Should you buy or build your custom veterinary practice reporting and analytics?

by By Katie McClean

11 min read

During my early days at VetSuccess, I would speak with veterinary practice owners and managers on a regular basis about the nature of their Practice Information Management System (PIMS) reporting. Common language I heard included, “it takes me hours to pull the PIMS reports I actually want” or “sometimes I think I’m pulling the data I need from my PIMS, only to end up with the wrong metrics, so I had to start over.” These same sentiments exist today, seven years later. 

Conversations naturally lead to whether a hospital owner or manager should build their own custom veterinary practice reporting in order to assess the health of their business, or if a data analytics company like Vetsource should be engaged to do that work for them. 

If this sounds like you, start by asking these questions about your Return on Investment (ROI): 

  • “How much does it cost me to run reports?” 
  • “Am I getting what I need from the reports?”
  • “Can I quickly analyze the metrics necessary for good business decisions?”
  • “How easy is it for me to get the reporting I want?”
  • “Would paying a company for reporting ultimately save time and money?”
  • “Is there anything I can pay for that I can’t get on my own?” 
  • “Would paying for reporting allow me to compare my practice’s performance against others in my area?”

These are some initial questions worthy of consideration when assessing whether buying vs. building custom veterinary practice reporting is the way to go. There are three other areas of consideration that stand out when it comes to the data and reporting at your fingertips.

3 benefits of buying your veterinary practice reporting and analytics 

1. Veterinary practice data is messy

A screenshot of VetSuccess' standardized revenue breakdown in the Practice Overview ReportIn any given practice, transaction codes can be added easily, whenever the need arises. An internal favorite of ours is “Llama Lullabye,” a code that wasn’t used as often as you might think. This ease of adding codes contributes to the messy nature of what you find inside of a PIMS: old, “stale” codes are rarely removed because new, active codes take their place. 

If you compare PIMS codes to the clothes in your closet, it is like buying new clothes every season without ever getting rid of the old items you cease to wear. These items gather dust. But every now and again, you pull out that sweater from 1996 and wear it with pride. Similarly, some of these dust-gathering codes get resurrected when the need arises. 

Companies like VetSuccess account for all of these codes, whether they are used every day or once every two years. We ensure that the revenue associated with any transaction is captured and associated with the correct revenue category, based on the AAHA Chart of Accounts. 

If you build your own custom veterinary practice reporting, you would need to manually update it each time you created a new code or resurrect an old one. This comes with a high likelihood of manual error because humans tend to make mistakes on occasion, and even the best practice manager can’t catch everything.

2. You cannot benchmark your practice against others by using internal reporting alone

An screenshot of the Practice Overview Report benchmarks on a laptopAnother question we used to hear frequently was, “is this number good?” Many practice managers and owners are capable of pulling basic reports from their PIMS, but they’re only able to compare their performance each month against themselves—that’s just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to managing the business of veterinary medicine. 

Vetsuccess reporting evolved to include industry-wide benchmarks across a variety of metrics like the number of pet owner emails on file or the percentage of active patients. Having the ability to compare how well your practice is doing against 3,000+ other practices across the country provides a helpful framework from which to work or make decisions. Every benchmark may not be applicable to your practice, but many can give you insight that just cannot be pulled or built from internal reporting.

3. Some data analysis requires an expert

A screenshot of the veterinary industry tacker on a laptopAsk yourself if knowing and improving a given metric — compliance, for example — will help drive revenue in your practice. Now ask yourself how to pull that metric from your PIMS. Often, you’ll find it difficult to answer the second question. This is where data experts come in. 

A forward booking compliance metric or bonding rate metric are two KPIs that can drive your business forward. Knowing each of those metrics and having your staff work on improving them can absolutely improve your bottom line, though acquiring these metrics easily and quickly month over month certainly requires help. 

VetSuccess has a team of data analysts who work hard to ensure metrics like these are available in our reporting and in resources like our Veterinary Industry Tracker. If you leave reporting and trend analysis to the experts, it gives you and your team more time to focus on your patients and your business as a whole. 

Veterinary practice reporting — buy or build, the choice is yours

Building your own internal reporting may be the way to go for basic metrics that give you insight into how well you are doing versus previous periods. Pulling these reports from your PIMS can give you a feel for if your practice is growing or shrinking, both in revenue and patients, as an example. 

But buying veterinary practice reporting can open your world to a variety of investment returns that are worthy of consideration: time savings, accuracy, ease of use, benchmarking, and expert analysis, to name a few. 

Translating and simplifying data is tough to “build,” which is why we are honored to bring this to the veterinary industry with passion and integrity. We’re definitely on team “buy” … how about you?

Katie McClean

Katie McClean

Katie McClean is the Managing Director for VetSuccess. She manages general processes for VetSuccess and oversees the client services team. She also works closely with veterinary practice groups, implementing the VetSuccess Dashboard as a dynamic and customized data offering for owners and executives. Katie can be reached at [email protected].

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