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Practice Manager Cheyene Canales Improves Clinic Operations and Boosts Morale with Talkatoo

Cheyene Canales - Practice Manager
West Town Veterinary Center in Madison, Wisconsin / 7 Min Read
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Backdrop

Cheyene’s career with animals started early on when she began helping out in her grandmother’s pet store in Portage, Wisconsin, a quaint little city, in Columbia County. After graduating from school, she moved up to managing the store’s daily operations. In 2019 Cheyene switched gears and moved into a role at West Town Vetneriary Center (WTVC) in Madison, managing the front office of a busy veterinary practice. WTVC offers a full range of veterinary services where area pet owners visit the clinic for preventative care, diagnostic, boarding, and grooming. Dr. Ken Lambrecht (known as Dr. Ken), the founder and Medical Director of the clinic, hired Cheyene to help improve clinic operations and boost efficiency and productivity among the 20 staff.

The problem, consequences, and hesitations…

Cheyene observed that though clients typically have only one or two pets, staff at the clinic have dozens of animals to care for at any given time and priorities can shift at a moment’s notice. Accurate and detailed exam and office notes were key to ensuring clients and their pets are getting the best care possible, but real-time documentation and record-keeping was a challenge.

As important as documentation and record-keeping are at the clinic, staff also want to devote more time and attention to clients and pet care. Staff were feeling overworked and stressed trying to prioritize. This left Cheyene in a conundrum—how could she ensure that staff continue to build rapport with clients and provide proper patient care, while ensuring documentation was kept top-of-mind without over-burdening and stressing the team?

“Everybody says, ‘Oh my gosh, you work in veterinary medicine, it must be fun to see dogs and cats all day.’ But the unfortunate reality is that this is not always the case because we’re super busy all the time”

Cheyene Canales, Practice Manager

Cheyene and the rest of the clinic team love their job, but not the stress that comes along with it. “Everybody says, ‘Oh my gosh, you work in veterinary medicine, it must be fun to see dogs and cats all day.’ But the unfortunate reality is that this is not always the case because we’re super busy all the time,” she said.

Cheyene also noted that quality of care was a challenge with typed notes. Sometimes staff would put off writing notes until they had some down time. Delaying notes could cause staff to miss important information. “The longer you wait, the more detail you lose, such as medications and client concerns.

We’d have a conversation with a client and then have to write it down. I saw that everyone had the intention to update the record after the call, but in a vet practice, since we’re pulled in all sorts of directions, getting to it can be a challenge.”

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It turns out the secret was simple…

Cheyene brought her concerns and observations to Dr. Ken who suggested giving Talkatoo dictation a try. Cheyene quickly saw the benefits of Talkatoo. “It was so easy to learn,” she said, and “I was able to try it without special training at all.” Cheyene also found that in addition to using Talkatoo with the practice management software, she could use Talkatoo during phone calls, for emails, could dictate into her browser when searching online, and anywhere else where she could use her keyboard to type.

Transitioning from old to new…

Like any other business, getting staff to embrace a new technology poses its own set of unique challenges. While Cheyene saw the benefit of Talkatoo, she knew she might encounter some resistance to adoption of the new technology; staff were already stretched and learning something new would take time they didn’t have. To combat this issue, Cheyene made the software accessible to the front office and clinical staff, but did not require them to use it. This gave them the opportunity to transition to and get to know the new technology at their own pace. She noted the team had different levels of comfort with technology. So, she installed the software on all of the computers for ready access.

“Before Talkatoo, we’d have a conversation with a client and then
have to write it down. I saw that everyone had the intention to update the record after the call. But in vet practices, we are pulled in all sorts
of directions. With Talkatoo, we create high-quality notes—no matter
what the client volume.”

Cheyene Canales, Practice Manager

“Some people immediately loved it and said, ‘I’m never going to type again.’ Others were more cautious. So, I reminded them that Talkatoo is an option. I want them to use it… And I’ve seen them using it on their own.”

Though not required for a seamless dictation experience, Cheyene opted in to buy the noise-canceling microphones that only capture what is dictated and not other conversations in the clinic. That is particularly important to preserve the privacy of clients discussing their pet’s health with a veterinarian. “It is super fast and easy to set up 5 microphones in an hour. Now, we can do paperwork in exam rooms,” she said.

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The results speak for themselves…

Cheyene says that Talkatoo has been a lifesaver. Instead of constant typing, she can focus on customer service and other tasks.

Cheyene noted that a key benefit of Talkatoo is the amount of time it saves and how much it lessens duplicated effort. Rather than spending time typing after every phone call, email, and face-to-face encounter, the “notes can almost write themselves.” And the result is that staff are happier—and so are clients.

“Before Talkatoo, we’d have a conversation with a client and then have to write it down. I saw that everyone had the intention to update the record after the call. But in vet practices, we are pulled in all sorts of directions. With Talkatoo, we create high-quality notes—no matter what the client volume.”
“We can speak faster than we can type, so Talkatoo is great. We can quickly dictate pertinent information. Then [later], we have time to go back to ‘pretty up’ the reports.”

Cheyene is one of the biggest proponents of Talkatoo in the clinic. She’s always on-the-go and dictation lightens her workload. She uses Talkatoo to write almost everything, including emails. “When [dictating], it feels like a break—saves energy and headaches.”

WTVC has enjoyed the benefits of Talkatoo, and Cheyene is eager to expand its uses in the clinic. In fact, Cheyene sees Talkatoo as an integral part of making the clinic the best it can be.
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