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COVID-19 and The Veterinary Profession: Business and Practice updates

For other podcasts:
Life in Practice updates click
Looking after you and your team updates click

In partnership with SPVS and VMG. The views expressed within these podcasts do not necessarily represent the views of SPVS or VMG.

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Practice Management Systems fit for the post Covid world


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. How do PMS providers need to adapt and are they doing so?

At the recent SPVS/VMG Focus on Our Digital Future Virtual Summit, the final session debated this issue. The panellists were Alan Robinson, Vet Dynamics, Susie Samuel, Vet Help Direct, Peter Renwick, Plexi and Paul May, MWI. Nick Lloyd, Vet XML was the chair. This session was sponsored by MWI.

Less Paper, Better Communication

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 talks to Nick Lloyd about why, as co-founder of Willows Referrals, he decided this had to be the way forward.
Peter talked in more detail about paperless workflow systems at SPVS/VMG Focus on Our Digital Future Virtual Summit on 23 June. 

New Skills for Screen to Screen Communication

Ruth Serlin, Royal Vet College

Have you adapted your communication skills for teleconsultations? In this podcast, Ruth Serlin explains why you might need to do this to make them time efficient and effective. Ruth ran a session at the SPVS/VMG Focus on Digital Technology Virtual Summit on 23 June using actors and a volunteer role vet to help demonstrate some of the do’s and don’ts of teleconsult communication.

Will New Working Practices Outlive the Pandemic

Many people have been working differently during the Covid 19 pandemic. Some may not be able to wait for things to get back to normal, but for others it is a long overdue change. Silvia Janska is a vet and a SPVS Board Member. She is running a research project with another vet, Jessica May into Flexible Working in Clinical Practice.
Here they talk to Nick Stuart about the project which is supported by SPVS. If you would like to get involved, you can email them or contact Jessica or Silvia via Facebook. 

How to work safely when we can't socially distance

Bringing furloughed staff and clients back into practice safely is one of the biggest challenges now facing vet practices. Richard Artingstall, Clinical Director at Vale Referrals talks to Dr Bharat Pankhania, senior lecturer at Exeter University School of Medicine. Bharat has over 20 years' experience as a consultant in infection control and communicable disease.
They look at comparisons and learnings from public healthcare scenarios and how to apply a mix of evidence and common sense to making vet practices safe for staff and pet owners.  

SPVS reveal results of second survey of members

Pete Orpin, SPVS.

Practices are struggling to reconcile lower capacity, both because of the extra time taken up by PPE, teleconsulting and other safeguarding measures, but also because of lower staff numbers, with reduced income. That was a key finding from the lastest SPVS survey and other conversations they have been having with members.
Nick Stuart talks to Pete Orpin from SPVS to find out more. Details of the CPD day on Profitable Practice and the Digital Technology Virtual Summit can be found here. and Details of the SPVS survey

Tell Us Your Best Teleconsultation Stories

VMG and SPVS are looking for your best Teleconsult stories, either funny, moving or the ones that have made you proud. The best one will win two tickets to the SPVS/VMG Focus on Digital Technology Virtual Summit on 23 June.
Here, to give you some ideas and get you started are three of the speakers at that event, Nuala Summerfield, Virtual Veterinary Specialists, Susie Samuel, Vethelpdirect and Thom Jenkins, PetsApp. They’ve been chatting to Jenny Stuart about what they are hearing from those who have been thrown into digital consultations and are learning fast.

Either email your story or via the SPVSVMG Events Facebook page

What does a nosedive in the economy mean for you?

Ajay Johal, investment manager with Ruffer, a fund management company, talks to Nick Stuart.
Today’s global economy is a complicated and interconnected thing which is why predicting what might happen as the world slowly returns to a ‘new normal’ is difficult. In the UK, the impact will be felt in many different and maybe unexpected ways.
The fall in funding faced by charities, for instance, may make everyone’s recovery more difficult as, during the years of austerity, they have increasingly stepped up to fill in roles traditionally provided by government. Will this recession end a decade of low inflation? Might we finally see some rises in interest rates? And will the recovery be V, U, or W-shaped? 

For more financial intel, sign up for SPVS/VMG Profitable Practice CPD

As vets look beyond Covid 19, QI is more important than ever

While some vets, nurses and practice managers love protocols and guidelines, others see them as a threat to clinical freedom. Cornish vet Lizzie Whiting is a passionate advocate of the Quality Improvement (QI) approach advocated by RCVS Knowledge. She finds the ‘whole team’ approach to problem solving which is an integral part of successful QI,” a huge help and believes adopting QI can be of benefit to any size or type of practice.

