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Case study: Nelson Bay Vet and their digital assistant 'Vivienne'

7 min read | May 2024 | admin_vvn

What’s it like having AI digital assistant working for your clinic? And what are the benefits you can expect?

In this case study, Nelson Bay Vet in Australia describe why they’re loving their Virtual Vet Nurse, ‘Vivienne’.

Nelson Bay Vet is a relatively new 2-vet, 6-nurse practice located in the beautiful Port Stephens region, NSW, about 2.5 hours north of Sydney. The clinic is a general practice with special interests in integrative medicine, exotics and wildlife. Staff are also trained in FearFree® principles.

Dr Kathryn Stalder (left) is the practice principal and owner, and Shan Rixon is the ICT manager for the practice.

Both doctors have a keen interest in technology innovation, which is what first attracted them to Virtual Vet Nurse. (Prior to gaining her BVSc at Sydney University, Shan was a software engineer).

They saw the potential for conversational AI to streamline workflows and reduce the pressure on clinic staff – as well as making their clients’ lives easier.

“Reducing friction in our clients’ lives is important to us,” says Dr Stalder.

“We know people are busy and often under time pressure, and Virtual Vet Nurse allows our clients to interact with us in a way that suits them.”

Multiple workflows from a single platform

A range of 9+ optional workflows come included in the Virtual Vet Nurse subscription, and Nelson Bay Vet uses almost of all them.

Dr Stalder says this versatility is a major benefit.

There are a lot of single-function veterinary apps and products out there. But rather than buying a bunch of these, we love that Virtual Vet Nurse provides everything from a single platform.

One of Vivienne’s busiest tasks is making straight-to-calendar bookings.

Nelson Bay Vet uses ezyVet as their practice management software. Because Virtual Vet Nurse integrates with ezyVet, clients can make a real-time confirmed booking 24/7 – without having to log-in to a portal.

“The benefit for our clients is that they can make and change appointments whenever they think of it, including after-hours,” says Dr Stalder.

“And the benefit for us is that clients are more likely to schedule and turn up to appointments.”

To learn more about Virtual Vet Nurse automated bookings, check out this blog.

Our front desk staff are freed up to serve the clients in front of them, rather than constantly fielding phone calls.

In another integration, Nelson Bay Vet has recently partnered with Pet PA to offer clients an online shopping option for pet supplies and pharmacy products.

“We’re using Virtual Vet Nurse to increase client uptake of this option,” says Shan.

“It allows us to reduce our inventory, while also giving our clients a cost-effective and timely alternative. We can send scripts directly to Pet PA’s pharmacy for the quickest turnaround time.”

Dr Stalder says Nelson Bay is also working with the Virtual Vet Nurse team on other integration ideas, including one for their VOIP system.

Seamless marketing & promotions

One of the clinic’s favourite jobs for Vivienne is to help with marketing and promotions.

The clinic uses short-codes (or bitly links) which go straight to the relevant conversation with Vivienne.

“When clients see the promotion in their email inbox or on their social media feed, they can simply click a link, be taken to Virtual Vet Nurse and make an appointment,” explains Shan.

“Using short-links enables us to get their client where they want to go.”

This is an example of a monthly promo advertised via social media, with bookings taken by Vivienne:

We love using VVN for promotions. Because Vivienne has all the details, the client doesn’t have to guess about which appointment to book, creating a seamless process.”

Pre-visit & pre-admission surveys

Nelson Bays are also enthusiastic users of the pre-visit and pre-admission history workflow.

Vivienne automatically sends a survey to the client to complete before their appointment. The client’s response is emailed back to the clinic, in an easy-to-read format. It also writes directly to the patient’s records, through the PIMS integration.

This blog tells you more about pre-visit and pre-admission surveys, including examples from other clinics.

Because Nelson Bay Vet is an accredited FearFree® clinic, Vivienne is able to weave this into the pre-visit conversation.

“Including questions about stress and anxiety around vet visits allows us to apply FearFree principles before the client has walked through the door,” says Shan.

“Our clients feel like they’ve had their concerns addressed, and this helps us build trusting relationships.”

Developing new ideas with Virtual Vet Nurse

Some clinics use their VVN as a ‘set and forget’ digital assistant – while others, like Nelson Bay, like to create and develop innovative new ideas in collaboration with the Virtual Vet Nurse team.

“If you want to be innovative with your Virtual Vet Nurse, the options are limitless,” says Shan.

“Think of your VVN as a staff member that needs to be trained, but only once, and then will be able to do that task 24/7! Just be prepared to put some time into testing your new ideas to ensure the client experience is optimised.”

As an early adopter of new technologies, Dr Stalder sums up her experience:

The Virtual Vet Nurse team are responsive and receptive to our suggestions, even though we’re a small practice. This is by far our most rewarding partnership. It’s been so beneficial for our clinic.”

Keen to get your own Virtual Vet Nurse?

Your clinic’s own Virtual Vet Nurse can start work immediately. There’s no minimum term, and the onboarding process is simple.

We invite you to get in touch to find our more, or book a demo.

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