Veterinary software is the key to running a great hospital. There are a lot of different software options that offer different product features. Each software will vary at each hospital, depending on the needs of the hospital. Basic veterinary practice software is used for checking in patients, checking out clients, scheduling appointments and building estimates. Depending on the type of software the database can range from being simple to more complex. I will be explaining three different veterinary softwares and the pros and cons of each of them. PetWare, AVImark and Hippo Manager are the three veterinary softwares I chose to research. Each software is different and have subtle but beneficial features. I have personal knowledge about PetWare because I use it at the animal hospital I work at. AVImark is known for providing “some of the longest-standing veterinary software systems in the world (AVImark,n.d.). Hippo Manager is known for its cloud based unlimited data storage for storing all and any client or pet information. All three softwares are different in dynamic but still strive to make running a hospital effortless.
PetWare is a veterinary software used by the chain of Banfield pet hospitals all over the U.S. PetWare was created by DataSavant. DataSavant was also created by Banfield solely for the purpose of creating and producing top of the line technology. The company made the software to insure excellent patient care. PetWare’s focus is to ” transform pet medical data into knowledge and open new windows into pet health care using the Banfield medical caseload and database (Lewis,2005). The software is meant to provide veterinarians with the best technology, so they can provide the best medical quality. “Datasavant believes in emphasizing wellness, maximizing the Pet-family bond, and preventing disease whenever possible; we believe in treating Pets as part of the family unit” (Lewis,2005). With this being said PetWare offers payment based preventive care plans that are customizable based on the clients preference.
Currently, at the Banfield hospital I work at, Petware is used. The software is easy pretty easy to navigate and use. As of a couple months ago, Petware went through a drastic update. The update was foreign to myself and staff members even with the trainings offered. It still has its glitches sometimes, but the software is constantly evolving to improve. Usually if PetWare malfunctions we are instructed to call Banfield’s corporate office for help. The downside to this is the corporate office is on a different time zone than us, most times a live representative is available to talk after a lengthy wait time on hold and have 9-5 p.m. business hours. Most of the time when I need help with PetWare it’s outside of the 9-5 range. Therefore, I have to wait until the corporate office opens to call. These are all disadvantages and frustrating for the staff at Banfield.
At the end of each night the veterinarians notes and records are saved to the database and are unable to be changed once Petware is closed. The system now is trying to be more client friendly. The clients have the option to sign up for automatic appointment reminders via phone, text or email alerts. Clients’ now can make appointments online with ease. One of the best features about PetWare is that all client files can be accessed at any Banfield all over the U.S. All files are sharable amongst all Banfields. Clients can travel or move with their pets and don’t have to worry about transferring pet information. PetWare can be used only at the Banfield locations. There isn’t a way to open and use PetWare from any outside devices.
Banfield launched an app so clients can easily access pet medical records online at home. As a manager of a Banfield, I personally know that we waste a lot of paper. The company states “We like to print out our exam reports for our clients and have the doctor write notes on them” (Fender,2014). At our hospital most of the clients don’t like receiving a ton of paperwork at the end of a visit. The pros to this software is that its uniform throughout all Banfield’s so client records are accessible at any Banfield. The software has the ability to leave customizable notes on client and pet files. Therefore, the hospital staff can flag the file to alert future staff members that the pet has had a previous vaccine reaction or medical condition. Hopefully with time the software will improve and be more up to date.
Hippo Manager is another software used for small and large practices. The company Hippo Manager, located in Kentucky prides itself on a cloud based system. The design of the software is meant to be simple and easily accessible. Hippo Manager has a cloud based software for holding thousands of patient records. The cloud system also holds and saves patient radiographs. Because of the cloud storage the website advertises “No outages, no downtime. Never any limits on storage, files or patients” (HippoManager). The company wants to provide a software that frees up the veterinarian to spend more time with patients and provide better care. In result, the client will be happy and spend more.
