A Guide to Choosing a Practice Management System – The Basics of a PMS

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A practice management system (PMS) is a significant investment for any veterinary clinic or hospital, so it’s essential to think it through and explore options before you commit to a specific vendor. Choosing veterinary software involves checking out a number of factors.

Type of Veterinary Practice

Purchasing a PMS that is compatible with the focus of your veterinary practice is essential. For example, a companion animal practice may need an easy way to keep a check on the weights of animal patients or the facility to integrate hospital admittance charts with medical histories. X-rays may be an important service in an equine practice, so the ability to save images into patient files for sharing with clients could be invaluable. Livestock practices need to keep up to date with all legislation regarding farm animals, and a PMS that includes all the relevant forms and history of each farm is vital.

Enquire what features the software offers, such as:

  • Billing and invoicing
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Appointment and vaccination reminders
  • Stock management
  • Financial reporting
  • Transferring existing data to the new PMS

Training and Availability

Reputable PMS vendors offer a variety of training methods for practice staff, which may include:

  • One-on-one training
  • Printed or online manuals
  • Online tutorials and webinars
  • Training after the system is live and whenever software is upgraded

As a veterinarian, you are often on call after hours, so you need software support 24/7. Check what type of support PMS vendors offer, and whether their support staff know enough about veterinary processes to knowledgeably help you with software challenges.

Security

Viruses, malware infections and hacking are genuine concerns of computer system users. Find out what security facilities software vendors offer, such as encryption of data, password usage and backups. Strict security keeps your practice details and sensitive material safe and, most importantly, protects the contact and payment particulars of your clients.

Cloud-Based Software

More and more veterinary practices are opting for cloud-based software for a number of reasons:

  • Cost. Using a cloud-based system means you avoid spending large sums of money on new hardware.
  • Seamless upgrades. Cloud-based system upgrades are simple and the cost is usually included in the subscription fee.

Demos

You need to make sure that a PMS is the right fit for your veterinary practice before buying it. Software vendors offer on-site visits to demonstrate their programs, but one of the best ways to test drive a management system is to take advantage of a 30-day free trial of veterinary software. Contact the team at IDEXX Animana to open your free trial account and learn how to choose veterinary software.

Further Reading:

http://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/May-2012/Do-Homework-Before-Making-A-Software-Commitment/
http://veterinarybusiness.dvm360.com/switching-your-veterinary-practice-software
http://www.animana.com/