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VPR Cloud Launches First Compounding Pharmacy Integration

For Immediate Release
Frederick, MD – January 30, 2018

VPR Cloud is pleased to announce its first integration with one of the leading Veterinary Compounding Pharmacies in North America: Diamondback Drugs.

Diamondback Drugs will be integrating VPR Cloud into its premier online prescription platform VetPrescriber.com™. With this integration, Diamondback Drugs will be the only compounding pharmacy with an e-prescribing solution offering a fully integrated drug formulary; VPR Cloud.

VetPrescriber is a prescription portal designed specifically with the veterinarian in mind. It’s web-based and mobile-friendly platform allows veterinarians to focus on patient care and customer service, and decreases errors when compared to faxed or called-in orders.

The integration of VPR Cloud automates the prescription workflow even further from within the VetPrescriber prescription platform. Veterinarians can access pertinent drug information, use the dosage calculator and send the prescription to VetPrescriber all through the automated portal. Having this information readily available will benefit from increased accuracy, improved workflow efficiency, and increased quality assurance and safety. Providing veterinarians and pharmacists with easy access to the latest pertinent and current information regarding the safe use of all medications used in veterinary patients is imperative in today’s veterinary practices. VPR Cloud was created for that reason. It complements this purpose with the ability to check for drug interactions, make drug calculations, and provide the pet owner with a client information sheet that helps them understand how to use the medication.

This helps reduce potentially critical implications that can result from medication errors, and provides the confidence of knowing that the prescription and drug information provided to the customer are accurate.

According to Dr. Teresa Lee Koogler, author of VPR, the integration offers much more than easy access to pertinent, current information about all medications used in veterinary medicine.

“VPR Cloud not only speeds up the entire prescription process, but adds a level of safety to ensure the correct medication and dose is being prescribed,” said Dr. Koogler.

“Risk management is significantly improved in each and every practice using Diamondback Drugs and VetPrescriber for their prescription fulfillment.”

“One of our key initiatives with VetPrescriber is to help reduce prescription errors and aid veterinarians in the prescribing process” said COO Giano Panzarella, PharmD. “The integration of VPR Cloud into VetPrescriber provides our customers powerful tools such as a drug interaction matrix, dosage calculator, and client information sheets. Ultimately, this increases levels of patient care while reducing potentially critical medication errors.”

VPR Cloud and Diamondback Drugs will be exhibiting at the 2018 VMX Conference (formally NAVC) from February 4-7 in Orlando, Florida. To learn more, please stop by the Veterinary Pharmacy Reference booth (4032) or the Diamondback Drugs booth (1412).

About VSA – Veterinary Software Associates LLC:
VSA was founded in 2000 at the beginning of development of VPR Veterinary Pharmacy Reference (legacy version). VSA is a collaboration with BMC Software Associates, a part of Business Management Corporation and Dr. Teresa Lee Koogler DVM, PC in Frederick Maryland. Together we created VPR, an electronic, interactive veterinary drug formulary – the only one of its kind on the market. We provide continual live updates as well as support for this exciting new version of an already invaluable tool for practicing veterinarians. To learn more and sign up for a free trial, please visit us at VPRCloud.com.

About Timeless Veterinary Systems Inc. 
Timeless Veterinary Systems™ is a specialized technology company located on a small island (Prince Edward Island, Canada), made up of a small team of big thinkers. The Timeless team believes in challenging the status quo to develop technologies that raise the bar for veterinary patient care. Each and every product the Timeless team develops is carefully designed with some of the most recognized experts in veterinary medicine to ensure the highest quality possible.

Take a look at the Timeless growing line of products, and you will see the real impact Timeless Veterinary Systems™ is having on veterinary medicine: http://TimelessVeterinary.com.

About Diamondback Drugs.

Scottsdale, Arizona-based Diamondback Drugs is a trusted source for quality veterinary medications since 2001. Protecting patients with quality and reliability is our top priority. Each member of our pharmacy staff is trained and tested to ensure the highest quality standards are met when dispensing every prescription. Diamondback Drugs is a PCAB® accredited veterinary only pharmacy, and offer a variety flavors, formulations, and customized dosing to meet the needs of any animal. Learn more about Diamondback Drugs at http://www.diamondbackdrugs.com/ or call direct at 866-578-4420.

For more information please visit DiamondbackDrugs.com.

VetPrescriber customers will have instant access to the integrated features of VPR Cloud directly from their VetPrescriber account when ordering an Rx. To provide an added benefit to VetPrescriber customers to enhance the prescription pre-ordering process, VPR Cloud and Diamondback Drugs are offering a no-strings-attached 60-day free trial to VPR Cloud by signing up at VPRCloud.com. For more information or to request an online demo please email sales@VPRCloud.com.

VPR Cloud Inquiries, please contact:
Norm Bryenton
Vice President

Email: nbryenton@timelessveterinary.com

Tel: 855-247-2327 x7049

VetPrescriber inquiries, please contact:

Giano Panzarella, PharmD
Chief Operations Officer

Email: G@DiamondbackDrugs.com

Tel: 866-646-2223 x202

Four Tips for Managing Stress as a Veterinarian

Do you ever find yourself wondering how it’s possible to love your job yet feel so stressed at the same time? While you’re passionate about being a veterinarian and caring for animals, it may feel like as time goes on the stress of your job is taking a toll on you. Your day is a whirlwind of seeing patients, pet emergencies, doing paperwork and running your practice, all of which cause you to leave work at the end of the day feeling exhausted and worn out.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone! In fact, it’s common for vets to experience stress in their jobs. If stress is left unmanaged or avoided, you’re likely to experience job burnout, and it’s possible to fall into poor methods of coping like eating unhealthy foods as a comfort, excessive drinking or taking your frustration out on others.

It’s important to pinpoint what’s causing your stress so you can take steps to reduce and manage it. Take a minute to reflect on your typical day and what’s contributing to your stress. Is it the physical fatigue of long days, challenge of managing and growing your practice or simply the emotional difficulty of making hard decisions about the lives of animals?

While you’ll never be able to totally escape the unique demands and challenges of your job, there are several practical ways you can reduce and manage your stress.

