Are you tired of struggling with outdated or inefficient software in your emergency or specialty practice? Do you and your team find yourselves spending long hours on manual processes instead of focusing on what matters most—providing top-notch care for your patients? Are you ready to choose a PIMS but aren’t sure where to start?
We hear you, and we’re here for you. In the high-stakes setting of emergency veterinary care, your practice and patient management workflows truly can be a matter of life and death. So it goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that the software you choose needs to be software you and your team can rely on in the heat of practice. To narrow your search for the best veterinary practice management software for your unique needs, ask yourself these 10 crucial questions.
1. Why am I looking at buying software for my practice? What challenges will this solve for the team?
This is the first and arguably the most critical question to ask when choosing software. Why is this decision timely and important?
Here are a few questions to ask that can help you answer that.
- Are you using outdated or inefficient software?
- Are you finding difficulty integrating new technologies into existing workflows and training the team?
- Is employee morale suffering?
- Are client retention rates suffering?
Identify what brings the most friction into your work life so you can easily pick out the must-haves from the nice-to-haves when choosing a platform.
2. Does this platform have the capabilities we need to run more efficiently?
When it comes to veterinary software, one size doesn’t fit all. Before you choose software for your practice, make sure you know what capabilities are most important to help your processes run (at least mostly) hiccup-free.
These can include (but are not limited to):
- Complete practice management: A holistic solution to manage daily tasks at your location(s)
- Seamless user experience and an intuitive user interface
- Enterprise security to keep your client and patient information safe
- Ability to enter and track all patients
- Tools for recording patient SOAP notes
- Functionality for managing charge capture and customer billing
- Financial and productivity reports for staff members
3. What benefits will this platform unlock for our practice?
Your PIMS should unlock several benefits for you, like:
- Improving workflow and staff efficiency/productivity
- Decreasing long hours made even longer by manual processes
- Reducing medical errors
- Improving patient care
- Improving and tracking practice profitability.
Are customers of the platforms you’re looking at seeing benefits like these? Check online reviews, reach out to colleagues, and ask the company whether there are any current customers you can talk with to figure out if your selected platform will provide the benefits you need most.
4. Is this platform designed by someone who knows the challenges of an emergency hospital?
Technology should enable your values and help decentralize decision-making. It’s crucial that a team who shares your values and has been in your shoes plays a key role in developing the platform you’ll implement to run your practice. Take a look at the platform’s website and see who owns the company and how their mission aligns with yours.
5. Does this integrate with our existing instruments and technology?
Across diagnostics, payments, imaging, dictation, and other technologies, how does the platform enable communication between your existing tech stack? Streamlining information between multiple systems is crucial to reduce the risk of platform fatigue and keep your whole team on the same page.
6. Does this platform offer the ability to integrate digital treatment sheets within the PIMs?
In an ideal world, you can keep track of patient history and treat your patients from one place, allowing you to create and manage treatment plans within the same platform where you manage appointments, medical records, and billing. Instead of switching back and forth between different systems, you can access the treatment sheets from within your PIMS.
Of course, not all PIMS platforms offer this feature, so be sure to choose a system that meets your specific needs. When evaluating potential platforms, ask about their digital treatment sheet capabilities, including limitations or customization options.
7. What type of support and training do they offer? How quickly can their team get back to me when I ask a question?
Choosing the right software platform is the first step in a successful implementation. Excellent customer support and training are equally important to ensure your team is comfortable using the new system and can get the most out of its features.
Look for platforms that offer 24/7 chat or similar and have experience supporting and onboarding emergency or urgent care hospitals. This level of support will help you quickly address any issues that may arise, ensuring patient care isn’t impacted.
If it’s not clear from their website, make sure to ask during the demo. A reputable PIMS provider will be more than happy to provide detailed information and examples of their training resources and customer support.
8. When was their latest feature release?
Our industry changes constantly. As new treatments and diagnostic tools become available, veterinary practices have to adapt to stay competitive. That means to meet the changing needs of your practice and the industry as a whole, software providers must keep up with the latest industry developments. Beyond that, they must be agile enough to update and improve their platforms in response to new trends and customer needs.
For example, a new feature that simplifies appointment scheduling or improves client communication can significantly impact your practice’s success.
When evaluating a software platform, look at release notes and feature roadmaps to see how often they release new features and how responsive they are to customer feedback. A company that regularly releases updates and responds to customer needs is more likely to provide a high-quality product that meets the needs of your practice.
It’s also important to note that while new features can be exciting, they should not come at the expense of stability and reliability. Ensure that the software platform you choose is stable and well-maintained, with minimal downtime and a solid track record of uptime.
9. Will their user experience work for my team?
Remember: Your team will use this software every single day, and a clunky or confusing user interface can slow them down and cause frustration.
Look for a platform that is intuitive and easy to navigate, with a clear layout and well-designed features that take into account every member of the team. Even the most technology-averse team members should be able to quickly understand how to find the information they need.
10. Will this platform help me grow my practice?
A PIMS is a significant investment. With the right platform, you can enhance team productivity, increase customer satisfaction and retention, attract new customers, and more. But those are big promises, so choosing a platform that can help you prove a positive return on your investment is essential.
How will the software help you measure ROI? A good practice management system should provide you with tools to track financial performance and productivity, allowing you to measure the impact of your investment in the software. By doing so, you can make better business decisions and ensure that your practice is on a path to growth and success.
Want more tips on choosing software for an emergency or specialty environment? Download our full ebook here.