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Right software, right clinic, right time

By MWI Animal Health

Questions to ask when considering early adoption of new veterinary practice technologies

Front desk staff
Perhaps your existing software needs an upgrade. Or perhaps you realize you need more functionality than your PIMS provides. Or perhaps the clinic down the street just started using an app and you don't want to get left behind. Whatever your reasons, you recognize that now is the time to adopt some new veterinary practice technologies.

Understandably, you might have reservations about onboarding new technologies — like communications platforms or client-facing apps— to your veterinary practice. Will it take a lot of time to implement or onboard? Will pet parents get excited about them? What is their value?

Asking the right questions at the discovery stage can help you uncover the smartest way forward.

Consider these 10 questions as you evaluate and onboard new client communications and practice management technologies.

1. Is your software provider a vendor or a partner?
A vendor simply sells you a product; a partner also collaborates with you on smart ways to use that product. You don't want to work with someone who talks at you; you want to partner with someone who listens to your challenges and offers customized solutions. A true partner understands the unique aspects of your practice and can tailor their offering accordingly, providing not just a product, but also an integrated solution that drives growth and success.

2. Does your technology partner truly listen to your needs?
All independent veterinary clinics face unique challenges. Couple this with the fact that each practice has its own comfort level with new software and apps, and it's clear that cookie-cutter solutions are not the answer to complex problems and customized needs. You should find you can engage in productive and personalized conversations based on your practice's place in its technology journey.

3. How will your partner handle data?
Clearly spell out software privacy policies and oversight as to how you and your partner must use data. Your practice should maintain full ownership of your data. Otherwise, that's a big red flag.

4. Will this technology save my practice money?
Your focus needs to shift from cost to value. Does the software help your practice capture more revenue through services like forward booking and appointment reminders? Technologies that help to drive pet parent compliance, like client-facing apps that let clients set their own reminders for medications and appointments, also add value to your bottom line.

5. Is learning this technology overly complicated?
All new technologies come with a learning curve. What distinguishes the best partners is their beta testing and deference to industry experts when building new technologies. Yes, there is always a learning curve; however, choosing platforms with user-friendly onboarding and continued partnership makes this journey more manageable.

6. How will this technology save my staff time?
How much time does your front desk spend communicating with clients? New solutions can help your messages reach clients through their preferred channels — email, text, postcards, and so forth — eliminating the need to make calls that go unanswered and take up valuable time. Another solution may include allowing pet owners to make self-serve contact updates, taking a task off your front office staff's to-do list.

7. How will this software help me connect with pet parents?
Solutions should offer sophisticated communication capabilities that you can tailor to your client's preferences, filtering options to target the right pet at the right time and providing retention features that help turn clients into loyal fans. Your staff should feel empowered to connect easily with pet parents via features such as two-way text messaging. This way, they can get answers from their trusted veterinarian. Push notifications and real-time information-sharing technology allow you to stay present virtually for pet owners when you can't do so physically.

8. What support can I expect?
After your initial installation, what further training options are available? A collaborative vendor should ensure your staff feels comfortable using the technology to its fullest extent. If your clinic's staff doesn't feel like the experience fits them personally, then it's just another off-the-shelf solution.

9. How will this differentiate me in the marketplace?
Are your existing client communications lackluster? Does the practice down the street have a client-facing app, while you don't? The right technologies can boost your practice's esteem with pet owners and make their experience with your clinic exceptional.

They can also improve how your staff views you as an employer, with software easing burdens on your team and making your clinic an attractive place to work. Labor shortages mean veterinary teams have become stretched. Using technology to smooth demand is one way to support a tired workforce. Ask yourself: What is less paperwork worth? New technology, such as a branded practice app, provides your staff with patient history, clinical notes, and pet owner input all in one easy-to-access location.

10. Why should my practice invest in becoming an early adopter of technologies?
Sure, your practice already has PIMS. However, you need software that goes beyond its administrative capabilities and reduces staff burden. Remember, adopting the technologies that are right for your clinic comes after consultations with a partner who actively listens to what matters to you most.

Adopting new technologies can bring positive benefits to your veterinary clinic, including impacts on staff time, revenue, and relationships with pet owners. Engaging with the right partner who answers your questions and suggests the software that is right for your clinic is critical.

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To help your business thrive today and support your journey into the future, MWI is your partner, improving the client experience along the way