Plan Ways to Unwind During and at the End of a Stressful Day

Achieving a healthy work-life balance as a vet can be challenging. We get it, being a vet is a big part of your life, but you’re also a person who needs a separate personal life. It’s vital to establish clear boundaries when you’re on the job and when you’re off.

If possible, take a break during the middle of your day to either have lunch out of the office or go for a walk. The change of scenery will help take your mind off work for a little and help you feel more energized to return for the rest of your day.

Likewise, it’s important to plan something rewarding at the end of your day or find an activity after work that will help you unwind and take a mental break. This could be exercising, reading, watching a TV show or simply spending time with your family.

The American Veterinary Medicine Association provides vets additional ways to disconnect from work, like avoiding checking email when you’re home with your family. Otherwise, your personal time isn’t yours at all. Totally being able to switch your focus from work can help you relax and rejuvenate after a long day at the office.

Delegating to Others So You Can Focus on Your Responsibilities

Depending on how many people work at your practice, it’s possible you’re stressed from taking on too many responsibilities. You may notice yourself getting wrapped up in administrative duties, trying to handle finances, HR issues, or marketing, in addition to treating your patients. While it’s important for you to have a level of control over these areas of your business, it can be overwhelming to have your hands in too many things.

Hiring and training trustworthy employees who perform well in their roles will help you focus on your own responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to delegate appropriate tasks to your office administrator or vet tech that are taking up too much of your time. While there are several things to keep in mind when hiring a vet tech, look for employees who are able to independently handle responsibilities and perform quality work. By hiring star employees, you’ll feel more relaxed letting them do their job so you can focus on yours.

Be Willing to Open Up About Your Stress

When you have pent-up frustration over your job, sometimes the best way to begin dealing with a problem is to confide in an understanding friend or family member. Other people can often help you process stressful situations at work and help figure out approaches to dealing with them.

If your stress begins to develop into severe anxiety or depression, it’s helpful and necessary to seek professional help. There is no shame in seeking professional counseling to help deal with your stress. It’s not only important to maintain physical health, but mental health as well. By being proactive about this, you can prevent more serious mental health issues from arising.

Improve Your Time Management

Many vets experience stress due to the busy nature of the job, having to work long days and deal with unpredictable emergencies. While this aspect may never change, learning to have better time management can help.

There are many ways to improve your time management, and one of the most helpful ways is to make sure you schedule buffer time in between appointments to allow you to catch your breath. If your day is jam-packed with patients, you probably feel exhausted when it’s time to go home. If you purposefully schedule this buffer time, you’ll have more clarity and focus to give to each of your patients.

Another tip is to schedule time for unexpected emergencies. Sounds impossible, right? But chances are you’re familiar with different types of pet emergencies that often take place. By designating time in your day, maybe an open appointment time in the morning and one in the afternoon, you won’t feel overloaded because you’ve already designated this time in your schedule.

Another way to save time and reduce stress? Use VPR Cloud.

At VPR Cloud, we understand the stressful challenges that come with being a vet. That’s why we created VPR Cloud – a tool created by veterinarians, for veterinarians.

VPR Cloud includes an easy-to-use veterinary drug index and dosage calculator that’s accessible on any browser and device. You can store information about each animal you treat, allowing you to track current and previous prescriptions. Save time by being able to print or email clients an information sheet detailing accurate information about their pets’ medications.

Reach out to us for a free trial to experience how VPR Cloud can help make your day a little less stressful.

Why Veterinarians Need More Than the Plumb’s Handbook

Veterinarians are busy; it’s a fact of the trade. But, in today’s digital age, there are a multitude of tools available to make the day-to-day tasks of veterinary work quicker and more efficient. One aspect of veterinary practice that the digital age has undeniably improved is the veterinary drug reference.

The Benefit of a Digital Formulary

Before digital, of course, there was the Plumb’s handbook.

Or, perhaps more accurately, there was a handbook when you could find it. Most of the time, it seemed like the book was in another drawer, or another room, or another dimension (probably the same one as your old keychain and a lot of missing socks).

Then, if you could find the book in any semblance of a timely manner, you’d need to leaf through it – flip, flip, flip – until you found the page with the right drug, then – flip, flip, flip – until you could find an alternative drug to avoid harmful interactions.

Whew.

Flipping complete, you next had to find the calculator to determine dosage – which, naturally, also tended to be in that missing sock dimension.

You get the idea. Identifying drug interactions and determining appropriate dosages was somewhat less than efficient.

Today, with digital drug references, that’s changed; the process is much quicker.

Why VPR Cloud is the Digital Drug Reference You’ve been Looking For

No longer are veterinarians required to undergo the stress that comes with misplaced handbooks and copious page flipping; digital drug references have introduced a new level of efficiency.

It used to be that the Plumb’s handbook was just about the only method for referencing drug interactions. Today, though, there are online alternatives. Plumb’s, for instance, has converted their familiar handbook to app form, and there are a variety of other digital alternatives. 

But, for the myriad of drug reference options now available, there’s only one digital drug reference that’s made by vets, for vets: VPR Cloud.

Here’s what makes VPR Cloud a Plumb’s alternative worth choosing.

VPR Cloud Has More of the Information That Matters

Instead of bombarding busy veterinarians with all potential information about a drug – technical summaries, trial information, etc. – VPR Cloud is focused on the information that’s most important to veterinary practitioners: prescriptive information, dosage information, and interactions.

Alternatively, Plumb’s, while thorough, is less focused, with pages of information provided that may or may not be pertinent to a veterinarian.

Patient Info Auto-Populates on Integrated Practice Management Software

VPR is the only reference that’s able to integrate with Practice Management Software – and its integrations make veterinary tasks much more efficient.

When you use VPR Cloud, it’s easy to pull up a list of drug categories based on type, generic drug name, or even brand drug name. With the click of a button, you can pull up a dosage calculator – and, if you’re using VPR Cloud on integrated Practice Management Software, the prescription information you’re seeking will even be auto-populated for you (so you’ll know that your patient needs half a tablet instead of the full dose right away, for example).

With Practice Management Software integration, you don’t need to re-enter the patient’s information each time.

