As the demand for veterinary services continues to outpace supply, practice owners are left grappling with a dilemma: How the heck can we keep this up?
It’s a good question. You can’t just throw more bodies at the problem because, in many cases, there are no bodies to throw. Just 0.5% of veterinarians are currently unemployed, as per figures from the American Veterinary Medical Association. Of that 0.5%, about 79% are not actively seeking employment.
It’s a similar story for vet techs. Analysis of the US animal healthcare market indicates that an additional 133,000 veterinary technicians will be needed by 2030 to meet projected needs. It will take more than 30 years to reach this target at the current training capacity.
As an individual, there’s probably not much you can do to fix the institutional staff shortage issues that permeate the veterinary industry. But there are certain pain points you can tackle right now using game-changing technologies to make life easier, more efficient, and just all-around better for your team.
In this blog post, we'll explore how investing in the right practice management software can help you create a better workplace, improve employee wellbeing, and help your business stand out in a fiercely competitive labor market.
Increased job satisfaction
There’s only one reason why people get into veterinary work: because they love working with animals. It’s what they’ve trained in, it’s what they’re passionate about, and it’s what gives them a sense of purpose. A study published in 2021 found that the biggest sources of workplace satisfaction for veterinary professionals are related to professional expertise, positive outcomes, job characteristics, and relationships.
The more you can help your staff focus on tasks relating to those sources of satisfaction, the happier and more fulfilled they’ll be. No surprises there.
However, the reality of running a practice means there’s other work to do, too. Some of that work feels decidedly less meaningful. We’re talking paperwork, inventory management, phone calls, pacifying prickly clients - you know, all the little jobs that are more likely to be a source of frustration than satisfaction.
When staff get bogged down in admin work and/or don’t feel empowered to do the work they’re passionate about, morale can quickly start to drop. It’s a widespread issue, with figures from the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America indicating that more than 6 in 10 veterinary technicians in the United States do not feel utilized to their fullest potential. And, of course, people are more likely to go looking for greener pastures when the work ceases to be meaningful or challenging, or it feels like their strengths aren’t being used.
Waning job satisfaction is a complex problem, and one that can’t be solved by technology alone. What practice management software can do is help streamline some of the more dull parts of the job, including scheduling, communication, invoicing, inventory management, and a whole lot more. Alleviating the daily administrative burden enables your people to channel their time and energy into the more meaningful aspects of the job - such as patient care and professional development - and spend less time on paperwork.
Practice management software can also help improve quality of care. Automated appointment reminders, for example, boost client compliance, while ezyVet’s customizable Standards of Care promote better preventive care. Meanwhile, Vet Radar, a premium patient care solution that extends from ezyVet, can help strengthen your clinical processes via customizable treatment sheets, a centralized electronic whiteboard, and built-in fluid and anesthesia dosage calculators.
Given that successful patient outcomes are one of the biggest sources of satisfaction, it’s easy to see how technology can directly contribute to fostering a happier and more fulfilling workplace.
Work smarter, not harder
It’s no secret that work-life balance is precarious at the best of times in the world of veterinary medicine. Over time, taking on additional shifts, staying late with a patient, or neglecting self-care can upset the equilibrium - and, as a result, personal life starts to suffer. According to the AVMA, 40% of veterinarians are considering leaving the profession, with the top reason for wanting to leave being a lack of work-life balance.
Integrating technology into your veterinary practice can be an effective way to tilt the scales back in the right direction. ezyVet provides a wide range of time-saving technologies to help veterinary teams save time, work more efficiently, and ultimately achieve a better work-life balance. Some of these tools include:
- Templates: ezyVet’s powerful templating system can streamline many of your daily workflows, including communications, clinical records, invoices, and more.
- Charge capture: Billable products and services used during an appointment or procedure are automatically captured and added to the client’s invoice.
- Diagnostics integrations: ezyVet integrates with the world’s leading diagnostics providers, including IDEXX. Manage diagnostics requests directly from ezyVet, eliminating manual data entry and automatically capturing relevant charges.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of ezyVet’s time-saving features. For more information, book a free demo.
Finding ways to reduce stress and facilitate better work-life balance is crucial - not only for the wellbeing of the team but for the sustainability of the business. People naturally feel more energized and engaged when they have the time and energy to enjoy life outside of work. That leads to a wide range of tangible business benefits, including lower turnover rates, motivated staff, reduced absenteeism, greater productivity, and more.
Improving communication leads to healthier workplace dynamics
Miscommunication is a common cause of friction in many veterinary practices. Misunderstandings between team members can lead to inefficiencies, fragmented care, and the improper handling of patients, while miscommunication with pet owners can result in decreased compliance with treatment plans, a poor customer experience, and negative reviews.
Modern practice management software is designed to facilitate better communication through real-time information sharing and automation.
- Reduced miscommunication: Clear and documented communication within the software reduces misunderstandings and miscommunications, which can lead to fewer conflicts and a more harmonious work environment.
- Improved collaboration: When colleagues can easily share information and updates about patients, it fosters a collaborative environment where everyone can contribute to patient care and decision-making.
- Less stress: Effective communication tools and streamlined processes can reduce stress levels among staff, as they can easily access information and communicate with clients and colleagues, leading to a healthier workplace.
- Always accessible: Cloud-based practice management software allows staff to communicate seamlessly, share patient information, and collaborate on cases, regardless of where they’re physically located.
Effective communication is an essential ingredient in reducing workplace stress and fostering a supportive team culture. Encouraging open dialogue - both face-to-face and screen-based - goes a long way toward creating an environment where people feel seen, heard, and understood. The result? Better employee engagement, reduced attrition, and elevated team morale.
Finding the work-life sweet spot
Cloud-based practice management systems also offer the flexibility to work remotely or access essential information from anywhere with an internet connection, opening up new possibilities for remote and hybrid work. This allows staff to better balance their work commitments with personal responsibilities and may be seen as a significant benefit for prospective employees who value flexibility.
“I like the cloud-based aspect of ezyVet,” explained Dr. Andrew Newington, Veterinary Surgeon at St Lukes Veterinary Centre, Auckland, New Zealand. “It has also made it easy to log in and work from home - or anywhere, really. From a lifestyle aspect, I’m certainly able to leave work early, pick the children up from school, and then still be able to log in on the computer at home, which makes it seem as if I’m right there in the clinic.”
Check out this blog post for more information on how you can use ezyVet to facilitate new remote working opportunities for your veterinary practice.
Technology isn’t a magic wand. It can’t transform practices overnight and it won't single-handedly revitalize workplace culture.
What it can do is provide your team with the tools they need to work smarter. Streamlining the more repetitive parts of the job leads to incremental improvements across the business. Viewed in isolation, saving a couple of minutes here and there might not seem like much, but over the course of the day, the week, and the month, these efficiencies add up - not only in terms of business productivity, but also in terms of personal wellbeing.
In this way, technology directly contributes to creating a better workplace for your employees. Practice management software like ezyVet can help you improve work-life balance, reduce administrative burdens, increase job satisfaction, and enhance client-focused care. These benefits not only reduce stress within your practice but also help you attract and retain top talent.
As a practice owner or manager, investing in technology isn't just a way to streamline operations; it's an investment in the wellbeing and success of your entire team. If you haven't already explored the possibilities of practice management software, now is the time to do so. Your staff and your patients will thank you for it, and your practice will thrive as a result.