Mobility Solution Helps Launch a New Breed of Animal Hospital
I like not having an in-between person deciding what’s important and what’s not. I can respond if it’s something that I want to take care of right away to give our clients peace of mind.”
Dr. Kym Mitchell, DVM and Owner, Montrose Pet Hospital
About Montrose Pet Hospital
Montrose Pet Hospital Facts
Create a comfortable, caring and efficient environment for new veterinary practice
Office@Hand, an advanced mobile solution, provides phone system for workers in and out of the office; AT&T U-verse offers high-speed Internet access and HD capabilities
Enhanced customer service, increased staff productivity and controlled expenses
Sole practitioner with a staff of six
As a brand-new practice, Montrose Pet Hospital provides medical, surgical and dental services for cats and dogs with an in-house pharmacy, state of the art dental equipment and comfortable accommodations. The office is located in a small community just north of Glendale, California in the foothills of the San Gabriel and Verdugo Mountains where Dr. Mitchell and her entire staff make their homes. Its website, www.montrosepethospital.com, provides useful information about animal care and enables clients to register their pets and schedule appointments. The site also communicates the clinic’s commitment to treating pets like members of the family.
Dr. Kym Mitchell worked as part of a large veterinary practice for years before launching Montrose Pet Hospital. Driven by a love for animals and a vision of providing compassionate care more efficiently, she set out to create a new kind of practice. As a sole practitioner, Dr. Mitchell wanted to be responsive to her furry patients and their owners, both during and after hours, whether she was in the office or not. When dealing with a severely ill or injured pet, she needed a way to communicate quickly with specialists. Lastly she wanted to create a green, paper-free environment.
Thanks to Office@Hand, Montrose Pet Hospital was able to get the practice off the ground and handle calls even before the doors officially opened. Now the auto receptionist, multiple extensions for the doctor and her staff, voicemail and faxing capability of this mobile PBX solution have all been put to use and offer a professional business presence. AT&T U-verse® provides high-speed Internet access which enables X-rays or lab reports to be emailed to specialists instantly when time is of the essence. TV helps entertain waiting patients and their owners. The solution has helped reduce paperwork, saving money and supporting Dr. Mitchell’s vision of a cost- efficient, environmentally friendly practice.
A New Vision for Veterinary Care
In almost every workplace people have to deal with territoriality, aggression and even the occasional catfight. For Dr. Kym Mitchell, however, such behavior is a daily occurrence – her veterinary practice at Montrose Pet Hospital brings a steady parade of cats and dogs and all the commotion that a trip to the vet can inspire, and she couldn’t be happier.
Becoming paperless was really important to us.”
Dr. Kym Mitchell, DVM and Owner, Montrose Pet Hospital
After 18 years working in a large veterinary practice, Dr. Mitchell decided to open her own clinic. “Part of the reason is that my kids are older now and I have more time to dedicate to my career,” she said. “And part of it was just having a different vision of how things should be done.”
This vision includes small benefits for employees– a friendly hospital cat who roams the clinic at will and often stretches out on a sunny corner of someone’s desk– and larger ones, like a democratic structure that encourages staff to speak up about how things should be done. “I think that’s important when you’re opening up a new practice,” Dr. Mitchell said. “We have to be fluid so we can change according to whatever our clients require from us. And I wanted to be able to treat our employees in a respectful way and reward them for their hard work.”
Dr. Mitchell also hoped to create a more environmentally friendly workplace. She envisioned a practice in which processes were streamlined to eliminate paperwork and records were digitized to make it easier for her to assist clients whether she was in the office, at home or on the go. “Becoming paperless was really important to us,” Dr. Mitchell said. “The other clinic where I worked generated so much waste – we don’t want to be like that.”
Finally, she needed a way to remain accessible to her clients as she transitioned from her former job to the new clinic. “We wanted to get a phone number that clients could call before we opened and that would remain our phone number once we were up and running,” she said.
Going Green Keeps Hospital in the Black
Already an AT&T Wireless customer, Dr. Mitchell asked AT&T for help in staying connected with her clients and developing a practice. She got a new number – 818-249-CARE – and became one of the first businesses in the U.S. to deploy AT&T Office@Hand, a mobile business phone system that eliminates the need for expensive hardware, complex installation and technical expertise.