Plumb’s doesn’t do that.

A Drug Interaction Matrix Provides All the Information on Interactions You’ll Need

You can enter as many drugs as you want to, and, when you search, you’ll be given all potential interactions. For example, if two drugs each increase the risk of kidney damage, you’ll be able to identify if using them in combination makes risk higher.

Alternatively, Plumb’s, while offering the interactions affected by a single drug, doesn’t provide the ability to check combinations of drugs in a comprehensive way.

VPR Cloud Improves Client Communication

Finally, VPR Cloud offers printable client information sheets specifically designed to facilitate veterinarian-client communication and increase the efficacy of treatment. Sheets include the purpose of the drug, its potential side effects, instructions for treatment, and calming statements (similar in effect to: “Every drug can potentially cause side effects, and the side effects listed here, while possible, occur only rarely.”). Each of these informative components contributes toward patient care being administered as effectively as possible.

Plumb’s, alternatively, does offer some client information sheets, but they tend to be limited in information and don’t cover all drugs.

If You’re Looking for a Plumb’s Alternative, Take a Look at VPRCloud

Digital drug references have undoubtedly helped with efficiency – and, if you’re looking for peak efficiency, take a look at VPRCloud.

As a Plumb’s alternative, VPRCloud offers a host of benefits and a complete set of features that make drug references and dosage calculations easier and more accurate than ever.

If you’re a busy veterinarian, it’s time to recapture your time. Sign up for a free trial of VPRCloud today.

Top 5 Veterinary Drug Interactions to Consider in 2018

No matter what 2018 holds, one thing’s for certain: the number of veterinary drug interactions that veterinarians need to consider will only increase.

That’s because there are constantly new drugs hitting the market, new studies being undertaken, and new interactions being discovered. Experts say that the cumulative sum of human knowledge doubles every year or so. Whether or not that’s true, few veterinarians would dispute that the amount of information required for the job seems to constantly increase.

Put another way: there’s a lot to remember.

Don’t be overwhelmed, though. It’s true that, in 2018, veterinary drug interactions will increase in number and complexity. But, using smarter tools can ease the unsustainable burden of memorization.

That’s where VPRCloud comes in.

For now, let’s narrow our field of vision down to the interactions of these five drugs. Here are 5 veterinary drug interactions worth considering in 2018.

1. Marbofloxacin

May interact with: antacids, sucralfate, theophylline, probenecid, aminoglycosides, third generation cephalosporins, extended-spectrum penicillin, clindamycin, nitrofurantoin and cyclosporin.

Marbofloxacin is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic commonly prescribed to treat bacterial infections in animals. It’s often used to treat skin infections, respiratory infections, and urinary tract infections in both dogs and cats.

Aside from the effects of veterinary drug interactions, it may also cause potential side effects including vomiting, diarrhea, and a loss of appetite.

It is also not recommended for young animals, because it can increase the risk of a cartilage injury.

2. Cisapride

May interact with: vitamins and supplements, anticholinergic agents (atropine), cimetidine, ranitidine, anticoagulants, benzodiazepine tranquilizers (such as diazepam [Valium]), ketoconazole, IV miconazole, itraconazole, or troleandomycin, any antibiotics, or antihistamines.

Cisapride is commonly prescribed to stimulate the movement of food through the digestive tract, to treat reflux and enlargement of the esophagus. It may also be used to treat chronic constipation or enlargement of the colon.

Interestingly, the human version of the drug is no longer available in the United States. But, veterinary forms are still in use.

Aside from the effects of veterinary drug interactions, Cisapride may also cause side effects including diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

It is not recommended for pregnant animals.

3. Maropitant Citrate

May interact with: drugs that are highly protein-bound such as phenobarbital, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and thyroid hormone supplements.

Maropitant citrate is a common medication for suppressing vomiting in dogs. Often, it’s prescribed to relieve motion sickness or to relieve the symptoms of stomach and intestinal problems, infections, or pancreatitis.

While it is a relatively benign drug in terms of potential interactions, it’s important to avoid interactions with highly protein-bound drugs, among others.

Generally, maropitant citrate has few side effects without drug interactions; it may sometimes increase drooling, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or drowsiness. However, these reactions are uncommon.

It is not recommended for pregnant animals.

4. Alprazolam

May interact with: vitamins, supplements, cimetidine, erythromycin, isoniazid, ketoconazole, propranolol, and valproic acid, or other central nervous system depressants (e.g., narcotics, barbiturates), digoxin, and rifampin.

Alprazolam is the veterinary variant of the human drug Xanax. It’s used to treat behavior disorders in cats and dogs – most often, those behaviors associated with high levels of anxiety.

Most commonly, the side effects associated with alprazolam are increased drowsiness or sedation. However, rarely, other behavioral changes can occur (such as over excitement or increased aggression).

Alprazolam is not recommended for pregnant animals.

5. Benazepril

May interact with: vitamins and supplements, diuretics (e.g. Lasix, Salix), other vasodilators, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) e.g., aspirin, etodolac (EtoGesic), carprofen (Novox or Rimadyl), meloxicam (Metacam, firocoxib (Previcox), tepoxalin (Zubrin), or deracoxib (Deramaxx).

Benazepril is an ACE inhibitor, primarily used to treat conditions such as heart failure and high blood pressure by dilating veins and decreasing fluid retention in animals. It may also be used to treat some forms of kidney disease in dogs and cats.

Aside from veterinary drug interactions, side effects may include lack of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Rarely, benazepril may cause low blood pressure or abnormally high potassium levels. In general, side effects from benazepril are uncommon.

It should be used with caution in animals with very low blood sodium levels, and it’s not for use in animals with lupus or blood abnormalities, pregnant animals, or animals with liver disease.

A Better Way to Remember Veterinary Drug Interactions

If you can remember the interactions of these five drugs in 2018, you’ll be off to a good start. But even that may be a tall task, unless you’re gifted with a photographic memory.

Fortunately, there’s a better way to access veterinary drug interaction knowledge: VPR Cloud.

