Blood tests at IDEXX Reference Laboratory

In the age of smartphones, pet microchips, and cloud computing, ordering reference lab diagnostics with a paper form is a little like writing out paper cheques to pay your employees: it was probably the only option when you first opened your practice, but today it just seems like a roundabout way to burn daylight.

One good rule of thumb for accurate and efficient practice management is that if it’s digital, it should stay digital.

reference lab paper forms

Photo by Camilo Rueda López via Flickr under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Every time you copy information from a computer screen to a sheet of paper or back to another computer screen, you’re spending precious minutes on an extra task that ultimately just creates more desk clutter and invites errors. Once upon a time this was the only way to do business, but you and your patients will be glad to hear that the modern veterinary practice has better, faster, and more efficient options.

Integrating Practice Management and Diagnostics for Ultimate Efficiency

Keeping your reference lab processes digital and seamlessly integrated reduces the kinds of errors that crop up in manual data entry, and reclaims valuable time that you can spend in the consultation room. That’s why modern, patient-centred practices are increasingly choosing practice management systems that connect their practice and patient information directly with their external reference labs.

practice management paper forms

Photo via Wikimedia Commons under CC0 public domain.

At Cuffe Vets in Clapham, United Kingdom, their three-vet practice regularly orders more than a dozen tests a day between their IDEXX in-house analysers and the external IDEXX reference labs.

“We use IDEXX a lot. Even though we’re only three vets, the internal machinery gets used six or more times daily, the external labs probably at least another half dozen times a day. Integrating this with our practice management system helps us offer the best possible standard.”
-Dr. Guy Darbyshire, Cuffe Vets

If your practice management system isn’t integrated with an external reference laboratory like IDEXX, that process probably looks something like this:

  1. Open Fifi’s patient file.
  2. Find the necessary lab order form.
  3. Complete the order form, including all necessary patient and client details.
  4. Make a manual record of the order.
  5. Send the sample and order form and wait for results.
  6. Go back to Fifi’s patient file and manually enter the results.
  7. Share Fifi’s results with her owner (without any past results to compare against).
  8. Don’t forget to reorder those lab forms!

Does this look hauntingly familiar? Don’t worry – there’s a better way to keep your customers happy and reclaim some desk space while you’re at it.

Integrating your practice management system with your external reference lab helps your clinic clear the many logistical hurdles of yesteryear, preventing breakdowns in the long chain of communication between diagnostic labs and pet owners.

Many of your colleagues are already working with IDEXX Reference Laboratories to ensure their patients’ health. If you’re like them, integrating your diagnostics with IDEXX’s own practice management software will have your clinic running like a well-oiled machine.

IDEXX Reference Lab Integration and Animana: A Match Made in Heaven

Speed and accuracy of lab results can impact customer loyalty and patient health, and are also crucial for preventing disease outbreaks among animals and humans. That’s why the same company that provides your in-house lab equipment and SNAP tests is always using innovative technology to improve the efficiency of your diagnostics and keep pets, vets, and people healthy and happy.

idexx reference laboratories

Many vets are already familiar with VetConnect Plus, the platform for ordering tests and viewing results from IDEXX Reference Labs. By using VetConnect Plus (VCP), vets and technicians are able to not only view the diagnostic tests and results of an individual patient, but also to see contextualised summaries and trends in that patient’s health, placing VCP on the cutting edge of diagnostics technology.

vetconnect plus animana integration

With VetConnect Plus, diagnostic results are given in the context of the patient’s medical history, helping you identify patient health trends with speed and accuracy.

That’s one of the great advantages of working with Animana: with a single click from within the patient file, you can order diagnostic tests from your IDEXX Reference lab.

animana idexx reference labs

For clinics using VetConnect Plus to order from the IDEXX Reference Laboratories, the Reference Lab button within the patient file in Animana allows you to quickly order tests without ever changing screens.

The ordering module pops up within your Animana patient file, conveniently listing the most commonly ordered tests and procedures first and further organising them by disease, system, or category. Simply select a test, click ‘Order’, and your IDEXX Reference Laboratory will automatically receive the order information.

idexx reference lab integration vcp

By the time you click ‘Order’, your IDEXX Reference Lab has already received your diagnostic request.

Integration with IDEXX Reference Labs is one of the features of Animana that injects the most speed and efficiency into your practice. When you turn your practice management system into a one-click shop for all things diagnostics, your clinic will enjoy all the benefits of  IDEXX Animana, such as:

  • Accuracy. No manual data entry means fewer errors and more reliable diagnostics.
  • Speed. Integrating patients and their diagnostics on one screen reclaims the time you used to spend clicking between windows or walking back and forth from the fax machine.
  • Efficiency. Entering and re-entering the same data over and over isn’t just error-prone, it’s a tedious use of valuable time. Once you quit repeating work, you’ll notice a smoother workflow in your clinic.
  • Better-informed medical decisions.  Integrated diagnostics gives you a complete picture of your patient’s health over time, helping you spot trends and concerns in your patient’s health at an earlier stage.
  • Superior technology. Between Animana and its integration with IDEXX reference labs, you’ll be working with state-of-the-art software. Your diagnostics information is available inside and outside your clinic, on your computer or your smartphone, and it’s all coming from IDEXX’s industry-leading diagnostics equipment.

Dr. Darbyshire at Cuffe Vets says that the main benefit of integration in his clinic has been time and headache saved.

“It makes our workflow quicker. When we process the order, every single test that’s available from IDEXX pops up as soon as we go into the screen, which saves us time on physically searching for a test. The process from then on is quite simple.”
-Dr. Guy Darbyshire, Cuffe Vets

Check out what our other customers are saying about reference lab integration and the other parts of Animana that keep their clinics efficient and their patients healthy.

Curious to see what seamlessly integrated diagnostics looks like in your clinic?

Let one of our veterinary systems specialists come by and give you a no-strings-attached demo of Animana and a glimpse into the future of practice management.

If your clinic isn’t yet taking an integrated approach to diagnostics, you should consider shopping around for a practice management system that will seamlessly integrate with your external reference labs.

Already using Animana and haven’t set up your IDEXX Reference Lab integration yet? Existing Animana customers can check our Knowledge Base article on ordering IDEXX Reference Lab tests in Animana, and can always give us a call at Customer Support if you need help getting set up.

The veterinary industry is is changing rapidly: a few years ago vets never dreamed of diagnostic results with complete medical histories dropping into their patient files overnight while they slept, and in a few more years it’ll be hard to imagine a time when diagnostics and practice management were anything less than seamlessly integrated.

Want to stay up-to-date without spending extra hours behind the computer? Just subscribe to our email newsletter and we’ll keep you posted on the latest in veterinary practice management and all you need to know to run a successful practice with happy and healthy patients. We spend our time caring for your practice so you can spend yours caring for your patients.