Vet examining dog

Technology is changing the way veterinary practices operate. And, whether you like it or not, you’re smack-dab in the middle of the revolution.

Here’s the situation.

At the moment, some veterinary practices are clinging to their analogue processes, relying on paper and pen to carry them through an increasingly digital world.

Others - perhaps the majority - have begun incorporating technology into their practice, but still depend on some paper-based processes to perform their day-to-day tasks.

Then we have the trailblazing practices that have embraced the digital wave with open arms. They’re tech-curious, pride themselves on being at the forefront of innovation, and are leveraging technology to drive efficiency across their businesses.

Where do you sit on the spectrum?

No matter what your answer is, you should be aware of a new category of software that’s revolutionizing the way veterinary practices all around the world manage hospitalized cases: patient care software.

What is patient care software?

Up until quite recently, software innovation in veterinary medicine has mostly been about streamlining the administrative side of veterinary care. In the last few years, however, a new category of software has emerged that focuses less on administration and more on patients. It’s called, aptly enough, patient care software.

In a nutshell, veterinary patient care software is a tool designed to optimize the management of animal patients requiring treatment within veterinary practices. Unlike traditional practice management software, which primarily focuses on administrative tasks such as scheduling and billing, patient care software is specifically tailored to facilitate the treatment, monitoring, and communication related to animal patients undergoing medical care.

Challenges in patient care processes

If you’re accustomed to a certain way of doing things, the idea of investing in yet another tool might seem pointless.

After all, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

But that’s the thing: In many veterinary practices, the processes are broken. Or, at the very least, there’s a lot of room for improvement.

Let’s quickly go over some of the most common patient management challenges currently facing veterinary practices. That includes things like:

  • Fragmented communication: From confusion over patient statuses and treatment plans to inconsistent messaging and delays in relaying information to clients, communication lapses can disrupt the smooth flow of operations and compromise patient care.
  • Missed charges: In time-sensitive situations, remembering to bill for every product and service rendered is easier said than done. This can result in undercharging for procedures or missing out on invoicing altogether, which ultimately impacts your practice’s revenue stream and financial health.
  • Inefficiencies: Relying on paper-based processes poses its own set of challenges. Slow updating of patient files, cumbersome storage requirements, and difficulties in managing appointment schedules are just a few examples. The risk of errors due to illegible handwriting or misplaced documents further adds to the inefficiencies of manual record-keeping.

Sound familiar?

The good news is that you don’t have to put up with those problems. Patient care software offers an effective solution to all of those challenges, giving you the tools you need to operate more efficiently, communicate effectively, and deliver superior patient care.

The benefits of patient care software

Patient care software can solve some of the most common problems that veterinary practices face every single day. Here are just some of the benefits of investing in quality patient care software:

  • Communication: Sadly, there’s not enough time in the day to sit down with your colleagues for a detailed conversation about every patient that walks through the doors. Patient care software fosters collaboration among veterinary teams by providing a centralized platform for visually sharing information and coordinating care plans - without anyone needing to utter a word. Communication takes place in real time, ensuring everyone knows what’s going on, even amid the hustle and bustle of daily practice life. e of teamwork and shared responsibility in delivering patient care.
  • Care consistency: Templated electronic treatment sheets in patient care software ensure consistent care by offering structured frameworks for documenting and executing treatment plans. With predefined templates readily available within the patient care software platform, veterinary teams can quickly reference and follow established protocols for common procedures or medical conditions, minimizing variability in treatment approaches and outcomes.
  • Automated billing: Automated billing capabilities provided by some patient care solutions alleviate the burden of manual invoicing and billing reconciliation. This comprehensive approach streamlines administrative tasks and ensures accurate capture and billing for all services rendered.
  • Remote access: Patient care software provides remote access to real-time patient status, giving veterinary teams immediate insights into patient health metrics and treatment progress from anywhere. Real-time access enhances collaboration among team members and fosters continuity of care, ultimately leading to improved patient outcomes.

Common features found in patient care software

Patient care software can vary quite significantly in terms of functionality, so it’s important to do your homework and look for a solution that meets the specific needs of your practice.

Here are some features that you might want to take into consideration as you start shopping around:

Digital whiteboard: A digital whiteboard provides a visual overview of hospitalized patients, displaying relevant information such as treatment status and upcoming tasks. It tracks the patient every step of the way, from admission through to discharge.

  • Anesthesia sheets: Anesthesia sheets help streamline anesthesia management, improve documentation accuracy, and enhance patient safety during surgical and anesthetic procedures.
  • Fluid and dosage calculators: Built-in calculators can be used to automatically calculate a patient’s medication or anesthesia dose, minimizing product waste while maximizing patient safety.
  • Electronic treatment sheets: Patient care software may include electronic treatment sheets, which are used to document and manage the treatments prescribed for individual animal patients. Electronic sheets can also be used to remotely monitor a patient’s vitals while they’re in care post, pre-procedure or during hospitalization.

Conclusion

As veterinary practices navigate the digital revolution, investing in quality patient care software can pave the way for a more effective, collaborative, and patient-centered approach to veterinary medicine.

So, whether you're clinging to tradition, embracing technology cautiously, or leading the charge into the digital era, integrating patient care software into your practice can elevate the standard of care for your animal patients.