VPR Cloud is an online and comprehensive veterinary pharmacy reference that provides constantly updated drug information. No matter what changes occur in 2018, VPR Cloud allows veterinarians to stay updated on all of the potential and major veterinary drug interactions with each prescription.

It even provides printable client information sheets, to make passing knowledge onto the client as easy as possible, too.

The amount of veterinary information that veterinarians need to know will only increase. In 2018, there will certainly be new veterinary drug interactions to consider. Fortunately, veterinarians can rest easy, knowing that the burden of memorization is unnecessary thanks to VPRCloud.

Get in touch to start your free trial today.

Why Empathy Matters for Veterinarians

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

In modern life, empathy has become something of a buzzword – a concept readily thrown around in business circles, job interviews, or passing personal advice. It’d be good if more people were empathetic, wouldn’t it? It’d be good if people took the time to understand one another, to listen, and to place themselves in unfamiliar shoes. It’d be good if you were more empathetic. Wouldn’t it?

Yes, it’d be good. And many times, that’s where the conversation stops. Because empathy, like many things, is easier said than done.

As a veterinarian, you can’t afford to let the conversation end there.

Your job requires practical empathy, not just lip service. It requires stepping into the stories of your clients and patients each day. Practicing empathy is an integral part of providing good veterinary care.

Let’s take a look at why that’s the case – and see how, as a veterinarian, you can become better at practical empathy.

Empathy Matters in Client Communication

Communication is perhaps the most obvious area that empathy impacts in the life of a veterinarian.

To be able to communicate at all, a basic level of understanding is necessary. That’s why communicating with someone who speaks another language is so difficult – there is no basic shared understanding of meaning.

Ease of communication increases as understanding increases (interestingly, the inverse is true, too). That’s why communication is easiest with your best friends and family members – because you have the greatest understanding of their meaning and context.

Again, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. That understanding enhances communication.

So, what does that look like practically for veterinarians?

Well, any given day, you witness a variety of creatures and characters passing through your office. Some clients may have been coming to you for years; some may have never been to see you before. Every one requires your empathy.

Is an older woman actively angered by the treatment options you’re suggesting for her boxer mix? Her dog may be her best companion in the absence of her husband.

Is a young couple at odds with each other over how to treat their older cat? Perhaps the wife brought the pet into the relationship, and is more emotionally invested in its wellbeing.

Is a fifty-something man being belligerent at the prospect of euthanizing his rabbit? It may have been his daughter’s best friend when she was a child.

Understanding each story will undoubtedly shape your communication with each client.

An understanding of others’ feelings makes communication easier. So, practically, as a veterinarian, make an effort to understand your clients and patients more fully by asking questions and showing patience. Ask about the relationships your clients have with their pets; ask about the history behind each patient.

Show patience when they don’t answer (don’t push them to if they’d rather not), and do your best to understand their stories when they do. And make notes as you learn. Share your knowledge with your staff, so that they’ll have access to the full context for each client, too.

You’ll be able to communicate with people more easily, because you’ll have a greater understanding of where they’re coming from.

Empathy Matters in Treatment

Believe it or not, empathy also matters for veterinarians as they’re considering treatment options.

No, empathy doesn’t impact the medical reality of a situation. If a dog has osteosarcoma, or if a cat has diabetes, empathy will not alter the symptoms and science inherent to the condition.

But, empathy may impact your understanding of how a disease should be treated.

For instance, if you understand the value that an older woman places on her dog, you may recommend a more aggressive treatment plan. If you know that a young couple is divided over the treatment of a pet, you may be able to offer an option that balances budget and health needs. If you understand what a rabbit means to a middle-aged man, you may be able to offer ways to ease its pain for a final goodbye.

Empathy doesn’t change the facts of a medical condition. But it may change how we react to those facts. Ultimately, empathy will enable you to offer the best treatment option possible for each situation.

Empathy Matters in Our Stories as Veterinarians

Admittedly, this sounds a bit touchy-feely. Okay, so empathy matters in stories. But what does that mean, exactly?

Stories are an important framework for understanding – and we’ve already mentioned how important understanding is in facilitating communication, among other things

Empathy is a tool to enter into the stories of others. And that’s essential for the mental well-being of veterinarians.

Veterinary work is uniquely stressful; it’s well noted that veterinarians are more likely to experience depression and other forms of mental struggles than people in other professions. Empathy provides us with a framework to understand and help people and animals; a framework to both feel the stories of others and better serve their needs, and to acknowledge that their stories are not our own.

For veterinarians dealing with difficult emotions every day, that distinction is an important one to make for mental wellbeing. Empathy helps.

The practical takeaway?

Focus on the ways that your work as a veterinarian matters – through a journal, if possible, or even in conversations with a professional therapist. Acknowledge the people and animals that you have influenced through your treatment. And acknowledge that, while your own story is impacted by your work, it is distinct from it, too.

You Can Become a Better Veterinarian

Empathy is one of the key traits of great veterinarians. At VPR, Our goal is to help veterinarians be their best. That’s why we’ve created VPR Cloud.

VPR Cloud is the only veterinary reference built by veterinarians, for veterinarians. It’s a dependable, easy-to-use drug reference that makes providing high-quality care easier. You’ll be able to confidently prescribe medication accurately, and you’ll save time that you would have spent manually referencing a drug index.

Try a free trial today.

At the end of the day, that means that you’ll be able to do your job as a veterinarian better than before.

And, it means you’ll have more time and energy to dedicate to practical empathy.

Time Management for Busy Veterinarians

Time waits for no one, but it runs right by busy veterinarians.

It’s a common theme: it can be difficult for busy veterinarians to find the hours in the day to get everything done. There is, of course, always something else that needs doing – whether that’s an emergency appointment, a bit of pressing office organization, or the completion of that miscellaneous paperwork you’ve been putting off.

If you’re feeling stressed by time management as a veterinarian, we have a few words of encouragement.

First of all: you are not alone. Many veterinarians (and people in general) are in the same busy boat.

Second (and this is important): you can improve. You can get better at time management and recapture the time you need to restore your sanity.

Yes, veterinary practices are subject to unique and sometimes unpredictable time demands. But, these time management tips can help make those demands more feasible.