The software is secure with username and password access. You can connect to the software from anywhere and on any device. The system can be easily downloaded for $80 per month. There are hidden fees that make it questionable on if it really is “the cheapest software on the market” (Hippo Manager,n.d.). The overall price increases when a new full time doctor is added to the practice and there is a conversion cost to transfer files to the Hippo Manager. The cool thing about Hippo Manger is the hospital can generate their own coupons and issue gift cards. This software is meant to keep the clients satisfied and updated consistently. For hospital employee’s the software offers unlimited training when updates occur or for new users. The software also has an inventory tool to keep track of stock levels. It doesn’t have any information on if it allows lab work to be automatically entered, which is a huge con for a medical practice. Also like the other softwares the customer service representatives are only available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday with claims of a quick response time. Again, some technical issues happen later on in the day or are important and can’t wait for a representatives window of time. The software is also environmental conscious by going paperless, patient checkin and checkout is electronic and payment invoices are emailed to the client. Checkin, checkout and payment can be processed from any device. Appointment reminders and updates are all done without the use of paper too. The software is always changing and improving by getting updates. The company’s motto is “Spend more time with patients, not on your software” (Hippo Manager, n.d.).Hippo Manger has great ways to get the client involved via hospital newsletters, appointment notifications. Overall, I really like what I researched about the company. The software is savvy and has a lot of cool features for client satisfaction and convenience.
AVImark is my third choice for comparing veterinary software. This software is supposed to maximize the practice by using the latest software. AVImark is used for both business and animal care in the hospital. AVImark has a SOAP tool for vet assistants, technicians and veterinarians to type patient medical notes. This special component allows veterinarians to keep track of diagnostics and therapy. The veterinarian can type a subjective, objective, assessment and a plan based on diagnosis’ and what is observed. Another cool aspect to this software is that veterinarians that perform surgeries can personalize post surgery instructions for each individual pet.
For client affordability wellness plans are established via the software. The clients can build their own wellness plan based on their pet. The plan is paid for over monthly payments and in return a set amount of services are provided. The client has the option to upgrade or downgrade the plan at anytime. AVImark has a cool feature that allows the user to attach a document or picture to the clients file for easy recognition and personalization. The inventory feature is a business key tool. It calculates current inventory and helps make smart inventory ordering decisions. The inventory measures how much stock the practice has and sends an alert if the stock is too low. For the veterinarians it actually calculates the controlled drug substances. AVImark includes other softwares intergrated for client satisfaction. Marketing strategies are based on the information search tool. Within the databases client records can be filtered and based on the group of people, breeds, ages of pets. This way birthday cards, newsletters, Christmas cards and breed specific information can be sent to clients. AVImark has a builtin digital dental chart for easy veterinary dentistry diagnosing.
Henry Schein created AVImark amongst other veterinary softwares. The company states “We provide some of the longest-standing veterinary software systems in the world” (AVImark,n.d.). Henry Schein paired with AVImark to create AXIS- Q. This is the laboratory integration portion of the software. The labs can be transported easily into patient medical records. This software is easily accessible from any device outside of the hospital. Technical support is available via email, online chat and phone Monday through Saturday during normal business hours. The server has data backup services. All in all AVImark seems like a great software. It has cool new features to free up the staff for more serious tasks. I like the whiteboard feature because it allows a user to do multiple tasks on one screen. The inventory tool is used to make a more efficient and cost saving hospital. And an added bonus is the information search tool for a better client to hospital connection. Cons to the software would be the lack of technical support hours. Most hospitals are open outside of normal business hours.
AVImark and PetWare are similar because you can make an estimate and treatment plan for the client. Also, within the software you can record and store lab results. I like that AVImark and Hippo Manger are cutting down on paper waste and send documents and invoices electronically to clients. All three softwares are being used by different hospitals and they all work the same. Some have the latest feature vs. others are simple. Overall, AVImark is my favorite software. It seems like it uses the latest technology and has the best features. The whiteboard feature helps the hospital to be more efficient so everything is managed on one screen. I like that it is customizable, the SOAP notes can be tailored to each pet and a wellness plan can be build depending on pet and clients needs. AVImark also has a worklist tool that allows the creation of post surgery instructions. This would be a great tool at my hospital because most of the surgery doctors have to verbally tell clients what to expect after surgery or hand write medication instructions. This tool maximizes productivity for the time and communication.
The downside to all three softwares is that the technical support is based on normal business hours. I think that all pet software should have 24 hour support. Most of the time I don’t have the time to deal with an update or fixing a glitch until the end of the night which is outside of normal business hours. Both AVImark and Hippo Manager have a built in inventory tool. On PetWare there isn’t an inventory feature therefore, a separate program has to be used. All of the softwares would be beneficial in any pet hospital. The different features of each software are just added bonuses. What builds a great practice is the medical quality, client satisfaction and the efficiency of the hospital. PetWare, Hippo Manager and AVImark can help achieve that goal.
