Success Story: How Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital Started Getting Paid for Emails and Texts Using Otto

Clinic Information

Clinic name: Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital
Clinic type: Small animal clinic
Clinic size: ~50 employees (12 veterinarians)
Location: Atlanta, GA

Dr. M. Duffy Jones of Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital in Atlanta became a veterinarian in order to help animals in need of medical care, but over time he discovered that he had to put boundaries on how and when he went about providing that care in order to maintain some semblance of a work-life balance. He decided to integrate the Otto platform into his hospital with hopes that it would help him and his large staff create a more efficient way for pet owners to interact with his team outside of emails and text messages. What Dr. Jones did not expect was that the platform would not only help him create revenue for the hospital but would also give him and his staff their lives back.

When Being Available Becomes “Too Available”

In general, most veterinary clinics have two main goals in mind: 1. Provide care for animals, and 2. Generate revenue for the practice. However, there is a third goal that most clinics feel is somehow out of reach for them – conserving personal time. They think this is unattainable because answering pet parents’ questions through all means of communication and at all hours of the day and night just seems to come along with the territory of being a good veterinarian.

Several years ago, Dr. Jones realized that he and his staff simply could not sustain the amount of availability they were giving to their hospital’s pet parents. “I realized that we went from ‘available’ to ‘too available’ to our clientele in a very short amount of time,” Dr. Jones said. “I want more than anything for us to provide as much care to as many animals as possible, but we also have to maintain some work-life balance for our overall health and wellness, too.”

The biggest contributor to his team’s general lack of personal time was all of the unpaid consultations he and his staff were doing. On an average month, his team would spend countless hours responding to dozens of inquiries from pet parents that came in through texts, emails, phone calls, and even social media. “I knew that we had to get a handle on these consultations that were coming in,” Dr. Jones said. “The original goal was to somehow receive payment for the care that we were previously just giving away for free, but where we ended up was an even better outcome that I could have expected.”

Veterinary Telemedicine is the Answer

In order to get a handle on their incoming communication from pet parents, Dr. Jones decided to add the Otto veterinary telemedicine platform to his hospital’s workflow. His expectation was that they would be able to funnel all of the pet parents’ “quick questions” that came in through email, text, etc. to the Otto platform so that they could streamline the return communication and monetize the care they provide. He and his staff realized almost immediately that Otto would help them reach that goal.

When they began to use it, they instructed all staff members to guide these extemporaneous conversations with pet parents to the Otto platform. This created a tremendous amount of continuity with the consultations because the hospital-to-pet-parent communication would now all be happening in the same place. Previously, multiple staff members would be communicating with the pet parents in a myriad of different ways, and it was almost impossible for the rest of the staff to know the status of a consultation or even be aware of what the last communication was. Dr. Jones said that, “this platform has really given our front desk and support staff a much easier and more manageable workflow.”

“This platform has really given our front desk and support staff a much easier and more manageable workflow.”

It is not just the staff that are enjoying the more pleasurable communication experience; the pet parents appreciate it, too. “They absolutely love it,” Dr. Jones said of the pet parents. The hospital decided very early on that they would utilize the Otto platform for rechecks, follow-ups, and surgical updates; all of which are welcome, expedient additions for the pet parent’s benefit. “They are very thankful for the convenience and technology, and many of them have asked us why we don’t charge them more for the service!”

Additionally, Dr. Jones talked about how the Otto platform allowed his clinic the ability to offer peace of mind to their customers. “We have pet owners that aren’t anywhere close to the clinic for whatever reason, but their animals get sick or injured and want our help. Because we’re using Otto, they’re able to reach out to us, and from there we can guide them to the best next step to ensure the continued health of their animals.”

Revenue is Good, Quality of Life is Better

From the start, Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital could see the revenue generation capability the Otto platform provided them. To date, they average between 30 and 40 paid veterinary telemedicine consultations a month at an average of $50/consult. Under the old workflow, this would have all been unrealized revenue because they would have done all of these consultations for free.

The platform has also helped bring the entire staff more into alignment with the overall performance goals of the clinic as well. “At our hospital, we have monthly production and performance goals that, if attained, triggers a bonus for our staff,” Dr. Jones said. This coupled with the addition of the Otto platform has incentivized the staff to guide the appropriate types of consultations to veterinary telemedicine.

“It has been a tremendous benefit to us to be able to receive payment for our work while simultaneously regaining that time that we were so used to losing every day.”

However, the biggest benefit of utilizing Otto goes way beyond the revenue that the hospital has been able to generate. “What’s most important to us is not that it’s a revenue generator; it’s quality of life for us in that it has dramatically dropped the number of texts and emails that we’re getting,” Dr. Jones said. “It has been a tremendous benefit to us to be able to receive payment for our work while simultaneously regaining that time that we were so used to losing every day.”

For Dr. Jones and the team at Peachtree Hills Animal Hospital, they have succeeded in attaining the elusive ability to create a better work-life balance while concurrently growing their business.

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