So, let’s dive in. Here are seven time management tips for busy veterinarians.

1. Get eight hours of sleep

Let’s start with the basics: get the right amount of sleep. For most people, that means getting a solid seven-to-eight hours each night.

Now, it’s true that some nights this won’t be possible. And, yes, it’s okay if you occasionally need to pull a late night based on unexpected circumstances. But a lack of sleep should be the exception and not the rule.

Getting adequate sleep is proven to improve your productivity – which means that sacrificing sleep to get things done is actually counterproductive. Furthermore, getting the right amount of sleep will boost your mood – so you’ll be less irritable and in a better position to deal with any stressors that come about during your busy day of practicing.

2. Schedule buffer time

For veterinarians, this tip can seem difficult to carry out. Scheduling buffer time feels impossible; after all, there already isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done, and you have a list of appointments a mile long. Where will the buffer time come from?

Here’s the truth, though: we need buffer time. As much as you may want to, you can’t bounce from appointment to appointment and task to task without any time to stop and breathe.

In fact, if you try to do so, you’ll likely end up making mistakes – and that’ll mean you’ll spend valuable time working to correct things you’ve already done.

Buffer time ensures that you’re providing each patient with the optimal level of care and attention. Remember, it’s important to celebrate the value of each animal you treat, instead of viewing each appointment as one more box to check in a day full of them.

So, try scheduling one or two fewer appointments each day, and give yourself room to breathe, center yourself, and focus on doing your best work.

3. Plan for emergencies

Along the lines of scheduling personal buffer time between tasks, it can be helpful for busy veterinarians to add buffer time for emergency situations.

The thing about emergencies, of course, is that they’re never planned. You never know when a distressed client will require consolation, when a vet tech will require immediate assistance, or when a patient with what was suspected to be a minor issue will necessitate urgent and immediate care.

But, even if you can’t predict what form an emergency will take, you can plan for its occurrence. The truth is that, over time, you’ve probably gained a familiarity with different types of emergency events that take place in your veterinary practice – so, set things up as if you’ll be dealing with those issues each day. Don’t be caught off guard.

By designating time in your day for emergencies, you won’t feel overloaded when one occurs. And, if it doesn’t, you’ll be able to get ahead on any tasks you have coming up.

Failing to plan for emergencies, on the other hand, will always leave you scrambling.

4. Delegate tasks

It’s redundant, but true: people who are too busy are doing too much.

As we’ve mentioned, reducing the amount of appointments and tasks on your schedule and adding buffer times is one way to reduce the amount of work for busy veterinarians. Another way? Task delegation.

Many veterinarians feel an obligation to have a hand in everything that goes on at their practice. It’s understandable, but it’s harmful in the long run. You only have so many hands, after all.

The most effective veterinarians are the ones who’ve learned how to delegate tasks to the appropriate people. They trust their office administrator to manage paperwork; they trust their vet techs to perform technical tasks. Of course, the reason that they trust their staff is because they’ve hired well.

Delegating takes unnecessary work off of a veterinarian’s plate, and allows for more time to actually serve clients and patients.

5. Set expectations

Setting expectations is another important aspect of time management for veterinarians.

This cuts many ways: it means setting clear expectations for veterinary staff in their roles so that they can have a clear idea of what they’re expected to accomplish, and you can have a clear idea of what will get done.

And, it means setting expectations for clients as they schedule appointments. Before they come in, they should ideally know what to expect: how long they’ll wait (hopefully not long), what their appointment will entail, and how long it’ll last. If you, as a veterinarian, establish a precedent of long appointments with a client, you will always have long appointments. They’ll come to expect that from you.

So, make your expectations for your work clear upfront. Perhaps have your receptionists incorporate expectations into their scheduling conversations – certainly incorporate expectations into your printed materials and online presence.

Clear expectations will help you stick to your schedule by removing time-consuming ambiguity.

6. Work Smarter, Not Harder

A final time management tip: work smarter, not harder.

Yes, this is a bit of cliché, but it’s a valuable mental framework to work under. Busyness doesn’t always mean that you’re getting the most done, and hard work isn’t always good work.

So, don’t robotically perform a list of tasks; actively consider each task and look for ways to make your work more efficient.

This may mean streamlining your paperwork process. It may mean offering a certain treatment plan for a patient. It will almost definitely mean finding ways to intelligently incorporate technology into your veterinary practice.

One way to work smarter? Use VPR Cloud.

VPR Cloud allows you to store information about every animal you treat, so you’ll easily be able to track current and previous prescriptions. You can save time on administrative elements, instead of spending time manually referencing a drug index. And, VPR Cloud allows you to easily provide your client with an information sheet, featuring the most current accurate information about the medications you may be prescribing.

VPR Cloud can help you to facilitate great communication. And, it’ll save you valuable time in the process.

Start Working Smarter Today

If you’re a veterinarian, you are, by definition, busy. But that’s no excuse to let time run by you. You can improve your time management skills and recapture the day. And, doing that will make you an even better veterinarian.

You’ve got this.

If you’re interested in finding out how VPR Cloud can save you even more time, get in touch with us to request a free trial.

How to Handle a Nervous Pet

The German shepherd wedges itself into the corner, growling nervously in fear.

The owner is nervous, herself. “He’s not always like this,” she says apologetically. “I don’t know why he’s being so aggressive.” She sighs.

“I guess he must not like going to the vet.”

It’s a scene stereotypically associated with veterinary visits, and not without reason. Many animals (and their owners) are nervous when they visit veterinary offices. They’re in an unfamiliar place; they’re surrounded by creatures they don’t know; sometimes, they’re subjected to things they don’t like.

For veterinarians, dealing with nervous animals is a common occurrence and a necessary skill. If you can win the friendship of an animal, you often win the approval of their owner – and you establish an easier path to good care.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few tips to help you handle nervous pets.

 

  1. Use Treats Effectively

The quickest path to someone’s heart is through their stomach. It’s true for many people; it’s true for animals, too. There’s no denying the efficacy of treats in winning over a nervous animal’s affection.

There’s a bit of subtlety to offering treats correctly, though.

Use treats to establish trust.