AVImark Veterinary Software. (2017). Retrieved January 13, 2018, from
Fender, K. R. (2014, May 30). Paperless practice at Banfield, The Pet Hospital. Retrieved
January 13, 2018, from http://veterinarybusiness.dvm360.com/paperless-practice-
Hippo Manager – Cloud Based Veterinary Practice Management Software. (n.d.).
Retrieved January 13, 2018, from https://hippomanager.com/
Lewis, H., BVMS. (2005, July & aug.). Medical data numbers that add up to better care.
Retrieved January 10, 2018, from https://www.banfield.com/getmedia/3f4a1ec2-58f7-4464-
Justine Marie Harvey
The Veterinary Office Management Research Project
January 20, 2018
“Body language is a huge part of how we communicate with other people” (Ravenscraft,2014). Communication is key in a busy animal hospital. There are verbal and nonverbal forms of communication and both are necessary for proper communication in the work place. Most of the time at a hospital, the staff is working as a team to provide great customer service, elite animal care and medical quality. Sometimes it is hard to give a message or understand a coworker in a stressful environment. “By developing your awareness of the signs and signals of body language, you can more easily understand other people more effectively and communicate with them”(Body Language: Understanding Non-Verbal Communication, n.d.). The way we talk, walk, sit and stand all say something about us, and whatever is happening on the inside can be reflected on the outside. It is important to work on the way you communicate for yourself and others that encounter you.
The communication in an animal hospital can be difficult with the noise of the environment, working long hours and stressful situations. Therefore, communication needs to be top notch if the practice wants to be successful. I currently work in a hospital and I know how important great communication is, if not the staff and clients will suffer.
From time to time I get a client that has a thick accent or doesn’t understand English. In those cases nonverbal communication helps send a clear message. By using universal hand gestures the pet owner usually understands the directions the doctor recomends. Also, printed out directions, handouts and brochures help the client understand what to expect at home. Types of handouts that are usually given to clients are, what to do if a vaccine reaction happens, after surgery instructions and new puppy care. At my hospital, we can print out the handouts in different languages to make it easy for every and any client to comprehend a topic.
When I am explaining post operative instructions or medications to a client I often use hand gestures too. Usually when I am discharging a surgery pet I am sure to use hand gestures to display at home care. Sometimes seeing how to give the medications instead of just reading the label is easier to understand. Eye contact is key for great customer service and observing to see if the client understands what is being recommended. For example, during a euthanasia, emotional body language and eye contact should be offered to make the client feel comfortable. Eye contact should be used with clients and associates to gain a new or form a trusting relationship. I always make eye contact with the client to make sure they are listening to what I am saying, I end the conversation by asking if the client has any questions so I can go over any unclear topics.
Paraphrasing is a great way to recap what was gone over in the exam room. Usually when I am checking out a client I reiterate what the doctor explained to the client during the appointment. When the doctor leaves the room, paraphrasing also helps the client understand what the doctor went over. At this time, the client usually asks last minute questions. The team thrives on a positive work environment thus excellent communication is required. The entire hospital needs to be on the same page. This will allow the staff to work better as a team. As a manager of an animal hospital I strive to make sure my team communicates well with the clients and each other. I always have coaching conversations with my employees to improve and instill the best communication. In order to be a good listener you have to ask questions if you are in a situation and unsure of what is being said or asked of you. Also, you have to be open to receiving criticism and different opinions. Feedback is great to receive so that one can change themselves for the better. “If you want to become a better communicator, it’s important to become more sensitive not only to the body language and nonverbal cues of others, but also to your own” (Segal,Boose,Smith,2018).
A successful employee should be able to communicate in different ways for coworkers or clients to grasp the message. Sometimes you have to clarify what you are saying by explaining what you want to say in multiple ways. Using an example or offering suggestions can help the other person understand what you are communicating. Discriminations or prejudices shouldn’t be a factor when dealing with clients or even against certain breeds of animal. Positive body language can invite someone to open up and be more engaging during a conversation. In an exam room if the nurse is giving off negative body language the client will not be as likely to return and the pets health will suffer. The same goes for employees, body language should be considered inviting to allow working as a team to be easier. Ultimately, no matter what the situation is by having a positive attitude will allow both parties to get through any communication barrier. Thus, this will cause a positive work environment and allow the team to work more cohesively.