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How Your Practice Can Streamline the Curbside Check-In Process

By Wendy Frankmann, DVM

COVID-19, COVID-19, COVID-19, oh how I hate—and secretly love?—you.

There. I said it. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. No, I don’t love coronavirus for the sickness, suffering, or death it has caused. I love it for the innovation, resiliency, and collective grit it has fostered. Speaking of innovation, with so many practices offering curbside appointments, how can we streamline and improve the process for our clients and teams?

Using forms to streamline the curbside check-in process

Let’s admit it, until everyone gets the hang of it, curbside check-in can be a little bumpy. And, even after everyone gets the hang of it, throw one wrench in the works and you can really get behind. To help us on the front end of our practice’s appointments, I decided to create a pre-exam visit form utilizing JotForm. JotForm is offering free accounts to companies providing essential services where their forms would help in day-to-day operations. Another well-known option is Formstack.

Since most of you are likely offering some form of curbside service by now, I won’t go into the entire process from initial client contact to the conclusion of the appointment—or, as we call it in my hospital, the cycle of service. Instead, let’s focus on the step that involves calling the client who has just arrived and is waiting in the parking lot. The initial call is where we perform the “O” in SOAP. You know, all those history, diet, environmental, behavioral, and current medications questions. This part of the appointment takes time. But, a pre-visit history form can help.

How to implement your pre-visit form

Our pre-visit history form is relatively short and user-friendly, which allows us to hone in on the main concerns, if any, and get answers to the basics, including the pet’s diet, medications, and environment. I also purchased a couple of iPads for our veterinary nurses so they could retrieve the completed forms from the installed JotForm app. In the morning when they perform their appointment review, they pull up the form, insert the answers into the medical record, and make note of any further questions or clarifications they need to ask during the check-in phone call with the client. Implementing a pre-visit history form has saved our team a lot of time. Bonus: It’s quite simple and fun to create the form.

At our hospital, we use the Vet2Pet app to send the pre-visit form link to our clients upon scheduling the appointment. For those who do not have the app, it provides us another opportunity to suggest they get it! If all else fails, we simply email the link. We also added a button link on our website’s homepage. I’ve also thought about creating a large poster to place in our window with a QR code that a client could scan right from the parking lot.

While we all hate COVID-19, it has forced us to make changes in our practices, and many of those changes will continue to be beneficial long after the pandemic passes.

Wendy Frankmann, DVM

Wendy Frankmann, DVM is the owner, director and veterinarian at Animal Clinic of Chardon a Fear Free certified and AAHA accredited practice located in Chardon, Ohio. Dr. Frankmann has been a valued technology partner with Vet2Pet since June 2016.

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