You can offer treats at the beginning of the interaction. Coupled with approachable body language, treats can break down barriers in a nervous pet.

Don’t use treats to reward bad behavior.

Establishing friendship is good, but you don’t want to reward bad behavior every time it happens. Doing that will only enforce it – so, you may want to refrain from offering a treat each time an animal whines.

Use treats as a distraction.

Offering a pet a treat before an unpleasant activity (like a shot) can provide a helpful distraction and keep the pet content. You may consider a particularly crunchy or chewy treat for a larger dog. Or, if that doesn’t seem appealing, putting a gel-based treat on the nose of a pet can keep them occupied, too.

Don’t use treats without an understanding of the medical situation.

Of course, you don’t want to use treats if they’ll be harmful to an animal – if a cat has diabetes, or if a dog has an allergy to a certain type of food. That’s nearly a given, of course, but it’s always worth remembering. Make sure to be aware of the medical profile of your patient before offering them a treat.

 

  1. Develop the Right Actions and Mannerisms

Of course, treats are just one route to easing the nerves of an anxious animal. And the effects can wear off quickly when the treats are gone. That’s why veterinarians need to work on developing approachable, friendly mannerisms and acting appropriately based on the situation.

There are many tricks of the trade, and each isn’t always appropriate for every animal in every situation. But, these tend to be effective:

Squat to get on the pet’s level when greeting them. This will make you less intimidating, and give you the ability to maneuver more than a sitting position allows.

Don’t put large dogs on the table if you don’t need to. Veterinary tables are unfamiliar places for pets. They generally aren’t used to being that exposed, or to being that tall in relation to humans. That can make them fearful; so, don’t put them on the table if you can treat them on the floor.

Sometimes, though, putting a pet on the table can get them out of their comfort zone and actually make them easier to deal with. Read the pet, and use the table appropriately.

Keep the owner in the room. Most often, pets are comforted by the presence of their owner in the room. So, don’t send them out unnecessarily.

However, some pets may be calmer in the owner’s absence – either because the owners are anxious themselves, or because the pets feel the confidence to be aggressive when the owners are in the room. Again, let the situation dictate your actions.

 

  1. Make the Waiting Room Friendly

Sometimes, the nervousness in an animal isn’t the result of anything happening in the exam room. Instead, it’s a byproduct of an unpleasant waiting room experience.

If your waiting room is crowded with various types of pets, and if your patients are waiting a substantial amount of time to be seen, you may need to take action to make the situation less stressful.

Consider moving certain patients (overly-friendly dogs or frightened cats) into rooms a bit sooner than you otherwise would. Better to have a patient secluded in the exam room for fifteen extra minutes then to have a crowded, anxiety-inducing waiting room.

If long waits and crowds of patients are the norm more than the exception in your office waiting room, you’ll want to take the steps to reduce wait times. Either way, it’s important to be aware of the ways in which your waiting room may contribute to the nerves of your patients.

 

  1. Normalize Your Office with Routines

Finally, a great way to reduce animal anxiety is to establish your office as a safe place by encouraging routines.

For many pets, the veterinary office is a place that’s only associated with negative things. Going to the veterinarian means feeling uncomfortable, or getting a shot, or being around strange animals and people.

In fact, many pets even associate cars with unpleasant circumstances, because they only get in the car to go to the vet. If that’s the case, your patients are getting nervous before they even start the journey to your office.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. It may be helpful for your clients to introduce their pets to the car in other contexts – so, encourage them to bring their animal along for a road trip, or on a trip to a friend’s (but also make sure that they understand the dangers of leaving their pet unattended in a hot car).

And, you can even encourage your clients to bring their pets in just to say hi! If your patients are stopping by when they’re not sick to receive treats and friendly attention, they’ll be much less nervous in your office during actual appointments.

“Going to the vet” doesn’t have to be negative – it can be part of a positive, normal routine.

Make Friends With Your Patients

The checkup is over, and the owner is visibly relieved.

“You really were able to calm him down,” she says. The German shepherd wags its tail in agreement and nuzzles your hand.

The owner smiles. “In fact, it looks like you’ve got a new best friend.”

As a veterinarian, you win the hearts of owners and pets alike by improving your ability to calm nervous animals. Hopefully, these tips will help!

Want to become a great veterinarian? At VPR, we strive to help veterinarians work as effectively as possible. That’s why we’ve created VPR Cloud.

VPR Cloud is the only veterinary reference built by veterinarians, for veterinarians. It’s a dependable, easy-to-use drug reference that makes providing high-quality care easier.

You can store information about every animal you treat, so you’ll easily be able to track current and previous prescriptions (and keep track of the animals that can or can’t have treats).

You can save time on administrative elements, instead of spending time manually referencing a drug index. And, VPR Cloud allows you to easily provide your client with an information sheet, featuring the most current accurate information about the medications you may be prescribing.

VPR Cloud will cut administrative time, allowing you to focus more time on calming nervous pets.

Get in touch with us online to find out how VPR Cloud can help you.

5 Tips for Becoming a Better Leader in Your Veterinary Office

The best veterinarians are often great leaders.

That’s because a veterinary office, just like any other organization, benefits from good leadership. From clients to pets to staff, each office has a myriad of moving parts – and a good leader is often the key to making sure everything runs smoothly.

That can be intimidating to some veterinarians; it may be intimidating to you. What if you don’t feel like a natural leader? What if your skills and talents don’t fit into your preconceptions of what leadership means?

Don’t be discouraged. Yes, leadership is something that comes more naturally to some people than others. But, the good news is that leadership skills can be learned, honed, and improved. And, there are different styles of leadership – so you can learn to play to your strengths.

As a veterinarian, you’re called to a leadership role.

Whether that comes naturally or through hard work, you can succeed and grow as a leader. As a veterinarian, you’ll need to.

Here are a few tips to help.

Show Empathy

Empathy: it’s the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It’s also one of the most important characteristics of a good leader.

There’s a wealth of research around the importance of empathy in leadership. It all boils down to this: people are more likely to be satisfied, productive, and passionate if they believe that their feelings and needs are understood and valued. People are more likely to be dissatisfied if they feel like they are only viewed as a means to an end.

