinary Surgery

Telemedicine appointments at £42, clients think it’s great value!

When a pregnant vet was ordered to shield, it did not stop her from providing excellent pet care to Emerson’s Green’s clients. Using Vetstoria’s telemedicine platform, vet Helen was able to conduct most post-op checks and puppy and kitten consultations via Vetstoria. Her personality and her great direction for pet owners to properly use Vetstoria’s camera flip function meant she was able to examine the animal with sufficient visuals.

Helen’s post-consultation report, which is sent to the pet owner after the consultation, also has extraordinary value, which means that the price is justified. Clients can see exactly what the vet thinks and recommends, all responding with praise. Martin explains that a lot of telemedicine appointments are preventative and not physical, which is why this technology will also be actively used in the post-COVID-19 era.

We didn’t have one client, not one, who said it wasn’t value for money.

Martin Brice

Martin Brice – Vet & Owner, Emerson’s Green Veterinary Surgery

NO APP download - Speed is key

Compared to other telemedicine providers on the market, Vetstoria has a considerable advantage: it does not require an app download. Martin has highlighted this as a critical reason why Vetstoria telemedicine is a premier product.

During COVID, speed is extremely important, but if us or the client had to download an app and manually book in appointments and send invitations, it would have slowed down the process even more. I knew we needed speed, so we needed something app-less and continuous, which Vetstoria provided.

The fact that telemedicine appointments get scheduled straight into Merlin through Vetstoria is even more helpful, going forward, it must happen. Otherwise, you are doubling up all the work, and vets spend a lot of time figuring out their diary. It needed to be seamless.

I think that as more and more players come on board, telemedicine will be commonplace. But for us, speed is key, and Vetstoria provides that because there is no app download.

Martin Brice

Martin Brice – Vet & Owner, Emerson’s Green Veterinary Surgery

Unlike other client communication tools on the market, Vetstoria’s telemedicine platform does not require either the pet-owners or the practice to download apps. We know how annoying it is to pack your phone with apps you rarely use, taking up memory and cluttering your home screen.

Telemedicine mobilises staff and offers new experiences

Many believe that telemedicine is just something that was forced into practice because of social distancing. However, if used smartly, it can mobilize nurses and part-time staff and generate new streams of revenue for the business.

A number of clients have said they would book a telemedicine consult with or without the covid19 scenario. If it’s marketed, there’s no reason why telemedicine consults can’t carry on into post-COVID.

In my practice, I would like for telemedicine to become more commonplace, I will be actively advocating for it because it can utilize my staff in a different way. The nurses are doing their telemedicine appointments at home, I don’t have them at the clinic, and that gives them a lot of flexibility.

Martin Brice

Martin Brice – Vet & Owner, Emerson’s Green Veterinary Surgery

One of the innovative ways that Martin has utilized telemedicine is through offering “On-site consultation with Video”. In North America this is referred to as curbside consultation with video.

Due to COVID restrictions, clients are not allowed into the exam room. By offering this type of appointment, even though the pet owner and their pet are separated, they are still connected via video, which gives people a tremendous amount of comfort.

What I wanted was, I can’t invite those clients in, I can’t have that personal service with them, the way to do it is to have seamless good quality stuff. In the clinic, the laptop is there facing the table; people can see their pet which is amazing, because of the number of people who try to interact with their animal while on camera. They love it! 

While the pet is on the table, the kids are hanging over, it’s like they are there. I’ve got loads of clients that say it’s made their experience. If they see their pets given a treat on camera it’s a completely new experience.

Martin Brice

Martin Brice – Vet & Owner, Emerson’s Green Veterinary Surgery

It’s not hard to imagine why Emerson’s Green won Practice of the Year. When you have a team that gets behind its leader who advocates for positive change, you can’t go wrong. Before we let him go, we squeezed in one last question:

How would you describe Vetstoria?

Forward-thinking, full of young, enthusiastic people who really care about the relationship between clients and vets. It comes through; you have a real want to be able to connect these people together.

Martin Brice

Martin Brice – Vet & Owner, Emerson’s Green Veterinary Surgery

About

As previous winners of Veterinary Practice of the Year in 2011, and nominees every year since, Emerson’s Green Veterinary Surgery is a UK-based general companion animal practice.

Locations

1 location based in Bristol, United Kingdom

Practice Type

Part of the IVC-Evidensia Veterinary Group

Practice Management System

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