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Rural Vets Australia is a specialised ambulatory veterinary practice, designed solely to service the communities and graziers of far western NSW. Founder and principal veterinarian, Sophie Hemley, operates out of a well-equipped mobile clinic that visits client’s properties or rural communities. Rural Vets Australia aims to provide quality veterinary care for both production and companion animal clients who have previously had limited access to reliable services.

Digital tools are helping Sophie to run her business more efficiently and stay better connected to her clients. Rural Vets Australia has also adopted industry-specific digital technology to effectively manage its client‑base and provide veterinary services.

Staying connected

Running a mobile clinic, Sophie spends a majority of her time on the road in rural NSW, with limited or no cellular signal. To support her business, Sophie had a cellular vehicle repeater installed on her Ute to boost and distribute weak 3G or 4G mobile signals in remote areas, increasing her ability to stay connected while on the road. It’s provided Sophie with more reception than before, helping her to keep in contact with clients, use cloud software and access the internet through increased mobile data speeds.

The right tools for your industry

Sophie implemented specialised veterinary practice management software – AcuroVet – to help with appointments, inventory management, patients’ medical and treatment records, medical reports and invoicing. Having software that is specialised to the veterinary field means that Sophie has the right administrative set-up for her business. All data is stored securely and uploaded to the cloud when internet connectivity is available so patient details are available at all times.

“Running the software on an iPad is so convenient to take out to patient visits, and the software has an offline setting which is great for times where connectivity might still drop out.”

Sophie is also offering telemedicine consultations using the Phone a Vet app which allows pet and livestock owners to get expert advice on the go. The videoconference service gives Sophie the opportunity to understand the patient’s history and current issue to help triage the situation, or hold follow-up appointments. Clients can upload photos and videos for the vet’s review ahead of the call to help remove the distance barrier as much as possible.

From word-of-mouth to online

As a start-up business, Sophie relied on word-of-mouth referrals for her veterinary services. As part of her digital transformation, she worked with fellow-regional business, The Articulate Pear to build her business’ online profile through the launch of her website and development and implementation of her digital marketing strategy.

The website showcases Sophie’s vision for her business and the many specialised services provided by Rural Vets Australia. Working with an expert vendor allowed her to outsource design and technical elements to speed up the website launch and let Sophie focus on her job.

I just gave them my initial concept and ideas and they ran with it. I also received a 'how to' guide about using the website, so I can make updates to my mobile clinic dates and locations or other information whenever I need to.

Sophie Hemley

Social media has also helped the business’ brand awareness. In a three week period, her business attracted over 500 new Facebook followers. This was largely driven by running an online competition where entrants needed to share a post and like the Rural Vets Australia Facebook page for their chance to win a complimentary pet check-up and vaccination for pets across a number of rural regions.

Get the help you need

Investing in the right hardware and software up-front to operate a business will save time and energy for business owners in the long-run.

“From a digital perspective, it’s important to have a really good team behind you that know what you need do,” Sophie says.

“Being a vet – that's my skillset, not IT. So make it easy for yourself and get someone else to do research and help find the best products for your business".

Get advice on digital tools that could help your business.

Learn more about Rural Vets Australia.