The benefits of cloud-based veterinary software in practice: All the pros of a server without the cons!
If you haven't already switched to a digital workflow solution, now is the ideal time. Not only will it improve communication within your team, but it will also allow you to maximise the time you spend doing what you do best: treating patients and providing the best possible outcomes for your clients.
Digital solutions come in two varieties: server-based and cloud-based. You may already be familiar with this from your existing PMS. When it comes to veterinary software, though, cloud-based options have a much greater ability to provide the flexibility and accessibility that busy practices need.
But is cloud-based vet software right for you, your team, and your practice? To answer that question, let's start with the basics.
What do we mean by “cloud-based veterinary software”?
Traditional solutions run off of a server in your practice, and the terminals or workstations are directly fed from it, often using a dedicated link. This means that everything is directly under your roof and under your control, which in the early days of the internet was a definite bonus! However, the world has moved on since the early 2000s, and with increased remote working and always-on management, exponentially greater security threats, and a much wider range of hardware available, a more flexible solution will often pay dividends.
Enter the cloud-based systems! The basic principle is the same – you have workstations that access data that is held centrally on a server. But instead of needing a beast of a server sitting in your practice, the servers are distributed around Europe – even around the world – and can be accessed across secure and encrypted internet links from anywhere... If, that is, you have the right passwords and authentications. This means that staff and managers can access their workspace from home, or from a portable device – using a tablet, for example, rather than a fixed terminal or workstation – as and when they need to. It also means that the data is backed up in multiple locations, meaning an accident or ransomware attack won’t wipe out your whole system.
Cloud-based software does require a reliable internet connection, so it will be worth discussing any internet concerns with an IT professional to ensure your connection is fast and stable enough to support your preferred digital solution. It is also recommended to invest in an affordable back-up internet connection, such as a 4G or 5G dongle, a 4G or 5G router, or a SIM-enabled device, to ensure access to the cloud isn’t broken if the primary connection goes down.
Finally, and critically, with cloud-based software there’s no more waiting for a server to be updated, or downtime when a critical component unexpectedly fails. If the cloud servers develop a fault (software or hardware), they are backed up and repaired in real time without interruption. So you’re always on the latest version, even if you haven’t found the time to invite the technicians in and shut down for an hour or so while they upgrade!
What are the benefits of cloud-based veterinary software?
There are countless benefits that come with investing in a cloud-based veterinary management system, including:
A Scalable Solution
Unlike server-based options, a cloud-based solution is almost infinitely scalable, and isn’t limited by the hardware you have on site. If your practice grows, or sets up a new branch, or brings in a new visiting specialist, there are no expensive upgrades of the equipment. Instead, the cloud-based servers take up the slack as and when you need it.
Easy Integration with other Cloud Applications
Cloud-based solutions can be integrated, allowing practices to connect multiple cloud applications and navigate easily between them from whichever device they are using. Plexi’s intuitive add-on veterinary software integrates seamlessly with your PMS, giving teams an incredible level of visibility for overseeing and managing all your patient tasks, procedures, scheduling, billing and more. There’s also no double-entry and no need to duplicate your notes!
Maximising the Efficiency of your Practice
The time savings that can be made by switching to a cloud-based software solution are almost guaranteed to have a direct impact on the quality of care you are able to provide. Plexi allows you to do away with paper hospital sheets and whiteboards - significantly improving your workflow processes - so you and your team will spend less time dealing with piles of paperwork and more time with your patients and clients.
Improving Practice Morale
With many veterinary practices working at full capacity with jam-packed appointment sheets, you and your team may find yourselves with long lists of tasks that need to be completed each day. Overflowing schedules can take a toll on everyone, but as cloud-based software will allow you to streamline every element of your practice, you and your team will find it far easier to maintain a healthy (or indeed “any”!) work-life balance.
An Affordable Solution
Cloud-based solutions such as Plexi offer subscription-based access and can run on a variety of devices. This means that hardware costs can be predicted and planned for, and there's no need to fund a substantial capital expenditure upfront to get started. It may be necessary to invest in some elements of hardware, such as tablets and laptops, to ensure you and your team always have the information you need at your fingertips, but not the expense of a whole server (and its attendant backup, power, UPS and connection infrastructure). Portable devices are often most conducive to a streamlined workflow, as they can be used anywhere within your practice.
Conversely, individual server-based, on-premises platforms typically require a significant up-front financial investment for hardware and its installation. There will also be ongoing costs incurred with individual server-based solutions as both software and hardware upgrades will be required to ensure they continue to be stable and secure. It will also be necessary to plan for unexpected system failures, because getting everything back on track as soon as possible can be costly.
Enhanced Safety and Security
Maintaining safe and secure records is essential to protecting your client's personal and sensitive information. Plexi is Cyber Essentials Plus® certified, and all the data is encrypted in transit and at rest, and held on secure, remote and constantly backed up servers. It also has in-built security systems to ensure no client data is lost or compromised. Additionally, it is possible to set up password protections to ensure only relevant members of your team have access to sensitive information such as client payment details.
It’s also much, much harder to hack; patient, client and billing data in a cloud-based solution are far more resistant to cyber-threats such as ransomware (an increasing threat to even the smallest veterinary practice), as secure archive backups are available for near-instant record rebuilding.
Does Plexi fit the bill?
Workflow-optimising veterinary software like Plexi can be used to eliminate paper documents from your practice and ensure every member of your team has instant access to the information they need on their preferred device. A powerful scheduling, workflow and communication-focused digital solution will transform the efficiency of your practice and ensure you are consistently delivering the best possible outcomes for your patients.
The best examples of intuitive cloud-based veterinary software offer a range of features, including inpatient, outpatient and visit management, sedation and anaesthesia, patient tracking, billing solutions, and procedure management. As such, cloud-based software like Plexi can help to streamline your practice in numerous ways, including ensuring staff handovers are seamless, making schedules easy to create and share, taking care of invoicing accurately and tracking patient progress in real-time. It can also highlight areas of inefficiency in your current workflows, allowing you to make improvements you didn't even know were possible.
Plexi has been designed for veterinary professionals, by veterinary professionals and, as such, offers a range of valuable tools and features that will help you to provide the highest possible levels of patient care at the same time as capturing potentially missed billing items and adding to practice revenue.
If you are interested in finding out more about how Plexi's cloud-based workflow, scheduling and communications software could transform your practice, please contact our team via our website and they will be happy to arrange a demo!