In this podcast she explains more along with Pam Mosedale, Chair of the Quality Improvement Advisory Board set up by RCVS Knowledge. They are in conversation with Nicky Paull, retired vet, ex BVA President and Chair of the VDS Board. 

Could vets have managed Covid 19 better?

Dick Sibley, West Ridge Vets, RCVS.

Dick Sibley expands on the article he co-wrote in the Vet Record a couple of weeks ago in which he suggested vets might have approached the control of Covid 19 in the human population differently. He talks to Pete Orpin about how the ‘Four Pillars’ approach to disease management could usefully be applied and shares his thoughts on the challenges for the profession post Covid.

Recorded 28 April 2020

Applying herd disease control principles to protecting your practice

Dick Sibley, West Ridge Vets, RCVS.

Dick Sibley has an impressive pedigree as a cattle vet. Along with running West Ridge Vets, a mixed practice in Devon, he is an Honorary Fellow of RCVS, past President of BCVA, and has received the Princess Royal Awards, the RASE Bledisloe Veterinary Award and the BCVA Brownlie Bull Award. In this podcast, he explains to Pete Orpin, how he is applying his ‘Four Pillars’ approach to disease control to protect his team and his business from Covid 19.

Recorded 28 April 2020

RCVS President, Niall Connell in conversation

Nick Stuart talks to Niall Connell, President of the RCVS.
They discuss, among other things, the recent RCVS Practice Economic Survey, how their flow chart offering guidance for clinical practice has been received, and who is best placed to lead the profession in these difficult and strange times.

Recorded 25 Apr 2020

New ways of working creates new risks

David Green, Technical Advisor, VDS.

As vets adapt to very different ways of working, the questions they have been taking to VDS have also been changing. Nick Stuart spoke to David Green, Technical Advisor at VDS to find out more. Many things were discussed, including whether a client could claim they had caught Covid 19 during a visit to the vets; possible new risks from teleconsults; and whether you are covered should you volunteer to work in an NHS Nightingale Hospital.

Understanding Furlough: Your questions answered

Mark Harwood, Hazlewoods Accountants and  Elaine Fisher, from HR4Vets.

As Guidance from Government on their Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is regularly updated, furloughing remains among the most discussed topics amongst practice owners and managers, and their teams. Mark Harwood from Hazlewoods Accountants and Elaine Fisher, from HR4Vets update their earlier podcasts. Nick Stuart also puts to them some of your most commonly asked questions.
There are two podcasts, one targeted at employers and one for employees.
For further advice and updates, visit Hazlewoods and UK Government.

The coronavirus crisis and the online revolution

Danny Chambers, RCVS Council Member and Founder of Vet Voices.

Danny Chambers, RCVS Council Member and Founder of Vet Voices talks to Jenny Stuart about the increase in online activity he is experiencing and how he thinks the coronavirus crisis will speed up the online revolution for all of us, not just the vet community.

Cashflow in a Crisis

Alan Robinson, Vet Dynamics.

In an economic downturn, protecting cashflow is even more critical than usual. In today’s podcast, Nick Stuart talks to Alan Robinson from Vet Dynamics about this and other measures practices can take to help their business survive the crisis.

Conserving cash flow to protect your business

Mark Harwood, Hazlewoods Accountants.

Mark Harwood, Partner at Hazlewoods Accountants, talks to Nick Stuart about the governments different support packages for business and offers some suggestions as to how you might best protect your business during this difficult time. This podcast was recorded prior to the confirmation of support for self-employed workers.

Since the Podcast was recorded the Government have released further guidance, which you can read about here.

Can Teleconsultations keep your practice running and your team safe?

Susie Samuel, MRCVS

Vet Help Direct are offering their teleconsultation platform free for the first three months, thanks to sponsorship from Boehringer. Susie Samuel explains how it works and why she believes it is the obvious way forward to keep your team as safe as they can be while still caring for your clients’ pets, generating income and offering employment. 

How to make Furloughing work for you and your practice

Elaine Fisher

Elaine Fisher is Senior HR Consultant for HR4Vets, delivered by Eagle HR in conjunction with HCR Law. In this podcast, she shares the latest information she has had with regards to the government support offered to employees and employers via the furlough scheme and other HR issues arising from Covid 19. PLEASE NOTE: There has been further clarification on the government’s scheme for furloughed workers since we recorded this website and it is possible that guidance may change again in response to lobbying or requests for further clarification. We will be posting an update to this podcast shortly. In the meantime, for the latest, please visit this page.

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