We’re going to go out on a limb and say that IT hardware maintenance probably isn’t at the top of your list of priorities as a veterinary professional.
And it shouldn’t have to be. For many clinics, that’s one of the key advantages of moving to a cloud-based practice management system - hardware becomes the responsibility of the cloud service provider.
However, there are still a few things to consider from an IT point of view before making the switch to the cloud. Here are five key tips to help you prepare your IT system for the cloud.
1. Think about network bandwidth
For the uninitiated, “the cloud” is just a fanciful way of describing the huge network of remote servers that are accessed over the internet to store, manage, and process data. Cloud-based services, then, are services that are delivered via the internet rather than hosted on a local server.
With this in mind, you’re going to need to invest in a sturdy internet connection with sufficient bandwidth to support all your devices before you can think about moving to the cloud. Even the very best solutions will ultimately deliver an underwhelming experience if your connection can’t handle the volume of data being sent to and from the cloud.
Bandwidth requirements will vary from practice to practice. As a general rule of thumb, aim to provide last-mile connections of at least 4 Mbps for each workstation in your clinic to ensure a smooth cloud experience.
2. Don’t skimp on the devices
While a cloud-based system reduces the need for expensive on-premises server hardware, you’ll still need to have reasonably modern devices to leverage the cloud effectively. You need to ensure that all computers and devices used to access the cloud-based system are up-to-date, have the necessary specifications, and are compatible with the cloud provider's software and hardware requirements.
Because cloud-based practice management systems can be accessed from a huge range of devices, you have a lot of flexibility in terms of what your hardware environment looks like. Your front desk teams might require fixed stations with multiple large monitors, while your veterinarians and vet techs might like the flexibility to move around the practice and record clinical notes on tablets and iPads. Similarly, an all-in-one touchscreen computer might be useful for your practice manager to track staff movement and patient progress.
If you’re investing in new hardware, look for devices with the following minimum requirements:
- Processor: i5 or i7 equivalent (the newer and faster, the better).
- Memory: 4 GB.
- Hard drive: Solid-state drives are recommended.
- Monitor: 22-inch screens or larger with full HD resolution.
Remember that you generally get what you pay for when it comes to IT hardware. You might have to pay a bit more upfront for modern, high-spec devices, but the business advantages - workflow efficiency, ease of use, futureproofing, etc. - tend to far outweigh the costs in the long term.
Check out this guide for more information about ezyVet’s hardware requirements.
3. Shop around for the right practice management software
It goes without saying that before you can transition to the cloud you’ll need to figure out which cloud-based practice management solution you’ll use to run your business!
Cloud-based veterinary solutions tend to be more versatile and feature-rich than their on-premises counterparts. Ideally, your system should be able to handle just about every aspect of your day-to-day business, helping you to automate repetitive tasks, centralize client information, and empower your team to work remotely.
You have a few options here, so be sure to take the time to shop around and look for a system that will suit your specific needs. Book a demo today and find out if ezyVet is right for you!
4. Ensure your internet connection is up to scratch
In addition to bandwidth, you’ll also need to consider what type of internet connection you’ll use to run your practice.
On paper, a wired connection is better for running a veterinary practice as it provides a more stable and reliable connection compared to Wi-Fi. A wired connection, which uses ethernet cables, offers faster and more consistent data transfer speeds and is less susceptible to interference or signal degradation from other devices.
To complement your wired connection, you’ll also want a strong Wi-Fi network to meet evolving demand as the nature of veterinary work continues to become more dynamic. Wi-Fi allows your staff to work from mobile devices or laptops from different locations within the clinic, and provides more flexibility in terms of device placement and movement.
Depending on the size and layout of your clinic, you might find it useful to invest in a Wi-Fi router that’s capable of handling both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands. A 2.4 GHz connection provides greater coverage but delivers slower speeds, while a 5 GHz connection provides faster speeds at a shorter range.
5. Make the most of software integrations
Moving to the cloud also gives you the opportunity to integrate with third-party software and create a bespoke system tailored to the unique needs of your practice.
The range of integrations on offer can vary significantly between vendors, so be sure to weigh up your options carefully before making any decisions. Think of your future needs, too. Integration compatibility might not currently be a priority, but that could change in the future as your practice grows or you expand your service offering.
Here at ezyVet, we’re proud to offer more than 100 integrations with some of the world’s leading providers across a range of verticals, including diagnostics, billing systems, inventory management, controlled drug management, client communications, and more.
For more information, check out our full list of integrations.
Powerful, cost-effective, and wonderfully versatile, the cloud has the potential to revolutionize veterinary practices of all sizes. With careful planning and consideration, you can make the transition to a cloud-based system with confidence and reap the benefits of modern technology.
Book a demo today and find out how ezyVet can transform your practice!