Prior to opening, Office@Hand allowed Dr. Mitchell to advertise the new number and take calls from prospective clients from virtually anywhere. Once the practice launched, the cloud-based mobile PBX solution enabled her staff to activate and configure the business phone system in minutes. While a member of the clinic staff always answers the phone during business hours, Office@Hand’s auto-receptionist handles calls that come in after hours. And this can easily be changed as business needs change. The system gives each staff member a voicemail box for messages, and provides call logs and visual voice mail. It even enables staff to transfer live calls between employees, regardless of where they are (out walking a dog perhaps) or what type of phone they use, mobile or land line.
The solution helps Dr. Mitchell communicate with her clients and supports Montrose Pet Hospital’s green initiatives. Staff can use email to send and receive faxes, greatly reducing paper. “The e-fax is so important – now we don’t have tons of paper coming in over the fax machine. Before we opened I was spending a lot of money sending faxes at Office Depot because I didn’t have a fax machine at home,” she said. “Office@Hand has really been great for us, helping us become a truly paperless practice.”
Dr. Mitchell also appreciates the ability to easily change the hours that calls ring through to her cell phone or go straight to voice mail. This is particularly helpful when handling emergency situations.
Peace of Mind for Pet Owners
The technology choices Dr. Mitchell has made support her ability to work
from home. “I often finish up charts at night, which is wonderful because I’ve
never been able to do that before. You don’t want to take the paper chart out
of the pet hospital, because it’s a legal document. Now that I have anytime
access to all the files I can add to them and look at
X-rays from home.”
Office@Hand also lets Dr. Mitchell review every call and message when out of
the office. “I really like being able to check the messages and decide if we
need to call somebody back right away,” she said. For example, a client whose
dog had surgery that day might call with questions. “You don’t want them to go
all night and not know what to do. With Office@Hand I can call them right back,
talk about it and decide if the pet needs some more care or if some
Pepto-Bismol™ might take care of it.
“It’s great if someone doesn’t have to worry about their pet all night,” she continued. “I like not having an in-between person deciding what’s important and what’s not. I can respond if it’s something that I want to take care of right away to give our clients peace of mind.”
Dr. Mitchell also chose AT&T U-verse to provide high-speed Internet service for the office. U-verse’s bandwidth enables her to quickly send and receive large files like X-rays and lab results. “Occasionally you’re going to have cases that are life and death,” she explained. “I can take an X-ray and email it to a radiologist and get results back in five minutes if it’s a stat request.”
The speedy Internet connection allows her to send information to her clients by email rather than printing out large files for them. “If a client in the clinic asks me a question, I can immediately go onto a veterinary website and email them an article rather than printing it out in the office,” she said. “I love being able to educate them like that.” The clinic emails invoices rather than printing and mailing them, which Dr. Mitchell said her clients appreciate.
Appointments can be made and pets registered on the clinic’s website. Clients no longer have to juggle Fido while trying to fill out forms in the waiting room. Now instead they can enjoy passing the time watching Animal Planet or the Discovery Channel thanks to the HD capability of U-verse.
Virtually eliminating paperwork has generated savings, Dr. Mitchell said, as has the fact that Office@Hand makes it unnecessary for her to pay for an answering service to handle calls after business hours.
“We haven’t sat down and figured out how much but I’m sure there are significant savings involved.” Additionally, she saves time because Office@Hand makes it so easy to retrieve messages. “It used to take me 15 minutes sometimes just to get through to our answering service,” she said. “It was insane.” The practice will soon be adding a toll-free number where all of their inbound calls will be included in the same predictable monthly fee.
Her communications solutions have positioned Dr. Mitchell’s practice for growth. “It’s a one-doctor practice,” she said. “We’d certainly like to increase it to two and then look at staying open for some emergency hours as well.” When that time comes, Office@Hand will enable Dr. Mitchell to add lines instantly via the web or from her smartphone. “However we grow,” she said, “AT&T solutions will fit right in.”