Efficiency is a key ingredient in the success of any veterinary practice. And you can’t run an efficient practice without the right practice management system.
If you’ve been running into challenges in your day-to-day operations, it could be a sign that it’s time to consider upgrading your practice management software.
Upgrading your practice management system can have a significant impact on your business and provide you with the tools you need to streamline operations, improve patient care, and increase revenue.
But how do you know when you’re due for an upgrade?
In this blog post, we’ve rounded up eight common indicators that could suggest an upgrade is in order.
1. Your technology is ancient
Practice management systems have come a long, long way over the years. If you’re operating on a traditional server-based or paper-based system, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’re missing out on a bunch of snazzy features that could help you save bucketloads of time. That includes truly game-changing features, such as automated communication, electronic whiteboards, remote accessibility, software integrations, and more.
Not sure if your system is still fit for purpose? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Is your current software system outdated or unsupported?
- Are you experiencing frequent software crashes, slow downs, data loss, or other technical issues?
- Does your current system lack the necessary features and tools to meet your practice's needs?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to consider upgrading your veterinary software. By investing in a modern and reliable system, you can improve your practice's efficiency and productivity, and provide better care for your patients.
2. People are unhappy with the software
Perhaps the most obvious sign that it’s time for an upgrade is to listen to what people have to say about your current software.
Your people on the front lines - the ones who are interacting with your system every single day - know the software inside out. They’re intimately familiar with all of its little quirks and frustrations, and will be more than happy to give you some honest (often brutally honest!) feedback about it. If you consistently hear concerns or dissatisfaction with your current practice management system, there’s a good chance that you’re due for an upgrade.
Your customers are a valuable source of feedback, too. If your practice management software is damaging the customer experience (due to, say, payment processing issues or forgetting to manually send appointment reminders), you’ll undoubtedly hear all about it. Watch for patterns and be sure to take this feedback into account when shopping around for a new system.
3. You’re wasting time on repetitive manual tasks
As staffing issues continue to plague the animal healthcare industry, it’s never been more important for veterinary practices to use their resources efficiently.
That’s a big ask if you’re working with an outdated system. So, if you find that your practice is experiencing inefficiencies in its day-to-day operations, it may be time to upgrade your veterinary software.
Here are some common signs of operational inefficiencies:
- Long wait times for appointments.
- Difficulty managing patient records.
- Staff regularly have to stay late to complete their work.
- Inability to track inventory and supplies.
- Inefficient billing and payment processes.
Modern practice management software can automate routine processes, allowing your team to spend more time on patient care and less time on repetitive admin work. Streamlining your daily tasks drives efficiency, enabling your practice to handle more cases without increasing the workload.
4. You keep missing charges
The average veterinary practice misses about 10% of all charges. That means there’s a very real risk that you could be leaving tens of thousands of dollars on the table every single year.
This can obviously have a major impact on profitability, resourcing, and financial reporting. If you’ve identified a pattern of billing discrepancies in your practice, it might be time to consider a new system.
Some practice management solutions minimize the risk of missed charges by automatically capturing all billable products and services and adding them to the client’s invoice. Not only does this result in increased revenue and a better invoicing experience, but it also helps reduce the manual workload associated with billing processes.
“I definitely think that ezyVet supports our profitability and our numbers clearly show that,” says Kristina Baltutis, co-owner of Elon Oaks Veterinary Hospital, North Carolina. “It’s a lot harder to miss charges with ezyVet than it is with other systems. Everything you do - say, you put through a diagnostic request, or enter a procedure - activates a billing trigger, which helps us reduce missed charges and allows for greater billing consistency.”
5. Your other tools don’t integrate with your practice management software
Do your staff have to manually copy data from your practice management software and paste it into other programs? Find yourself frequently Alt-Tabbing between applications? If so, there’s a good chance that it might be time for an upgrade.
Modern practice management systems can integrate with other business tools, allowing you to create a solution tailored to your requirements. Whether you want to link up your diagnostics equipment, payment processes, or accounting software, an integrated solution allows data to flow seamlessly between applications, eliminating redundant data entry and minimizing the risk of human error.
ezyVet integrates with more than 80 of your favorite business tools. Check out the full list here.
6. Information is difficult to access
Communication issues are another surefire sign that your current practice management system might be getting a little long in the tooth. Paperwork might go missing. Patient progress may not always be clearly communicated between team members. Locating and sharing information, both internally and with customers, might start to feel like a chore.
Here are some other common communication-related symptoms:
- Staff are running around trying to get patient updates.
- Staff spend a lot of time looking for paperwork.
- Miscommunication between team members.
- Patient handovers are inefficient.
- The phone’s ringing off the hook with customer queries.
Upgrading to a cloud-based practice management solution allows every member to access information in real-time from any internet-connected device. Meanwhile, automated communication can go a long way toward enhancing the customer experience and reducing no-show rates.
Using technology to improve information sharing and strengthen collaboration ultimately leads to greater efficiency, better patient outcomes, and higher customer satisfaction rates.
7. You’re struggling to grow
If your practice is expanding, you might experience some growing pains related to your practice management software.
Outdated software may not be designed to handle the increased volume of data and transactions, resulting in sluggish system performance, delays in patient care, and a dip in client service quality. Depending on your setup, your IT infrastructure might require upgrades, resulting in significant disruption and costly downtime.
In contrast, good cloud-based practice management software is designed to grow seamlessly with you. Move to a bigger location, widen your service offering, or launch a second site - whatever growth looks like to you, the cloud helps keep you agile and ready for future opportunities.
For Robert Lower, founder of Optivet, England, scalability was one of the key considerations when purchasing a new practice management solution:
“When I was looking for a management software system, it was really important to me that it could grow with us. We're now looking at setting up a second site. It's going to be a very easy operation to be able to just transfer all of our knowledge and information that we have now deployed within ezyVet to a second site.”
8. You’re making business decisions based on feelings, not data
Most business decisions should be based on data. However, if you’re operating on an outdated system, getting your hands on that data might be easier said than done. Your reporting capabilities might be limited or manual-intensive, resulting in major data blind spots that make it impossible to make informed business decisions.
If you find yourself making decisions based on gut feelings instead of cold, hard data, it might be time to think about upgrading. Modern practice management software can automate your reporting processes, giving you valuable insight into every area of the business at an incredibly granular level. Leverage this knowledge to make strategic decisions, capitalize on your most profitable products and services, and take your business to the next level.
In conclusion, recognizing these signs can be the first step toward elevating your veterinary practice. Investing in a new practice management system isn't just a technological upgrade; it's a strategic move to drive efficiency, foster growth, and ensure your practice remains at the forefront of veterinary care.
Want to learn more about what state-of-the-art practice management software could do for your business? Book a free demo today.