Lecture Synopses

CLICK HERE for the timetable for the day.

8:30:  Kick off the day with Sam Burkey’s  Virtual Wake Up Yoga

We are delighted to have Sam Burkey leading our early morning virtual yoga at 8:30. Sam will lead a class that will be accessible to first time as well as experienced yogis.  She will help unwind you from your beds with an early morning stretch and twist class.

Sam has been practising yoga for over 20 years, travelling to many different parts of the world to study and explore many different styles of yoga.  Her very personal approach draws from several different yoga traditions and is underpinned by a deep appreciation for anatomy and physiology.   If you miss the 8:00 session, we will record and repeat it at the end of the day to unwind you from your chair!  The really enthusiastic can do it twice.

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Stream A

10:00:  Creating a Virtual Referral Service in your GP Practice
Nuala Summerfield, Virtual Veterinary Specialists (VVS)

In this session, Cardiology Specialist and founder of VVS, Nuala Summerfield will explain both the benefits and the steps required to bring Specialist-level care into first opinion practices, seamlessly and immersively. Nuala will share real-life case study examples of internal referral streams that have been developed in first opinion practices in UK, across multiple specialist disciplines including cardiology, diagnostic imaging, dermatology and neurology.  She will also cover the many knock-on benefits to your team.  First opinion nurses now have the opportunity to become “specialist nurses”, working regularly under the guidance of Specialists, within their own practice. First opinion vets have the opportunity to be mentored by and to work closely with a multidisciplinary team of Specialists, in all areas that they wish to develop further, again all within their own practice.  The virtual future has had an unexpected boost from Covid-19; here is a chance to turn some of that to real positives going forward.

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11:10:  Teleconsultations: a whole team approach
Jo Woodnutt, VetHelpDirect, Kayleigh Walsh, ICR Vets 

Receptionists and nurses play a crucial role in the success of teleconsultations in practice.  The receptionists are ones that will answer the phone and where, in the past, they would book someone in for a physical consultation, they can now be offering some clients the option of a teleconsultation. If you have made your vets available for free consultations over the phone in the past, they also need to manage this expectation as you move to a paid for teleconsultation service. Nurses meanwhile, can be using teleconsults to triage clients as well as offering paid for nurse consults, such as weight clinics online.   In this session, we will talk about how to onboard your whole team to ensure they are fully trained and fully behind teleconsultations.  Jo Woodnutt is a vet with a broad experience of running teleconsults and now advises practices, particularly on getting the whole team on board.  She is joined by Kayleigh Walsh, Head nurse with ICR Vets in Edinburgh who is a recent convert and will share her experience of training up the team and her ideas of how to incorporate teleconsults post Covid

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12:15:  Harnessing Technology to drive efficiency and profitability
Alan Robinson, Vet Dynamics

Many practices were forced to embrace digital technology to help them through lockdown and those that continue that process may be better able to adapt to the next stage. Increased demand, combined with the reduced capacity and lower efficiency caused by biosecurity measures, is a challenge, but there are ways technology can help.  Pushing your appointment bookings online, using teleconsults at least for triage and post op checks and digitising your dispensing can really help.  Many practices are now insisting on payments upfront, taking these digitally and by so doing have finally overcome that perennial practice problem of bad debt!  Alan Robinson takes a look at some of the ways you can drive efficiency and profit by embracing digital technology.

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13:45:  Teleconsults post Covid-19
Susie Samuel, Vet Help Direct,  Peter Haworth, New Era Vets, & Tanya Crawley, Vets4Pets, Swindon

Almost every practice is likely to have carried out some form of video consultation by now, whether as a WhatsApp phone call, Facetime or via an established video consultation platform.  What are the key challenges that practices have faced, and what are the hurdles to be overcome to truly embed this in your practice?  Do you now understand the technology?  Is it working as well as it might and how successfully are you integrating this to your PMS and other existing systems?  And crucially, how are you selling it to your clients? Susie Samuel helps you capitalise on the experience of teleconsulting when it was a necessity as you move forward to offering it as an integral part of your service. She is joined by Peter Haworth, New Era Veterinary Hospital and Tanya Crawley, Vets4Pets, Swindon, one was catapulted into telemedicine by the Corona-crisis, the other had been testing a telemedicine service before. They share their frustrations and successes, how they have made teleconsults time efficient, and how they market teleconsulting to their pet owners.  They will talk about the role teleconsults will play in their post Covid practice.

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14:50:  Adapting your consultation styles to the small screen
Ruth Serlin, Lecturer in Veterinary Professionalism, Royal Vet College

Consulting online necessitates honing your day-to-day communication skills. Online, body language is harder to read and emotions can be harder to portray or pick up. There can be a difference in the perceived relationship too, particularly when clients are asked to pay. It becomes even more important to recognise the different elements and processes in a consultation so you can communicate with clarity and ensure the best outcome for all. Ruth Serlin worked in first opinion practice for over 25 years. Currently, at the RVC, one of her roles is to lead the communication skills teaching. She shares some of her research into teaching owner/vet communication and takes you through an online consultation step-by-step. She will consider such things as the practicalities, what you should wear, the backdrop you choose, and give a deeper insight into how your everyday communication skills can apply to this newer way of consulting.

