Pet owners are getting more tech-savvy by the day. The plethora of information available on the internet today only fuels their decision-making further when it comes to placing their trust in a veterinary practitioner.
If you are someone who likes to stay updated on the technology front, you probably already know how important mobile health (mHealth) has become in the current veterinary scenario, especially amid the soaring expectations of pet owners.
One 2019 survey conducted by ResearchGate that was aimed at assessing the importance of mobile apps for veterinarians over a period of one month found that 34 out of the 50 practitioners surveyed felt positive about these apps and thought they were extremely beneficial when it comes to ensuring effective practice management.
In this piece, we try to understand why getting a mobile app developed for your veterinary practice is the need of the hour and how it can help grow your practice in the long run.
1) Mobile Apps can be Leveraged as a Robust Engagement Channel
Now, we all know that creating the ideal patient engagement strategy isn’t so much about the experience alone.
It is more about the clients’ entire journey with your practice- from the moment they discover your practice or it’s initial touch point, to when they seek consultation for the first time, to how you keep them engaged in a way that they choose you over your industry counterparts every time.
As a veterinary practitioner, you need to take a more holistic approach to patient engagement.
Mobile-enabled communication channels such as apps can greatly help you on this front. Infact, a well thought- over and carefully-designed mobile application can make all the difference for your practice since they have been gaining a lot of popularity among care seekers within all healthcare niches.
You can easily boost patient engagement through such apps by furnishing user-friendly features. For one, you can easily make the appointment booking process hassle-free by embedding within it a self-scheduling feature for pet owners.
You can also send personalized follow-up messages, e-prescriptions or treatment/medication reminders in the form of push notifications to your existing clients on the app.
Furthermore, by including a wearable integration feature within your app, you can collect vital health data from a wearable gadget or device on the pet’s body. This can especially be used for remote monitoring in case the animal is suffering with a chronic disease.
Similarly, you can also provide added value to your users by coming up with a ‘blog’ or a ‘question and answer’ section on the app wherein their common queries are resolved.
The easier it is for pet owners to derive value from your offering, the more engaged they’ll end up being. And alas, the more engaged your users are, the more they’ll want to tell others about your practice. This directly contributes toward increasing your practice’s bottomline and growing your patient base in the long run.
2) Mobile Apps can Help Streamline Provider-Patient Communication
Communication is often a complex series of interactions when it comes to veterinary care.
Since our four-legged friends can’t express their problems vocally, it is up to pet parents to be able to effectively communicate and keep in touch with care providers to get their pets the best care possible.
Accurate, clear, and timely communication is very much the key to ameliorating outcomes.
However, the current methods that are used to communicate with patients are highly variable and often antiquated. Traditional processes often exacerbate this, resulting in communication breakdowns throughout the continuum of care.
One 2018 study published by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) that analyzed five years’ worth of survey data shows significant communication gaps between veterinary care teams and their clients.
Mobile apps hold immense potential when it comes to closing the communication gap between care providers and care seekers i.e. the pet parents in this case.
Getting a mobile app developed for your veterinary practice that supports efficient communication channels such as telehealth, photo sharing, chat features, etc can instill within your client base a greater sense of belongingness since they can get in touch with you at any given point in time from the comfort of their homes.
One best practice here would be to store all the patient data from your app on a dedicated cloud server. This boosts interoperability and treatment transparency since your staff, other consulting care providers, or even the pet parents can retrieve that information easily once you’ve authorized them to.
Doing this will not only streamline your communication efforts, it will also take the overall user experience to an altogether different level and attract more patients to your practice in the long run.
3) Mobile Apps can be Used as an Effective Tool to Educate Pet Parents
When it comes to healthcare, patient engagement and patient education often go hand-in-hand, be it any niche.
Education plays an important role in veterinary medicine because our patients aren’t really our primary point of contact, their owners are. The better you can educate an owner on their pet’s condition and what they can do on their part to ensure treatment adherence, the easier it is going to get for you to ensure there are no stones left unturned when it comes to identifying early signs and symptoms within the animal.
Some of the advantages that come alongside enhanced user education in veterinary include:
- Less prescription abandonment due to a better understanding of why the medication is crucial to the pet’s recovery,
- More follow through with treatment plans due to understanding of the pet’s disease/illness,
- Patient education leads to better patient satisfaction scores,
- Educational plans can reduce at least some of the care provider’s liability,
- Greater compliance to treatment plans can lead to an overall reduced cost of care.
Mobile apps can effectively be used as a robust platform to educate pet owners.
You can include all important educational information on the app under a ‘Blog’ section. These blog posts and articles will also get a lot of traffic flowing your way if they are formulated taking into consideration Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices.
It’s a win-win situation for both you and your user base!
All in all, mobile apps, or rather mobile technology in general, can be a powerful tool for a veterinary care provider, irrespective of the size of your business or your existing user base.
Pet parents are always on the lookout for forward thinking leaders and they score highly with the current generation of users. Leveraging this state-of-the-art tech solution can ensure you stay ahead of your industry counterparts and carry out effective practice management.
Integrating mobile apps into your practice doesn’t have to be an extravagant affair either.
There are a lot of custom app development solutions available in the market that will provide you with just the solution you need, in the budget that fits you well.