Visiting doctors and veterinarians have been around since the early ages. Back then there were few or no hospitals for patients to visit. When people and animals were sick and needed treatment, a doctor or veterinarian would go to them. As technology and medicine have advanced, hospitals opened and changed this narrative. But, mobile veterinarians are in even more demand now than in the past.
There are numerous reasons why mobile services are requested and convenient, leading to a boom in house call vets in recent years. For some people, bringing a veterinarian to the animal(s) is the only option for care. Farmers, for example, cannot bring their livestock into a general vet clinic easily or at all.
After logistics, one of the main reasons house call visits are prevalent today is convenience. Many pet owners choose to avoid putting their animal into a carrier and driving them to a clinic. This is especially burdensome for anxious pets, cats, or animals that don’t like to be around other pets. It is also very convenient for busy people who do not have time to visit a clinic during the workday. Instead, booking a in-home appointment provides a more convenient option.
Mobile veterinarians enjoy the benefits that a traditional vet and practice may not experience. One example is the ability to develop a more in depth relationship with clients and pets. Visiting the pet in its environment creates a deeper bond with the pet, as it tends to be more relaxed and comfortable at home.
Even with all the benefits of mobile vet care, there are many challenges with opening a house call practice. One such challenge is managing time and travel distances associated with visiting a client. It is easy to want to treat every pet, but it’s important to carefully map out a service area with clear boundaries to avoid driving all over the state. Once the service area is established, it can be difficult to stay within the area and to turn down clients not in that radius.
The next challenge is organizing the schedule to ensure efficient navigation. Mobile vets must attempt to schedule visits in the order of where patients live to reduce travel time. Most house call veterinarians spend several hours each day on the road. With those hours adding up and the cost of gas it’s imperative to maximize the number of appointments, while being conscious of location and avoid zigzagging across a territory.
Another concern for clinics in general, but specifically for mobile vets, is finding quality staff members. As with any practice, the veterinarian does not have enough time to act as the veterinarian, technician, and manager/receptionist all at once. Since mobile vets are constantly driving or in a visit, clients who call looking for an appointment will often get voicemail. It is critical to hire someone to run the front office and alleviate the stress of scheduling every appointment, entering notes from every appointment, and billing clients. That being said, hiring staff to take on these roles can be costly and challenging.
House call vets also run into challenges from clients. In home visits can be more expensive than a traditional clinic due to the increased flexibility and convenience; however, some pet owners are surprised by the increased cost. Having to explain the additional house call fee to clients can be frustrating and add 10-15 minutes to each appointment.
There is a solution to almost every challenge faced by house call practices and Next In Line aims to solve these. Our focus is to help with administrative tasks like scheduling clients, managing appointments and travel distance, and sending appointment reminders. We aim to reduce the burden on staff and the need to hire additional staff, while making things even more convenient for vets and clients.
Next In Line delivers an online booking system that can act as a stand-alone system in certain instances or can sync with practice management systems. This eliminates the back and forth calls, voicemails, and emails between a vet and client.
With administrative and front office tasks reduced to only minutes a day, mobile vets do not need to hire as many staff members to help, saving adequate dollars that can be invested in other areas of their business.
Additionally, Next In Line provides mobile vets the power define a specific service area, specify when they are available in certain neighborhoods, and even limit how far they’d like to travel between each visit. Mobile vets can even see where each appointment is on a given day and map out the ideal routes to avoid traffic. By scheduling appointments in an even more efficient manner, travel time and fuel expenses are drastically reduced.
Finally, some house call practices suffer from last minute cancellations or clients not being present for their appointment. By integrating payment processing into online booking and capturing credit card information, Next In Line provides added insurance to the vet in case a client is unable to keep their appointment. This additional revenue protects a vet and reduces the impact of a lost appointment.
House call veterinarians provide exceptional service to our beloved animals while giving pet owners a convenient option. This type of service has gained popularity in the past few years and the number of mobile vets will continue to increase. Next In Line helps mobile veterinary practices become even more efficient, reduces stress so they can focus on seeing more patients, and helps lower costs and generate more revenue.
To learn more or schedule a demo, contact us today.