Monday, December 17, 2018

Alexa, Call The Vet! VCA & Amazon Team Up To Automate Services

No need for a laptop. Just say, "Alexa, call the vet!" So we all know Alexa can turn on the lights, read us bedtime stories from Kindle books, accidentally send private messages to friends and order groceries on Amazon. But now the smart speaker has a new trick. If you're a VCA client, try saying, "Alexa, call the vet."

VCA and Alexa have teamed up to offer services that used to require a computer, or at least a telephone. Now, if you're tired of listening to your vet's on-hold recording, being able to simply say "Alexa, call the vet" could be just what the (cat) doctor ordered. 


'Alexa Call The Vet And Make An Appointment'


 But nothing is as simple as it seems. You can't just say   "Alexa call the vet and make an appointment. 

Apparently the only requests she understands are "Alexaopen VCA," "Alexa, ask VCA when my cat is due for vaccines" or "Alexa, ask VCA to book an appointment for my cat."

 Brendan Lynch, VCA's vice president of digital strategy  says the company wants to make "every interaction 
between pet owners and our animal hospitals as convenient and easy as possible."

That would also include the app VCA began offering before Alexa came on board. Like other vets' apps, VCA's lets clients schedule appointments, access their cats' health care information, receive reminders and personalized cat care tips and chat online with a vet 24/7 if they have questions about their cats' health.


Cat Care With Your Phone


For those of us who like to do anything and everything possible with our phones, there are other ways to automate cat care.

For instance, you can control some timed feeders with your phone. One even lets you talk to your cat, dispense treats and play with your cat using your phone. 

My cats would probably freak out if they heard my voice coming from a self-feeder. And since they don't have dry food, those phone-controlled gadgets wouldn't work for us anyway. But I do like the idea of an app that would let me access my cats' health care records and make an appointment without having to listen to that tedious on-hold recording. I think I'm going to download my vet's app right now! 




15 comments:

  1. I wonder if we're the only household that doesn't have Alexa, although I must admit it seems pretty cool!! An app to dispense food wouldn't work for us either because Jack doesn't have dry. There have been many times I've been on hold with the vet so long I lose the will. The practice I go to doesn't have an app. I just checked out of curiosity and they do have a form you can fill in to request an appointment and then they call you back. Don't see how that's much of a time saver though! Seems like they're a bit behind the times and they are a country wide chain. Surprising!

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  2. We don't have Alexa either, and my cats definitely don't want one now that they know it could be used to call the vet!

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  3. I can see how it could be helpful for people who have Alexa, but we don't have one. Fortunately my vet's office has 3 people who work the front desk and phones, we never have to wait very long to talk to a real person.

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  4. I do not have Alexa nor a smartphone. I love a simple life but am blessed to have a vet who I can email, they remind me by email of appointments, plus her entire medical file is online which I can access if necessary. I like my life that way.

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  5. LOL. We don't have Alexa either! My vet now does quite a bit with text and email, which I like.

    I am thinking about trying one of the ones that dispense treats and lets you talk to your cat through your phone. We have three cats - one is deaf so she wouldn't hear my voice anyway, the other might be a little confused by it, but our big guy would love it and it might keep him out of trouble (AKA pestering the other two) while we are out of the house.

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    1. If you get one, could you let us know how the cats like it. I'm really curious about it.

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  6. This is very interesting. Our former dog was tested for Cushings Disease. He had several of these symptoms. Although it turned out he didn't have it, I never quite understood what it was all about. You did a much better job than our vet!

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  7. We have Alexa, and our mom talks to her all the time! She even talks back. LOL I don't know how I feel about her making a vet appointment with Alexa, though. But I bet she'd love it!

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  8. Hmm... okay that's hard to remember. I know if I had Alexa (which I don't) I wouldn't remember to say all that. Knowing me I'd just call and make an appointment and set a calendar reminder on my phone. but it's nice to know Alexa can do this too! My my technology is something else.

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  9. After hearing that an Amazon Echo had advised one person to kill their foster parents I have a way to go taking this particular device seriously.

    The Internet of Things will be massive in the future and affect us all in a very positive way so seeing vet companies and practices taking the future seriously is encouraging. I would say that it really needs to be worked through in depth with worldwide veterinarians not just USA vets who often declaw for profit (which devalues a lot of them in my eyes at least).

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  10. I love technology but I think I like the idea of it more than I actually use it - I don't have Alexa or any smart gadgets/appliances. My iphone is as high tech as I get. My vet is old school too - no apps.

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  11. We just got Alexa, and I'm sure I'm not aware of even a fraction of what she can do. Too bad we don't use VCA, but it's still awesome that those commands are available.

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  12. I don't have Alexa yet, but I continue to be amazed at all the things it can do.

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  13. As tempting as it sometimes seems, Alexa does not live here (yet)! But, wow, that is pretty cool! It's just amazing to me what technology can do today!

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