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Case study: Oaklands Veterinary Hospital and their AI chatbot Sam.

7 min read | January 2024 | admin_vvn

What’s it like having an AI digital assistant working for your clinic? And what kind of efficiencies can you expect?

In this case study, Oaklands Veterinary Hospital in Canada describe why they’re loving their Virtual Vet Nurse, Sam.

Oaklands Veterinary Hospital is a modern 9-doctor practice, with 8 technicians and 13 support staff. Located in Victoria, BC, they’re a general practice with special interests in orthopedics, dentistry, cardiology and internal medicine.

Dr Joanna Piercy is one of Oaklands’ co-directors and lead veterinarians. She has an interest in technology, and was quick to see the benefits of employing an AI digital assistant.

One platform – multiple workflows

Virtual Vet Nurse can perform a range of workflows – everything from bookings & reminders, to pre-admission surveys, post-op follow-ups, client reviews and more.

Dr Piercy says being able to run everything via a single platform is a major benefit:

We use our Virtual Vet Nurse for booking appointments, pre-appointment history-taking, surgical intake questions, and post-op check-ins. Before VVN, we had 4 separate ways of doing these. Now it’s all streamlined into one tool which integrates with our PIMS.”

As a conversational AI digital assistant, Virtual Vet Nurse is designed to work across multiple touchpoints for the clinic – via the website, email, SMS, text, social platforms and more.

As a cornerstone function, Sam acts as 24/7 digital concierge on Oaklands’ website – answering common questions and guiding clients to info they’re looking for.

Sam provides helpful info on the hospital’s services, pricing, opening hours, after-hours (including instructions & directions), and more.

Dr Piercy says Oaklands’ clients enjoy interacting with Sam, with 90% of user ratings at 4 or 5-star.

Here’s an example of their clients have to say:

Client User Rating: 5/5
Comment: This is an outstanding use of AI. We’ve already been super impressed with your clinic, but this adds an extra shine! Love not having to bother staff to book appointments, and it’s super easy to do it this way!

Straight-to-calendar client bookings

One of Sam’s most valuable tasks is making straight-to-calendar bookings. It’s both convenient for clients, and hands-free for the clinic.

There’s a simple 4-step process which allows Oakland’s clients to book their preferred time, doctor and appointment type. Sam also provides helpful tips and guidance if needed.

Dr Piercy says their clients love the new way of booking:

Booking online is so much easier for clients than it was previously. Before, people had to create an account and log-in. Now they can easily book in with their phones, with no fussing around.”

For the clinic, it also makes for seamless scheduling. They can set their own timetabling and staffing preferences. And with PIMS integration, bookings are synched with the clinic’s calendar in real-time.

As part of the booking process, Oaklands also uses the payments workflow from Virtual Vet Nurse.

“It’s great that Virtual Vet Nurse integrates with our payment system. This means we can request $20 pre-payment from new clients, which helps to minimize no-shows.”

To learn more about the full benefits of Virtual Vet Nurse 24/7 automated bookings, check out this blog.

Pre-visit histories & pre-admission questions

The Oaklands team is also gaining huge benefits from using pre-visit and pre-admission histories.

Sam automatically sends these surveys to clients (either by email or SMS) to complete before they arrive in the clinic. This streamlines the entire process and takes pressure off the front desk.

Dr Piercy is enthusiastic about the benefits:

Surgical intakes are so much faster with the help of Virtual Vet Nurse! We can have up to 12 surgery/dental drop-offs in the first half hour that we’re open, and reception used to be a traffic jam of people checking in alongside first morning clinical appointments. Now our surgery intake can be as quick as a 2-3 minute conversation. Our clients really love not having to stand around for ages answering a million questions when they’re worried about getting to work on time.”  

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

Streamlined post-operative follow-ups

Post-op check-ins are another great workflow that’s automated by Sam, replacing the traditional (and time-consuming) follow-up phone call.

Sam automatically sends a link to the client following each procedure, with a short series of questions, asking how their pet is doing. 

The client’s response is emailed back to the clinic, in an easy-to-read format (as well as automatically writing to the patient’s file).

If there are any issues flagged – or the client requests a call – the team will follow up.

“Our technicians just look through the list and only have to call those who haven’t responded by a certain time, or those who have requested a personal call via Sam,” says Dr Piercy.

She says clients also love the convenience:

Most clients are happy to do post-op follow-ups using Virtual Vet Nurse alone. People are often so busy that they can’t answer their phones when we call anyway, and appreciate the ability to send us a message in their own time.”

Excellent customer support

During the initial onboarding, Dr Piercy liaised with the Virtual Vet Nurse team to customize everything to Oakland’s preferred way of working.

“The Virtual Vet Nurse team were great at helping us personalize Sam’s conversations for our clinic,” she says.

Virtual Vet Nurse requires minimal ongoing maintenance. Each clinic has its own self-service portal, which includes guides, tools and easy-to-follow instructions. For any other tips and advice, the monthly subscription includes free ‘ask us anything’ calls with the Virtual Vet Nurse support team.

Dr Piercy sums up her experience:

“Customer support has been great! The VVN team are always quick to respond.”

Keen to get your own Virtual Vet Nurse? Or like to know more?

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

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

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