For veterinarians, that means treating each client and pet with obvious care and special focus, instead of falling into a routinized pattern that leaves visitors feeling like one more numbered appointment in a busy day. It means listening to the needs of staff, valuing their opinions, and being accommodating and understanding of the stresses that their jobs entail, instead of viewing them as cogs that keep the office machine running.

At the end of the day, it’s easier to pay lip service to empathy than it is to practice it. That’s especially true when you’re stressed out and tired yourself. But, don’t give up. Practice makes perfect – and empathy makes a good leader.

Set an Example

Good leaders are good at empathy and understanding, but they don’t stop there: they take action. Leadership means setting an example.

Good leaders don’t sit back and rest while expecting others to work hard. They jump into the work with others; they put in the effort they’d like to see from others; they hold themselves to the standards they expect from others.

It’s nearly cliché, but it’s no less true today than it was when Gandhi first spoke it: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Don’t be a leader that talks a good game but never gets off the bench. Great leadership starts with an active example for others to follow.

Take Charge of Problems

This is in the vein of leading by example, but it’s a bit more tactical: take charge of problems.

As a veterinarian, that’s what you’ve signed up for. Whether you’re needed to diagnose and provide care for a sick pet, or to offer support to your staff when they encounter obstacles, you’re called to solve problems in your office.

For example, if your veterinary technician is attempting to explain the take-home instructions for medication and care and is being met with resistance from the client, you need to take charge and step in. Offer more information, clarify the situation, etc. – just don’t leave your veterinary technician dealing with the situation alone.

Leaders don’t leave others to solve problems.

Problems will come up – most days have many. When they arise, it’s your responsibility as a veterinarian and as a leader to take charge and lead the way toward a resolution.

Learn to Communicate Well

The ability to communicate well is valuable in any context. In a veterinary office, it’s particularly valuable.

Great communication builds relationships; it overcomes potential conflicts; it helps to facilitate outstanding patient care. As a veterinarian, you need to be able to communicate well with clients, both to make them feel valued and cared for, and to ensure that they understand what is needed to care for their pets.

You also need to be able to communicate well with your team – to tell them that you appreciate their help, to make them feel valued and cared for, and to cast a team vision. A health veterinary office environment is one in which staff and clients are all working together toward the shared goal of healthy pets.

Communication is the means toward that end. And, even if you don’t feel that certain communication skills come naturally to you, take heart: communication skills can be learned. Whether that means reading, seeking training, or just making communication a focus, you can become a better communicator – and, in turn, that will make you a better leader.

Keep Learning

Good leaders are good learners. This tip can be broken up into two parts: a focus on humility, and a focus on active learning.

The act of learning requires humility; it requires admittance that you don’t have all of the answers. As a veterinarian, humility can be difficult; after all, you’re the one who’s supposed to take charge of problems, the one who’s supposed to lead by example, the one who’s supposed to be an expert.

And yet, nobody has it all figured out. Leaders need to be humbly aware of their own limitations – and they need to be willing to learn.

So, humility is the basis of learning, but action is required, too. Leaders seek knowledge and improvement. They’re actively looking for ways to build on their strengths and shore up their shortcomings. And, they’re constantly growing. As a veterinarian, this means having an eagerness to stay updated on the newest technologies and treatments. It means being willing to learn from your staff, and even from the experiences you have with your patients.

You’ll grow as a leader if you never stop learning.

What Now?

Hopefully, these tips have gotten the gears turning in your leadership journey. No matter where you are on the journey – whether you’re an established leader, a natural communicator, or a slightly intimidated new veterinarian – there’s always room to grow as a leader.

At VPR Cloud, we believe that veterinarians are meant to be leaders. And, we take pride in helping facilitate veterinary leadership through the tools we offer.

VPR Cloud is the only veterinary reference built by veterinarians, for veterinarians. It’s a dependable, easy-to-use drug reference that makes providing high-quality care easier.

You can store information about every animal you treat, so you’ll easily be able to track current and previous prescriptions. You can save time on administrative elements, instead of spending time manually referencing a drug index. And, VPR Cloud allows you to easily provide your client with an information sheet, featuring the most current accurate information about the medications you may be prescribing.

VPR Cloud can help you to facilitate great communication. And, it’ll cut administrative time, giving you more time to spend honing your veterinary leadership skills.

Great veterinarians are great leaders. Get in touch with us online to find out how VPR Cloud can help you grow in both roles.

How to Attract and Keep Long-Term Vet Clients

The best relationships are the ones that last a long time.

That’s true in a personal context, and it’s certainly true for veterinarians in a professional context, too. Relationships that stand the test of time are built on mutual trust and appreciation.

And, of course, retaining clients over the long-term benefits your practice.

The price of one pet checkup pales in comparison to the lifetime value you gain from being a client’s go-to veterinarian.

So, the value of long-term client relationships is obvious. Less obvious, though, is how to facilitate and maintain those relationships.

Don’t worry, though – the technique to building a long-term client base isn’t some complex secret. Like most relationships, the best veterinarian-client relationships are built on the simple activities that facilitate trust.

Let’s take a look at a few ways to do just that.

Provide High Quality Veterinary Care

This may seem overly simplistic or even redundant, but the foundation of a client’s relationship with you is based on how they answer the question: “Is my vet providing my pet with good care?”

Fairly or not, service providers are easy targets for the ire of dissatisfied clients. Like dentists or car mechanics that draw dissatisfaction over the perception of poor service, veterinarians face this as a reality, too. If your clients don’t think you’re doing a good job, there is no chance for a long-term relationship.

That’s not always fair, and it’s unrealistic to expect to fully please everybody all the time. But if you truly focus on providing your clients and their pets with high quality care, the answer to that question above will most often be “yes.”

Focus On the Pet’s Comfort Level to Surpass Expectations

Besides the fundamental level of care you provide, though, a client’s perception of your relationship with their pet will go a long way toward determining whether they’ll grant you their trust and continue to choose your practice. One of the best ways to influence that perception is to pay notable attention to the comfort level of your patients.

