Californian practice leaps into the cloud after 26 years on a server-based system

Practice Manager Melissa Joyce shares her experience with moving to the cloud and how her hospital has changed since migrating to ezyVet.

San Rafael Animal Hospital team

San Rafael Animal Hospital is a full-service veterinary facility based in San Rafael, California. First established back in 1942, the family-owned hospital is a pillar of the local Marin community and offers a broad range of veterinary services as well as pet boarding and doggy daycare facilities.

In September 2021, after 26 years of using DVMAX, San Rafael Animal Hospital decided to take the plunge and switch to ezyVet. We caught up with practice manager Melissa Joyce to learn more about the transition and find out how the hospital has changed since migrating to ezyVet.

The old server-based PIMS was showing its age

When Melissa took over the day-to-day running of San Rafael Animal Hospital some 20 years ago, the practice ran on DVMAX, a local, server-based practice information management software (PIMS) that was installed in 1996.

For years, the software worked as a functional enough solution. However, as technology and user expectations evolved, the software began to show its age. Transferring records became a significant time sink, while a lack of meaningful updates meant the software simply couldn’t compete with the more feature-rich, customizable solutions that were starting to appear.

“Our old software was essentially a built-out Rolodex - that’s how I would put it,” said Melissa. “It had all of our clients’ information in it, I could print an invoice, and I could run very basic reports, but that was about it. I couldn’t email files from DVMAX; I’d have to pull a paper chart, scan it, and fax it.”

Eventually, its limitations became too big to ignore. Melissa began investigating other options and soon had the opportunity to try ezyVet. The hospital never looked back.

"I was a little bit intimidated by the idea of going from all paper to cloud based. But it's actually been a lot easier than I ever thought it was going to be."

Melissa Joyce

Practice Manager, San Rafael Animal Hospital

A smooth transition to the cloud

After decades of using a server-based, paper-heavy system, Melissa expected there to be a bit of an adjustment period with moving to the cloud. However, a smooth implementation process and the intuitive nature of ezyVet meant the learning curve was gentler than expected.

“You get very used to having that paper in your hand or that chart. It's easy, it's tried and true, it's honest. The problem is that society doesn’t run on paper anymore. I was a bit intimidated by the idea of going from all paper to cloud-based. But it's actually been a lot easier than I ever thought it was going to be,” said Melissa.

San Rafael Animal Hospital vet with dog

According to Melissa, one of the key advantages of transitioning to ezyVet has been the ability to use technology to strengthen the hospital’s record-keeping processes. Customizable shorthand templates enable veterinarians to document patient histories more quickly, accurately, and thoroughly than they could by hand.

“We’ve got three vets at the hospital and they all write patient records extremely differently from one another,” said Melissa. “They’re also old school; they love their paper charts. With ezyVet, I can make custom templates for each vet so they can record their physical exams exactly how they want. They have the ability to use the picklists, which they love, or they can type out a novel if that’s what they really want to do.

"ezyVet’s integration with PayJunction is awesome. I definitely feel like I get to collect more money in a timely manner."

Melissa Joyce

Practice Manager, San Rafael Animal Hospital

Less paperwork keeps the waiting room moving

Like many veterinary clinics, operational efficiency is a key focus for San Rafael Animal Hospital. Migrating to ezyVet enabled the practice to use their time more effectively while maintaining the highest standard of patient care.

“I can do the pre-anesthetic forms from home the night before so there’s less paperwork in the morning. I can send out boarding forms so that our clients can let us know what they want us to do while their cats or dogs are here with us. Clients can look up their clinical record or vaccine records through the online portal. All of these things help keep the waiting room moving, which is good for us as a business and great for our clients, as they don’t have to spend as much time filling out paperwork.”

San Rafael Animal Hospital cat and dog

Reducing missed charges increases revenue

Missed charge capture is an ongoing battle for many veterinary clinics - and San Rafael Animal Hospital is no exception. Thanks to ezyVet’s PayJunction integration, the hospital has been able to successfully reduce its missed charge rate even while contending with the disruptions brought on by operating curbside during the pandemic.

“ezyVet’s integration with PayJunction is awesome,” said Melissa. “I definitely feel like I get to collect more money in a timely manner. We were still doing curbside up until recently, and the number of staff having to run in and out and take payments dropped drastically. ezyVet helped us ensure that nothing was falling through the cracks.”

ezyVet enables staff to capture charges on the fly and have them automatically added to the invoice, eliminating the risk of miscommunication between veterinarians and reception teams and ensuring that all billable products and services are accurately charged for.

Growing with ezyVet

The veterinary industry is evolving. Transitioning to ezyVet has enabled Melissa and her team to work more efficiently, better manage their clinical records, and strengthen their communication channels.

San Rafael Animal Hospital is living proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks. With a rich history dating back 80 years, the team’s willingness to embrace change means that the hospital is now in prime position to capitalize on the opportunities ahead.

"As I like to tell people, it’s kind of like I just went from one of those brick phones with a big antenna to the newest state-of-the-art smartphone with zero in between."

Melissa Joyce

Practice Manager, San Rafael Animal Hospital