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5 Must-have software solutions that will propel your practice to the next level

Article

Take advantage of the latest technology to scale operations in 2022 and beyond

lordn / stock.adobe.com

lordn / stock.adobe.com

The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that more households in the US are home to a pet than ever before. The percentage of households that have dogs increased from 38% in 2016 to 45% in 2020. There are also 1.5 million to 2.6 million more cats in homes than in 2016.1 This surge in pet ownership indicates a need for practice owners to scale up their operations to match.

1. Bidirectional PIMS integration with lab equipment and services

The term bidirectional integration/compatibility typically implies the automation of patient intake and fresh appointment generation, resulting in more efficient front-desk processes and a lower risk of human error.

It is always best to update practice management software to be compatible with a new piece of lab equipment. However, lack of “bidirectional” compatibility between the lab equipment and practice management software can result in staff having to manually input the cost and relevant patient info into the system. This may lead to human mistakes, missing costs for lab services, and incorrect test findings matched with the incorrect patient electronic medical record. Using custom software that ensures bidirectional functionality reduces the need for manual data transfers, lowering the number of failures caused by out-of-date or out-of-sync data.

Features to look for to ensure a bidirectional integration software solution include:

  • Instrument interfacing, barcode scanners, and other portable devices that can help reduce human data entry
  • Real-time syncing of patient information and scheduling availability between health care’s patient management software and the software partners
  • Health Level 7 (HL7) compliance—HL7 is a set of international standards used to provide guidance with transferring and sharing data between various health care providers.
  • Easy access to data on lab workload, performance, utilization, and quality measures
  • Results that can be rapidly disseminated to clients and qualified users, such as public health partners, environmental health partners, and law enforcement, via a web interface
  • An interface that helps merge patient data with lab results coming from health labs (eg, patient management, quality-control batch testing, accessioning, result in entry, inventory, charting, review/release, etc)
  • The ability to address all requirements set forth by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), as well as the APHL software provider report

2. Online pharmacy software that takes the headache out of customized diet plans

Maintaining a large dietary inventory takes up space, time, and money that could have been used on patient care. A staff’s tailored approach to special-order individualized diets for certain patients might even begin to cost the practice money, as managing special-order diets can become time-consuming. On the other hand, clients may take their prescription elsewhere if a clinic doesn’t have inventory in-house.

So how can a practice address the demands of clients while maintaining profitability? Utilizing a PIMS that integrates with an online pharmacy can help provide for clients’ diet needs by sourcing straight from the manufacturer with the original certifications, freeing up time from inventory management tasks as well as physical space.

Software solutions exist that can sync with patient records and the PIMS to automatically check the ingredients and nutritional elements of a particular product against the individualized needs of a patient, such as dietary requirements or allergy issues. This safety-check procedure customized to each pet’s needs can improve client compliance, too, because they can be sure that dietary recommendations have been tailored specifically to their pet.

Utilizing an online pharmacy system can help lower inventory expenses, reduce shortages, and cut down on inventory management time by streamlining and keeping proper records.

3. The right prescription management solution at the right time

Prescription management systems are great, but having one specifically tailored to the clinic is what can take a practice to the next level.

Numerous obstacles come with handling prescriptions. For example, there might be several signature requests on a regular basis for the same prescription orders. There’s always a chance that orders are submitted successfully but that clients receive incorrect dosages or product variations. What’s more, entering order data from the platform into the practice management software can be time-consuming and unpleasant on high-volume client days. Not only can prescription management software alleviate or even eliminate these issues, an online, on-demand, shipped-to-their-front-door experience is what clients ultimately want in today’s market.

Investing in this software can increase workflow efficiency. For example, automated prescription processes eliminate duplication of work, such as the need for multiple signatures for new scripts or refills. Integration with practice management software means less manual input of data. It can also help keep your practice competitive, with product pricing that automatically adjusts to industry averages.

4. Virtual visits with real results

The pandemic certainly accelerated the demand for telehealth and virtual care. In addition, visiting a clinic can be a stressful scenario for some pets for a myriad of reasons. Having custom veterinary telemedicine software is an important way practices can literally and figuratively meet pets and pet owners where they are.

Not only can pet parents reach their veterinary professional via virtual and remote online video consultation and appointment booking tools, but the practice also benefits by getting access to real-time patient health and record data monitoring.

5. On the horizon: artificial intelligence

The application of artificial intelligence (AI) in veterinary medicine appears to be on track to provide pets with the same advancements that have been impacting the human healthcare industry.

For example, more and more companies are increasing the role of AI in veterinary pathology. In canines with cutaneous mast cell tumors, lab testing uses staining methods—mainly Ki-67 staining and the Ki-67 index—to predict survival. However, counting the pigmented cells is a time-consuming procedure. AI image analysis, on the other hand, can produce reliable results in a matter of seconds, giving veterinary pathologists a much-needed boost to diagnostic efficiency. Image analysis powered by AI is gaining traction among specialists and almost surely will find a place in many veterinary practices in the future, powering technology behind the scenes.

Final thoughts

Keeping up with developments in veterinary software is a critical component of keeping a practice financially competitive while maintaining the highest-level patient care. Veterinary professionals should always be aware of custom software that can help them increase patient communication, diagnostic potential, and operational efficiency. Furthermore, integrating high-tech custom solutions into practice saves time and money by reducing errors and increasing productivity and helps ensure high-quality patient care.

Rahul Varshneya is the co-founder and president of Arkenea, a custom healthcare software development company. Rahul has been featured as a technology thought leader across Bloomberg TV, Forbes, HuffPost, Inc, and more.

Reference:

Larkin M. Pet population still on the rise, with fewer pets per household. JAVMAnews. November 17, 2021. Accessed March 9, 2022. https://www.avma.org/javma-news/2021-12-01/pet-population-still-rise-fewer-pets-household

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