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A Day in Small Animal Practice: Effective use of your veterinary practice management system

What would instantly improve the running of your working day?

A common answer to this question would probably be “more time”, and the solution to this isn’t working harder – it’s working smarter. In this blog, Tony Houghton, managing director of VetIT, will share his expertise as he discusses how a veterinary practice management system (veterinary PMS) can support a typical day in small animal practice, saving time and increasing team efficiency.

Win the morning, win the day

The way we spend the first hour can affect our whole day, and morning is key in small animal practice. Before the front doors have even opened, we’ve had to handover cases from the night team to the day team; establish treatment plans for inpatients; and set up the diary and accounting systems, ready for the day’s appointments and procedures. This may also involve preparing consent forms and estimates for pets being admitted into our care.

It would be highly challenging to run these multiple processes efficiently if it weren’t possible to centralise all this overlapping information in one accessible place, and this is where your veterinary practice management software takes centre stage. Not only will it compile all relevant data neatly, but it ensures that employees can access files and documents conveniently without relying entirely on verbal handover from other members of the team. And once morning consultations begin, your PMS can automate many common processes, such as registering microchips directly with your preferred supplier.

A smart veterinary PMS will make it easy to search through patient files to find required information such as test results, clinical notes, cage location and account updates, with the option to add notes to a client’s file to create a communication trail. Quicker transactions make for happier clients – a win-win situation for the whole team.

Effective rota planning

A fair and reliable rota is so important to employees, that it can seriously harm staff satisfaction if it consistently goes wrong. There are many factors to consider when organising the rota and, of course, it’s more than just managing annual leave. Days off for CPD; scheduled time in the office and for hospital rounds; ensuring a fair balance between consultations and procedures for each team member – it’s easy to see how rota planning can quickly take up an entire morning if we’re not utilising our veterinary management software.

Relying on more analogue methods may also mean that we unintentionally miss vital considerations, such as making sure that there aren’t any clinical equipment clashes in the rota. Thankfully, a veterinary PMS can avoid the headache and save us huge amounts of time by evaluating all this information for us. And there’s no need to panic if there’s a last-minute rota change – a clear, filtered view of the day’s schedule will allow updates to appear instantly.

What’s working, what isn’t?

Once the morning’s clinical activities have settled into a reliable rhythm, it’s time to get head-down in the business side of the practice. We get it, office work may not appear exciting, but developing successful plans and action points brings its own inspiring appeal and your veterinary practice management system can do a lot of the hard work for you.

Assessing key performance indicators (KPIs) can be performed through running reports on the PMS itself. After all, it contains all the data you need, whether that be key financial metrics or measuring which services are your clinic’s best sellers or loss leaders. Collecting informative data such as revenue and invoice numbers can help to form vital business decisions such as marketing campaigns and annual budgets. It can even show us how to best tweak that rota if we find ourselves overrun or overstaffed. Employee appraisals can be aided too by measuring performance KPIs, helping to initiate supportive discussions.

Your data really is gold, and a veterinary PMS can collate this effortlessly, even converting it into Excel for your own analysis.

Accurate accounts

The end of the business day may not bring the day’s close in the world of veterinary practice, but when it comes to performing the daily banking reconciliation, it helps to do this once the doors close or when the last scheduled appointment has finished. Whilst this task can be completed manually, if the receipts don’t reconcile with the books, trying to find the specific error without the help of a PMS can be akin to finding a needle in a haystack. Cue staying late and lots of frustrated sighs!

Completing the end-of-day accounts using your veterinary software makes this vital task far quicker and takes the agony out of locating any banking discrepancies. If there are any errors, the system can help to pinpoint where the inaccuracy lies by tracing client transactions for you. And if there are unallocated payments sitting as client deposits, these credits can be identified, too. Easier still, a clear accounts page displays the financial day overview without the need to run a report.

Saving time for the whole team

We know how valuable time is, and in small animal practice, the pressures of the day can often appear to swallow-up hours in front of our eyes. But there’s no need to waste time completing tasks that your veterinary practice management system can do for you.

By utilising the PMS into the clinic’s daily processes, not only will your team be able to work more efficiently, but profitable business action points and reliable systems will help to ensure the longevity of your practice.

If you’d like to talk to one of our Technology Consultants about how our tech can help your practice, please click here to book a demo.

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