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Stream B

10:00:  Client Communications in a Post Covid 19 World
Thom Jenkins, PetsApp

Everyone’s digital experience has changed in the past few months. Zoom is a household name and virtual socialising is a thing. Within a veterinary context, you will have clients who have now experienced video consulting and may be wondering why you are now asking them to bring their pet to the surgery. So why not capitalise on this and take your practice and your clients on the next step of the digital journey. Build digital relationships with them via text and online apps so that you become a part of their digital world, not just somewhere they turn when their pet is sick. Thom explains how to make this work, who in your practice team might be best to lead it and how to use it to improve your business, increase pet welfare and build owner engagement.

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11:10:  Is your Practice Cyber Secure?
Jack Peploe, Vet IT Services 

Cyber related crime has increased by as much as 400% just this last month.   Hackers have been taking advantage of businesses and their employees working  in unsecure home environments, possibly on unsecure home machines making them easy pickings.  Within the veterinary business, use of systems such as What’s App, Facetime and even Zoom for team catch ups or telemedicine could be leaving you exposed.  Jack Peploe, our very own certified ethical hacker and vet IT expert will demonstrate just how easy hacking is for those who know how.  He will talk through some actual real life examples of attacks hackers are using to dupe you and your team and show you what you can do to better spot these attacks and reduce your chances of falling victim to them.  He will demonstrate real life phishing and smishing attacks and play you an actual voice fraud call!

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12:15:  Making more of emails and why your data base may be your most under-used resource
Andrew Rastall, Connected Vet

Many practices spend large amounts of time and money on social media, Facebook in particular, and only email their clients to remind them when a flea or worming treatment or a vaccine is due.  This ignores and underuses a hugely valuable resource.  But proceed with caution as overuse or inappropriate use of emails can do more harm than good.  Emails should deliver useful information and set up a dialogue; if you are using email to communicate with clients then emails from them must be answered and most importantly of all, emails should not be used as a blatant sales pitch.   Then there is the problem of extracting your emails from your PMS in an easy, user friendly fashion.   Andrew Rastall explains how to set up and measure a simple email marketing plan and is joined by Gemma Higgs, Practice Manager at the Edgewood Veterinary Group, who shares examples of how her practice does it.

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13:45:  Making a Move to a Paperless Inpatient Workflow System?
Peter Renwick, Plexi 

More and more practices are opting for paperless workflow systems to track patients through hospitalisation and surgery. Everything from electronic whiteboards to track where the patient is throughout their visit, electronic treatment sheets and anaesthetic monitoring sheets to electronic consent forms and billing. In theory it streamlines the whole process, reducing human error and the likelihood of underbilling by missing chargeable items. But how easy is it to adapt in practice and to retrain your team and is it worth the effort? Peter Renwick from Plexi describes the paperless workflow system.  He will also discuss the importance of onboarding your team and overcoming some of the inevitable challenges.  

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14:50:  AI – a threat to practice or a major breakthrough in improved diagnosis?
Robert Dawson, Vet-AI

Symptom checking software has been around for some time, but most are quite basic and largely used as a tool to drive pet owners to teleconsults or to their own vet.  However, one company, Vet-AI are developing a much more sophisticated tool which takes robotic diagnosis to a new level and at the same time gathers a massive amount of data on symptoms which will be of real value in preventing, predicting and treating a wide range of conditions.  So is this the future and a threat to first opinion practice?  Or will it harness the significant number of pet owners who turn to Dr Google rather than a vet?   Robert Dawson from Vet-AI, describes how it works and why he believes it can complement rather than compete with vets in practice.

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15:55:  Future Proof Practice Management Systems:  A Debate (plenary session – both streams together)
Paul May – MWI Animal Health, Alan Robinson – Vet Dynamics, Susie Samuel – VetHelpDirect, Peter Renwick – Plexi Software.  Chair: Nick Lloyd – Vet XML

The Covid 19 crisis has really tested remote access of PMS systems and how well they could adapt to more digital communication with clients.  Even before the crisis, there were a huge range of new technologies coming on the market from smart wearables to paperless workflow systems to owner apps.   For the vet or practice manager trying to navigate through these and decide which will work for their practice it can come down to how well their PMS can cope.  At the moment, for most practices, it is the Clinical Director or Practice Manager who is having to connect the dots and make the different applications somehow work together.   No one wants the upheaval of changing their PMS unless it is absolutely necessary, but practices need to be confident their system is fit for the future.   How do PMS providers need to adapt and are they doing so?

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Draft programme, subject to change