<img alt="" src="https://secure.plan2twin.com/219004.png" style="display:none;">
How veterinary software can help ease the pain if your practice manager leaves

How veterinary software can help ease the pain if your practice manager leaves

No matter how large or small a veterinary clinic is, when a valued employee leaves, it can be a nightmare for the remaining team.

Whether it’s a practice manager or long-time receptionist or a highly skilled veterinary technician, there’s always that one person who keeps things running smoothly. 

The risk is when a disproportionate part of the clinic’s success rests with that individual. Workflows are word-of-mouth; contact information for that key supplier (who always comes through in a pinch) might be a first name and phone number scribbled on a sticky note; and when a client calls and says, “She’ll know what it’s about,” she really does.

And when she (or he!) walks out, all of that knowledge goes with them.

One reason that can be such a nightmare is that, even in 2024, many veterinary practices have yet to make the digital transition, with everything from patient records to inventory management remaining primarily paper-based.

Cloud-based veterinary practice management software can help you avoid that nightmare scenario.

A valued employee’s departure will inevitably affect both remaining staff and clients, but it doesn’t have to result in disaster. The best way to accomplish that is to get critical practice information off of sticky notes and out of employees’ heads and captured in your practice management software.

How veterinary software can keep your practice running smoothly

There are many ways that practice management software (PIMS) can keep your practice running with minimal disruption, even if the departing employee doesn’t give much notice:

  • Upcoming appointments:
    All staff members are able to see which patients are coming in and for what reasons.

  • Patient records:
    With cloud-based software, all patient records are captured in a standardized digital format. Any staff can pull up the records of scheduled patients to review their backgrounds for any important information.

  • Standardized fees and revenue capture:
    PIMS can assign each procedure or treatment a standardized fee, giving veterinarians and vet techs the ability to check off everything they do during a visit so that the client can be billed correctly.

  • Inventory management:
    Not knowing who your vendors are or how the ordering process works can be a big problem. An inventory management integration can provide all of that information at a glance, letting you know how much of each item you have, when it’s time to reorder, and even the name of a contact person at that vendor to contact if you have questions.

  • Digital whiteboard:
    Rather than relying on one or a few staff members to maintain the clinic’s dry-erase board, the whole team can access a digital whiteboard to track upcoming patients, view and prioritize active triage cases, and manage treatment sheets for medications and more.

What if you don't have practice management software?

First, you’re not alone. Many veterinary practices haven’t yet made the digital transition. This is something you’ll need to do soon anyway if you want to keep up with your competition, not to mention regulations regarding data security and controlled substances.

So don’t put off adopting a PIMS. It’s easiest to implement one when things are running on a normal keel. In fact, the process of setting it up is a great way to capture that critical knowledge, and teaching staff how to use the software is a great opportunity to do some cross-training.

In the meantime, though...

Choosing, customizing, and onboarding a PIMS can take some time, but there are things you can do now to protect your veterinary practice from an abrupt departure. And that comes down to making sure there’s always more than one person who knows how to perform the critical tasks of running your practice. 

Here are few steps you can take as “insurance”:

  • Still using paper records? Find out how they are managed.
    Whether patient records are on paper, in a spreadsheet, or organized in some other ad-hoc method, find out how they’re organized. If they’re arranged alphabetically, is it by patient name, or client name? Or are they stored chronologically, from the oldest patient to the newest? And is everything stored in one place, or are things like x-ray images stored elsewhere?


  • Understand scheduling details. 
    Learn everything you can about how your practice manager or receptionist schedules visits. Your receptionist may schedule a longer appointment time for a new puppy visit, for example. In addition to completing a physical to make sure the puppy is healthy, you’ll probably be administering some vaccines and answering a lot of questions from nervous new puppy parents. Receptionists who have worked in your practice a while probably also know to schedule more time for sick visits than wellness checks and vaccine updates for mature pets. If that system is working well, document how much time is allotted for each type of visit. If it isn’t working, take the opportunity to make any adjustments.


  • Identify key contacts at labs and vendors. 
    Does one person do all of the ordering? Or does everybody order the items that are relevant to their positions, with the receptionist ordering office supplies (and paying the phone bill) and vet techs ordering items related to patient care? Different methods may work better for different practices. But no matter which method you decide to use, document important things like the name of the vendor, the name of your contact, how often supplies are ordered (and whether it’s on a regular schedule or as-needed), etc. Finally, find out how vendors are paid. Do they send you invoices, do you pay them online, etc.?

  • Review your fee structure and revenue capture. 
    Sit down with the person who invoices clients and make sure you understand how the process works. For example, do you summarize everything after a visit and have someone enter it into an invoicing program? Or do you work from a checklist? Regardless of how you do it, this is a good time to review your fee structure. Is it competitive, or are you leaving money on the table? Some practices intentionally position themselves as low-cost options for disadvantaged communities, but that should be a deliberate choice rather than something that happens because you don’t know what other practices are charging. It’s also a good time to decide whether you are losing revenue by not charging for simple procedures that, in total, add up to a lot of money.


  • Schedule everyone for a day to shadow the practice manager or receptionist. 
    A day might not be enough to learn everything about how the practice runs, but all exposure helps. And the more employees who see how everything works, the more valuable that combined body of knowledge is. 


  • Ask your practice manager or receptionist to document everything they do. 
    Daily tasks will be easy, but encourage them to also write down less common tasks, like preparing copies of a pet’s medical records for a client who is moving out of your practice area.


  • Find out passwords and logins to all accounts. 
    Whether it’s your invoicing platform or the practice’s financial accounts, make sure you have the login and password information. (And tell your receptionist or practice manager to let you know any time they need to reset the password.) If applicable, make sure you have administrative access to all accounts.

As a side note: Make sure to change login information, including app access, any time an employee leaves. Your practice could be liable if a former employee steals personal information – especially payment information – from your clients.

As important as these steps are, they’re merely a stop-gap. If your clinic doesn’t already have a cloud-based veterinary PIMS, contact us today to get a quote or to schedule a demo so we can show you how it can be customized to fit your specific needs.

Author

Provet Cloud