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Building a digital veterinary ecosystem

By MWI Animal Health

How an integrated technology suite can help your veterinary practice run more efficiently

Using veterinary practice technology in your practice can reap multiple benefits. Not only can it increase your efficiency and grow your business, but it can also help you more effectively engage with your clients. One of the best ways to accomplish this is via a digital veterinary ecosystem.

Why should you consider a digital ecosystem? Consider this: Research predicts that ecosystems will account for 30 percent of global revenue by 2025. Of that 30 percent, studies show that the health sector — which includes animal health — is going to net $6 trillion in total sales.1

Defining the digital ecosystem

The term "ecosystem" refers to integrated products and services that allow users to meet different needs in one place. One of the most well-known examples of a digital ecosystem is Amazon, which has numerous subsidiaries, including Twitch, Whole Foods Market, Zappos, Kindle, Audible, PillPack, Goodreads, IMDb, and Ring.2 These products and services allow Amazon to meet a wide range of customer needs within its own ecosystem and offer that to people to use, extend, and integrate to solve specific needs.


Elements of a digital veterinary ecosystem

An ecosystem is customizable. For veterinary practices specifically, this involves the following people within that ecosystem:

  • Pet owners
  • Veterinary practice staff
  • Third-party service and product providers

One provider cannot support all problems in this space to satisfy all people and their needs. A provider will need to focus on a subset of needs and build products to address those within the business, the practice, and the home.

For the pet parent, they get access to digital solutions for:

  • Purchasing an insurance package
  • Ordering a prescription for their pets
  • Managing their personal account information
  • Making and managing practice appointments
  • Accessing payment services and options
  • Getting advice on health
  • Taking advantage of loyalty schemes
  • Ordering products for their pets and needs
  • Getting advice and communicating with experts
  • Proactively managing health needs
For the veterinary practice, they get access to digital solutions for:
  • Communicating with their customers for appointments, help, and advice
  • Supporting practice workflows in clinical, referral, and reception
    Running diagnostic testing for follow-ups
  • Providing customer access to payment and insurance services
  • Running their business via accounting and finance solutions
  • Preparing and undertaking treatment
  • Interacting with a pharmacy for prescription requests
  • Referring pets for emergency treatment and specialist work
  • Advisory for customers pre-visit and post-visit to the practice

Veterinary digital ecosystems provide options and value for practices

Leveraging an ecosystem has considerable value. It's not just an ongoing trend — digitising the customer experience and utilising insight are key to optimising your business workflows, enhancing customer experience, and improving staff efficiency and experience. Utilising customer data allows you as a business and practice to provide an enhanced experience to your customers by:

  • Providing insights into your customers and their preferences
  • Automating manual processes such as appointment booking, communication, and payment to improve customer and staff experience
  • Predicting, personalising, and making recommendations for products and services for your customers

Veterinary practice workflows

Let's look at some "jobs to be done" within your business and how digital solutions help improve the process of completing them — such as registration, booking, communication, payment, and problem-solving.

Pet registration
The opportunity to introduce your clients to their first journey into your ecosystem begins with their pet's registration. Providing online pet registration benefits both your clients and your practice by:

  • Automating the account creation process rather than having your staff manually handle the process
  • Providing inflection points to allow you to provide literature to explain to clients what to prepare for when coming into your practice
  • Providing data to allow you to build an automated, personalised plan for the pet parent
  • Providing practice staff with insight into your clients' specific needs and utilising their collected preferences as part of the journey
  • Tailoring a profile according to each patient's circumstances, breed, age, diet, health, and specific challenges
Appointment booking

A digital appointment booking solution can offer your business multiple advantages, helping you to reduce manual effort. It allows you to:

  • Reduce phone calls to your practice by allowing users to book online
  • Automate the process of checking people into the practice using a mobile solution
  • Decrease the number of no-shows by providing the pet parent with reminders and allowing them to change the appointment according to their needs
  • Eliminate double bookings within your practice by reducing manual error
  • Predict workloads for your staff and manage appointments effectively
  • Arrange appointments on specific days according to staff availability
Communication and treatment

Digital communication and treatment solutions within your practice allow you to:

  • Setup workflows and customise them to your practice and ways of working
  • Automate elements of your workflows to save staff time, such as by electronic transcription of clinical notes, automation of invoicing, and templating of welcome messages and post-treatment help
Payment solutions

Digital payment solutions provide you with significant advantages over older on-premise hardware solutions. You can make use of in-app payment options (e.g. Apple Pay and Google Pay), which allow your customers to pay in a variety of different ways. You can complete this outside of practice hours for convenience. You can provide customers with access to structured payment plans to best suit their financial needs over a given period of time

Pet parent problem-solving

Many pet parents have questions, especially when they're first-time owners. Digital solutions here can help you provide your customers with a personalised, efficient experience. You can utilise technology to:

  • Automate the recommendations for educational content to help your customers with their pets' health and behaviour
  • Recommend tailored products and services to your customers
  • Allow clients to place orders for products and services
  • Automatically replenish clients' products (such as prescription drugs)
  • Pet parent digital ecosystem benefits

Pet owners gain significant value from a digital veterinary ecosystem with a range of digital tools and applications to solve challenges they and their pets may face. The experience is more efficient than making phone calls or coming into practice, and they can undertake this at their convenience. They can pick and choose the communication option that best suits them. By utilising technology, they can easily access the right information to understand their pet, their challenges, and their circumstances.

Why practices should invest in technology

Almost everything people do now is digital, and the stats prove it. There are more than 5 billion internet users globally — that's 63.1 percent of the world's population.3 An estimated 7.26 billion people around the globe — nearly 91 percent — use a mobile phone.4

If you want to keep up with the times, utilising technology within a digital veterinary ecosystem is the way to do it. Although it does take an upfront investment, your practice will experience increased efficiency, visibility, and availability and provide an enhanced level of customer service. Happy clients lead to more business and revenue. Most importantly, your practice can serve your clients' needs and care for your patients even more effectively.

1. Atluri, Venkat, Miklós Dietz, and Nicolaus Henke. Competing in a world of sectors without borders. McKinsey & Company. 12 July 2017. Accessed 6 December 2022. Available online at

2. Gillman, Matthew. Everything Owned by Amazon. SMB Compass. 15 June 2022. Accessed 6 December 2022. Available online at

3. Statista. Number of internet and social media users worldwide as of July 2022. 20 September 2022. Accessed 6 December 2022. Available online at

4. Statista. Forecast number of mobile users worldwide from 2020 to 2025. 12 July 2021. Accessed 6 December 2022. Available online at