With hundreds of records to manage, appointments to schedule, animals to treat and much more, running a veterinary practice is no simple task. Practice management software is there to ease the stress of dealing with day-to-day operations and help you achieve optimal efficiency in your veterinary practice. With so many systems available, how do you choose one?
Before you do anything, put an internal project team together! You will need input from a cross section of staff. This is vitally important as every staff member will use the system differently, and you need to make sure you cover all aspects of the business. This will also help when it comes to implementation, as we know, people can be adverse to change – by making particular team members a ‘champion’ of the system will make the process as seamless as possible, not to mention making your life easier!
Follow these steps when choosing a new PMS:
This will require some research on your part, but it is worth putting in the effort to ensure you choose a provider that will meet all your needs.
Grab a sheet of paper or draw up a table in word/excel. In the left-hand column write a list of requirements you expect your PMS system to deliver. What are the functional requirements you’d like from your PMS to help you run your practice? If you are looking to change provider – there must be a reason why, so ask yourself, why you are looking to change in the first place? Do you require additional services that your current provider is not achieving? In contrast to this, also ask yourself, what does your current provider do well? You want to ensure that if you do change provider, that they match and exceed your current service.
Depending on your priorities and in addition to functionality of the software, you might like to also consider the following before committing to a new practice management system:
Different software packages offer different payment plans. Some might operate on a monthly fee, some have different costs depending upon number of users, some have hardware costs and some have additional installation fees. It’s important to consider the complete cost of the system to decide which is most cost effective for your practice. Remember that if the software provides services such as SMS notifications these could also come at an additional cost – so make sure you factor in on-going costs as well as just initial set up costs!
There are many benefits to choosing a cloud-based system. Not only is your data backed up much more frequently and protected against fire or flooding, it’s accessible remotely, more cost efficient and has a much simpler IT infrastructure than server based systems. Ask yourself, is this provider future proof?
Customer service and training are critical components of practice management software. Some software subscriptions will provide 24/7 customer service phone lines and some don’t – it is down to you to determine how important this might be to your practice.
Once you have established your list of requirements along the left-hand column of your comparison table, write the different providers you’re considering along the top row of the table and see who ticks the most boxes!
Once you have narrowed down your options (using your comparison table) have a look at what existing customers are saying. You can use Capterra which is a review site for business software or check out the individual providers Facebook pages for customer reviews. Furthermore, why not ask your veterinary neighbours to see what they are using?
We would suggest you should narrow down your search to 2 or 3 providers following Step 1 and 2. Invite your top companies into your practice so they can demo the software – ensure the software will deliver the list of requirements you have identified. This will also allow you to experience their customer service first hand. Send each provider an initial enquiry and see who is the fastest to respond, and how prompt and efficient they are in their communications.
As a group of independent vets, Vetsure strongly believe that close collaboration amongst our network will continue to drive us forward as a group. There is definitely no perfect system for every practice but to help identify the key pros and cons of each, we conducted a survey to gather opinions on different PMS systems. Here is a brief summary of just a few:
Ezofficesystems can be hosted via the cloud or locally. The ability to extract and analyse data has been described as ‘excellent’ however their customer service rating had mixed responses from our members. It has a range of easy to use features including online booking, reminders, billing and reporting.
Teleos pride themselves on only working with independent practices, and the system was described in our research as “very flexible” with “exceptionally good customer service”. The software is designed for managing a veterinary practice in Windows and can be configured for cloud-based usage (but local servers are preferential).
Vetsolutions is the largest supplier of veterinary practice management systems in the UK and Ireland. RoboVet has innovative features like online booking, reminders and Dragonfly for handling your digital images. It also offers Rapport for automated marketing needs. RoboVet offers online and face-to-face training. Customer support is only available during business hours. Our research revealed that their customer service response times varied considerably.
In our research, RX Works received good feedback overall, especially for efficient customer service. The software is centred on data capture and helping to keep accurate records. It is available as a cloud or server based solution. RX Works offers online and face-to-face training, plus customer service is available 24/7.
This software is available wherever you need it; Mac, Windows, iOS and Android, and integrates everything you can think of; scheduling, reminders, billing, image storage, records, treatment plans, prescription management and more. easyVet offers online and face-to-face training, and customer support is available 24/7.
CirrusVet is a cloud-based system that operates on any device with a browser and internet connection. They offer flexible contracts, ranging from as low as three months, and there are no setup costs (provided the terminals have an internet connection). Features include diary management, consulting, printing (allows you to print labels and invoices), texting, lab results and reporting. Our research found that customer support is “excellent and personalised”.
This “foolproof” software is fast and cost-effective, and integrates clinical and financial aspects of practice management. However, it is a server based software and runs on Windows only.
Assisi is specifically designed to cater for all practice types including small animal, farm and equine. It is equally suited to server installation or cloud deployment. UK based customer support is available online and via the phone. Features include user definable appointment books, workflow patterns, online booking, stock control, KPI reports, eClaims management and more. Our research showed only positive ratings for both functionality and customer service.
Animana can be used anywhere, anytime and works on PC, Mac and tablets. As it doesn’t require a server, and can usually be run on your existing equipment and there are no expensive start-up fees. Animana is part of IDEXX. Features include automated reminders, communication of marketing campaigns, custom management reports and more. It’s possible to add new staff and new sites at no extra cost. Training is available online and in person, and the customer support is available 24/7/365 via a free hotline.
EzyVet is a forerunner in the cloud-based software market. Research among our members suggests that it rates highly for ease of use, flexibility and reliability. The system is full of features such as: automated invoices, an interactive reminders system, Abaxis in-house lab integration and Xero integration. EzyVet offers a free trial, online and face-to-face training, and the customer support is available 24/7.
VetIT is a cloud-based system with a user-friendly dashboard. It is even available as an app so you can keep business flowing even when you are out and about. The list of features is comprehensive allowing you to send SMS messages, accounting support, client and patient alerts and allows you to take photos to support clinical histories. There is 24/7 support available.
We hope this has gone some way to guide you in choosing a new PMS provider. For full access to this research and more, consider becoming part of the Vetsure network.
We like to think of Vetsure for Vets as a very exclusive club— run by vets for vets. Our main service offerings are Pet Insurance and our unique Buying Group, however we also look to support our members in any way we can. To find out how we can help you, give us a call today on 01707 226672 or contact us online and a Relationship Manager will get back to you.