VMX 2020: Four Lessons I Learned in Four Days

    By: Sam Razor, Founder and CEO of Hippo Manager

    Wow!  VMX2020 is now in the books. After a whirlwind four days of all things veterinary, I spent the plane ride home from the conference reflecting on what I learned.

    Lesson #1:  Veterinary professionals are hungry to learn more about cloud, including what it is, and what it isn’t, and specifically what it means for data ownership and cyber security. Some members of our team went to a great session by Camala Bailey and Leslie Mamalis on the latest trends in financial management, and these experts put it best:  Cloud is where everything is going. Hippo Manager is cloud based practice management software, so of course, I agree wholeheartedly with their analysis. We will focus more energy around educating our users on cloud this year. Please watch for more short blog posts and webinars from us on what cloud technology can do to support the veterinary industry, best practices on cyber security practices, data ownership and more.

    Quick tutorial: Cloud is a type of a server that is remote. Hippo Manager uses Amazon Web Services, as do many other major companies, like Netflix, NASA, Pinterest and the Weather Channel. For clinics and hospitals, it means you access your practice management tools and your data via the internet. Veterinary hospitals and clinics that use Hippo Manager do not maintain or administer their own servers to run their software as this is part of their subscription.

    Lesson #2: Dr. Marty Becker shared new Fear Free research that outlines how fear free techniques often improve client loyalty and improve team performance. Hippo Manager has numerous fear free users, and we are going to spend time in 2020 sharing how our customizable software can best support your team in fear free practices. We also want to gather input on what software features or functions could help veterinary professionals implement fear free techniques. Please comment below to let us know what ideas you have!

    Lesson #3: Vet techs and vet nurses are pen thieves. That’s right. I said it. This year at VMX, our staff took a couple of boxes of regular, tried-but-true, plain old Bic pens for staff to have in the booth so attendees could fill out entry forms for the Yeti cooler giveaway. All of the pens vanished by Wednesday. I consulted with several DVMs on this phenomenon, and they confirmed that this is an industry “pen-demic” (see what I did there) and vet techs will often blame the doctor. Anecdotally, we confirm this our experience and it underscores the importance of going paperless. However, all is not lost. To support the unmet needs of vet techs, we will have pens (even better ones) to give away along with our popular squishee hippo at upcoming tradeshows.

    Lesson #4:  While the educational sessions are fantastic learning opportunities, the real value in VMX came from face-to-face time. Spending time with veterinarians, vet techs, practice managers, students and support teams is so important to foster our creativity and understanding of our client needs. I really appreciate seeing industry partners like Scratchpay, ZipWhip, Antech and MWI  and more to discuss how we can collaborate to better serve the veterinary practices. I also enjoy the lighter side of hearing about how a colleague recently took his daughter to a Kelly Clarkson concert (which he secretly enjoyed). More than once, I witnessed a joyful hallway reunion of vet school classmates embraced in a real hug. Simply put, face-to-face communication is the foundation of great relationships.

    Did you go to VMX?  What are your lessons learned? What do you hope to get out of the veterinary conference you plan to attend this year? Post a comment below.

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