One of the most common things clients tell us on Live Web Chat is that they don’t know whether something’s an emergency or not - but that they’re worried about calling because if it’s not, they might sound stupid. Equally, one of the most common complaints by vets is that clients don’t know what an emergency is. So, surely in this online age, there is a solution to this problem? With our medical colleagues using novel and innovative technologies like Babylon to triage their patients, can’t we do the same?
The answer, of course, is that Yes We Can - one of the VetHelpDirect tools is the interactive Symptom Checker (you can take a look at it here). A fully automated tool that triages your client and directs them to the most appropriate response - calling you as an emergency, calling you when you’re open, or trying self care. Originally built by a large and wide ranging team of vets, our specialist veterinary algorithms have been powering the VetHelpDirect Symptom Checker for 10 years now! The “open access” system gets used by tens of thousands of people a year and, in addition, it has been installed on 120 practice websites, personalised for that practice, to assist their clients.
However, the system is now starting to show its age (square pastel boxes are so 2000s, don’t you know?), and the amount of scrolling needed to review a longer set of questions and answers, while fine on a “traditional” desktop computer, is less suited to a world of touchscreen devices. More importantly, we’ve incorporated this year’s update cycle into the algorithm and the output texts, so the Symptom Checker is now the most advanced we’ve ever fielded! Instead of a simple text box containing a few “choice points” about each symptom, the user will be presented with more comprehensive advice on what to do now, how to transport their pet (if appropriate) and a brief list of likely causes. The aim is that the Checker will function more as a comprehensive “one stop shop” of advice on what to do next if an owner is worried about their pet, horse or farm animal.
Just as now, we will be making the Symptom Checker available to the general public on our own website, but also available (with editable colour and design features) to be hosted on your practice website, where it will match your branding and design language. The interface and graphics have been comprehensively overhauled, and the content updated, ready for a new generation of animal owners.
The Poisons Guide has been given the once over as well, and is also using the new customisable and mobile friendly architecture. At the moment, it’s only for dogs, but there will be a cat section coming soon, so watch this space!
We’re proud to announce that the new systems have now gone live! So, if you think your practice could do with a boost, your OOH staff need respite, or even if you want to keep more non-urgent calls within the practice, then get in touch and learn what our New Symptom Checker and Poisons Guide can do for you!
The Symptom Guide is available as a stand-alone tool for your website, or as part of the Education Package, along with the Factsheets. Our team will be more than happy to talk to you about any and all of our services - just get in touch!