Emergency vets overwhelmed with after-hours paperwork
A typical day at the Emergency Veterinary clinic in Ann Arbor, MI, is hectic, with animals coming in at all hours, requiring special attention and urgent care. More often than not, there are no appointments and cases that seem easy at first, can get quite complex. That means patients are pushed, caseloads pile up, and vet staff fall behind on their work – which translates to longer hours at the clinic.
The urgent nature of their cases requires the team to keep highly detailed patient records. Practice Owner Dr. Lindsay Ruland had a growing concern about the wellbeing of her staff, as she noticed they were frequently staying long after their shifts ended to complete reports and patient records.
She didn’t want her team feeling overwhelmed as they came to work on already stressful and complex cases. A better work-life balance was crucial. She needed to improve the clinic’s workflow and focus on getting her staff home on time.
“With the caseloads we were seeing, and the complexity of the cases, we were really looking for a tool that could help us improve the efficiency for our vets so they could get home in a timely manner.”
Meet Dr. Lindsay Ruland
Dr. Lindsay Ruland has had a passion for animals her entire life. An Ann Arbor native, Dr. Ruland attended Eastern Michigan University where she majored in biology, and was accepted to Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in her junior year of undergraduate studies. After graduating in 2009, she immediately began working in emergency veterinary medicine.
After three short years working at two different clinics, Dr. Ruland took the brave step to start her own practice. At only 28, and with two kids under the age of two at home, she opened the Emergency Veterinary Hospital (EVH) in Ann Arbor on July 4, 2012. Fast-forward 10 years and the bustling 24- hour hospital boasts 27 staff members and carries most of the emergency work performed in the Ann Arbor area.
“With the caseloads we were seeing, and the complexity of the cases, we were really looking for a tool that could help us improve the efficiency for our vets so they could get home in a timely manner.”Dr. Lindsay Ruland, Practice Owner and DVM
Dr. Ruland was reluctant to try Talkatoo
One of Dr. Ruland’s veterinarians, Dr. Alex Brown was the first to try Talkatoo. After using the tool herself and seeing the benefits, she insisted Dr. Ruland give it a try. But after a series of negative experiences with other software vendors, Dr. Ruland was reluctant.
“Dr. Brown brought Talkatoo to my attention, and in all honesty, I was like, ‘…these other two companies we looked at were just so rude…. I don’t know if I want to look into another tech company, right now.’” She was also concerned about the support she would receive once the software was purchased.
“Our doctors record their findings immediately”
As the practice owner, one of the many hats Dr. Ruland wears, is that of substitute product implementation specialist. So, she says, she was happy that installing Talkatoo didn’t take a lot of technical know-how.
“We had a couple of doctors on our team that were hesitant to use Talkatoo initially because they kept insisting they type very quickly and don’t need dictation software. Then about two months in, they were begging me for the login.
“The other thing I like about Talkatoo is how responsive you guys are when we have a question or a problem. Not only does your support team get back to us right away, they check back in to make sure the solution to any issues has worked. That support is really crucial for me, especially because I tend to lose track.”
“After performing a physical exam, our doctors record their findings immediately, which allows them to focus solely on their patient during each appointment.”Dr. Lindsay Ruland, Practice Owner and DVM
Boosting morale and shaping clinic culture
The clinic currently has Talkatoo installed in the doctor’s office, manager’s office, and main treatment areas. Multiple veterinarians can use the dictation software throughout their shifts with this setup. Since Talkatoo works from anywhere, some veterinarians have also installed it on their personal computers for rare work-from-home cases.
More importantly, the software has become an essential part of EVH’s workflow. “After performing a physical exam, our doctors record their findings immediately, which allows them to focus solely on their patient during each appointment.
When a new patient comes into the clinic for the first time, doctors use Talkatoo to add detailed notes to the treatment plan. The software’s punctuation feature makes the process smooth.
“If we’re going to improve efficiency for our doctors in completing their medical records, we can’t be constantly backtracking and correcting words and typos. The functionality of Talkatoo, where you can tell it to learn your words to type out things correctly, without having to keep going back…has made it so much easier and smoother when completing our records.”
Dr. Ruland has noticed a palpable boost in morale across the clinic since implementing Talkatoo. “It’s increased staff morale – the less we’re bogged down with note-taking and staying late. Our team feels more purposeful and accomplished. Those are the words they’ve described to me,” she said.