Your clients may expect that their pets will be stressed during an appointment. The more you can alleviate or dispel that idea, the more likely you’ll earn trust.

You’ve probably heard pet owners say things like, “My dog tries to bite every vet who gives her a shot.” If you can give the dog a treat and administer the shot quickly, minimizing the patient’s stress, you’ll gain an immense amount of trust with the owner by surpassing their expectations.

Show You Care to Build Long-Term Vet Client Trust

Your relationship with your clients’ pets is one of the ways that you can show that you care. And, as is true in any relationship, showing that you care goes a long way toward building something that lasts.

We’ve written about it before: when you provide veterinary services routinely, day after day, there’s an inherent danger that you’ll fall into autopilot mode. It’s understandable, and yet the appearance of “autopilot mode” is the last thing you want to portray when you’re seeking to build long-term relationships.

Pet owners want to know that you care. When they bring in their cat, they want you to treat it like it’s the only cat there is, not the eighth you’ve seen that morning.

Take the time to demonstrate that you understand how valuable each pet is. Greet them by name; take the time to get to know them a bit, if possible. Recognize elements of their personalities. Simple actions like this show that you don’t view each patient as a number in your day; you recognize, with their owner, their individual value. You care.

When clients recognize that fact, building trust comes naturally. From that, long-term relationships start to grow.

VPR Cloud Makes It Easier to Build a Long-Term Vet Client Base

At the end of the day, there is no complex secret to building long-term veterinary-client relationships. It’s simple, really: long-term relationships are built on trust. And trust is earned over each client interaction, each appointment, and each demonstration of competence and care.

At VPR Cloud, we understand that. It’s why we’ve created VPR Cloud, the only vet reference built by vets, for vets: so that you can focus on the real work of relationship building.

Having a dependable, easy-to-use reference tool at your fingertips is a valuable asset for any veterinarian. It makes providing high quality care easier. You can store information about every animal they treat, so you’ll easily be able to track current and previous prescriptions.

Additionally, VPR Cloud will help you to save time on administrative elements. Instead of spending time manually referencing a drug index, you’ll have more time to commit to building trust. And, VPR Cloud allows you to easily provide your client with an information sheet, featuring the most current accurate information about the medications you may be prescribing. It’s an easy way to show them how much you care.

VPR Cloud means more time for building long-term relationships with clients. After all, those relationships are the best kind.

The Importance of A Good Veterinarian

It’s not easy working your way through years of college and training in order to become a veterinarian. It’s also not easy putting in the time and effort once you become a veterinarian. Despite the difficulty, people do it every day across the country. However, this doesn’t necessarily make every veterinarian a good veterinarian.

This is not to say they are bad veterinarians. Quite the opposite. While many practices are filled with good veterinarians, there might be a few who are skilled, extremely talented, and very competent at what they do, but lack some of the traits that would move them into the “great” category.

The differences between a veterinarian and a great veterinarian are small, yet salient.

Traits of a Good Veterinarian

It might surprise many that one of the biggest traits for a good veterinarian to have is that they care about people. Most think that it’s all about the animals, and while that’s very important, caring about the people is primary.

A good veterinarian is able to connect with people and fully understand their concerns. They’re also humble enough to come up with a list of treatment options for the owners – not just one option the veterinarian feels is best for the animal. A good veterinarian also doesn’t judge an owner for choosing an option they might not think is the best solution.

It’s also key for a good veterinarian to understand their limitations. If there is a difficult case, good veterinarians will always look to consult with someone who might have a better understanding of what’s going on. At the very least, they should be honest with the owners about what they can or can’t do for their animal.

Medical and veterinary skills are important traits for any good veterinarian to have, but if you are medically competent and you don’t connect with the owners, they’re not going to care and, chances are, won’t do what you say. As the saying goes, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Hiring a Good Veterinarian

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to hiring a good veterinarian. As in any business, what separates candidates varies from practice to practice.

The hiring veterinarian has an overall vision for their practice. They’re going to look for someone who is a good fit and has a similar practice philosophy. The philosophy might be kindness, or maybe cutting-edge medicine. Those are both possible, but they’re different focuses.

If the practice has a clear philosophy, the hiring veterinarian is going to bring in someone who fits well. You can teach skills, but it’s a lot harder to teach mindsets, so the veterinarian will look to add parts to a team of people with similar goals and work philosophies.

That’s not to say everyone on the team has to think exactly the same way. A good veterinarian should complement the practice, but have their own thoughts and ideas. Hiring someone who is compliant could bring about the downfall of a practice. A good veterinarian will help push the members of the team to get better, and vice versa.

How a Good Veterinarian Copes with Stress, Depression

Working in the veterinary field is very rewarding, but it’s also stressful. That stress and anxiety, over time, leads to burnout and depression. Unfortunately, it’s a fairly common occurrence.

In order to overcome these issues, a good veterinarian needs to set up boundaries, where they can say yes or no to things that are important to them. For example, they might make a schedule and stick with it, so when they’re on, they’re on, and when they’re off, they’re off.

Of course, work life and personal life do tend to bleed into each other from time to time. Issues from home might follow veterinarians to work, while work issues might follow them home. It’s vital for all veterinarians to take time to restore and rejuvenate. Daily, weekly, monthly … even if you have to schedule 5- to 10-minute breaks throughout the day, it’s necessary.

All veterinarians need to take care of themselves – physically and mentally. This means learning to delegate responsibilities, taking joy in your family life, and spending as much time as you need to recharge your batteries.

VPR Cloud is Made for Good Veterinarians

Taking the time to go over the information with owners and answering their questions is a great quality for a good veterinarian. Having a great reference tool at your fingertips is a valuable asset for any good veterinarian.

That’s why we created VPR Cloud, the only vet reference built by vets, for vets. VPR Cloud offers industry-leading pharmacology, with the tools and resources that make it the best choice for all veterinarians.

With built-in client information sheets, veterinarians can store information about each animal they treat, so they’ll easily be able to keep track of any drugs that have been prescribed. VPR Cloud helps save veterinarians time and energy that could be used doing any number of things – from talking to owners to taking time for themselves.

For more information on how VPR Cloud can help you become an even better veterinarian, contact us today.