Why veterinary practice management software reports are not enough: Former practice manager tells all

17 min read

A laptop screen overwhelmed with lots of different PIMS codesYou wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t already committed to the health of your practice. 

You know tracking performance is important. You have practice management software that lets you run almost any report under the sun. You might even diligently run those reports every month, recreate your special information searches, and add those new numbers to your giant spreadsheet with 18 different tabs. 

But here’s the thing, if you’re anything like me when I was a practice manager, you’re missing out on the full picture of your practice’s health. Why? Because veterinary practice management software reports aka PIMS reports just aren’t enough.

[bctt tweet=”A little louder for the folks in the back: PIMS reports are NOT enough.”]

Let’s take a moment to break down why this is the case. We’ll also explore how VetSuccess solves each of these problems. Trust me, this isn’t a sales pitch. I just genuinely believe in their products, so much so that I left my practice and joined their team full time in 2019. 

6 Reasons Why Veterinary Practice Management Software Reports Are Not Enough

1. It’s difficult and time-consuming to pull every single number.

Sarah Susut and an animal at her veterinary clinicWhen I was a practice manager, for the first 5 years, this was me: 

Desperately trying to grab a moment of undisturbed time to get “my numbers.” I was often a month behind (at least) and was tracking so many different metrics that, in the end, I really wasn’t tracking anything at all. 

Once my practice started using VetSuccess reports I was able to get all of “my numbers” in one place without having to pull anything. No more running multiple reports or maintaining and updating my gigantic spreadsheet. Just crystal clear, visual representations of the overall health of my practice. I saved at least 4-6 hours a month. 

And we all know that time is the most precious gift a practice manager can receive. 

2. It’s hard to tell which metrics truly matter.

Now you may say “but I’ve already built my spreadsheet and my formulas and I like running my monthly reports and adding the numbers in. It makes me feel connected to the data and helps me really remember the numbers.” Sure, but how do you know the numbers you are plunking in month after month are the right numbers to track growth? 

Consider the following…

  • You are probably tracking your new clients, but are you tracking them against your deceased patients, your returned patients, and your lapsed patients (no transaction within 18 months), so you can truly understand if your practice is growing or shrinking? 
  • Are you tracking if your new clients come back for a second visit within 18 months? 
  • Are you tracking which of your veterinarians has the best compliance rate in each wellness category? 
  • Are you tracking which age group has the most area of opportunity? 
  • Are you tracking your lab testing to exam incident rate? 

The logos for AAHA, VHMA, and WTA veterinary consultantsSince inception, VetSuccess has worked with countless veterinary industry leaders, including AAHA, VHMA, and WTA Veterinary Consultants, plus a dedicated staff of individuals with actual veterinary practice experience. This means that every metric on our reports and dashboards is carefully chosen to ensure you’re looking at the right KPIs necessary for practice growth.


3. It’s unclear whether you’re pulling accurate numbers.

Embarrassing but true personal story time.

For years I had been tracking new clients based on a monthly PIMS report. But when I started using VetSuccess reports in-practice I was surprised that some of my numbers didn’t match up. 

My first assumption was that VetSuccess had it wrong because my PIMS is my PIMS, my source of truth! But no, my PIMS wasn’t “wrong”, it just wasn’t showing me what it said it was showing me. It turns out I hadn’t actually been tracking new clients. I had been tracking new accounts created in that month. 

Not a big deal, you say? What about all the people that never booked an appointment because they were price shopping, or their pet passed away before they booked, or they did come in but not until a few months later? 

The end result was that my active patient base count was off by quite a bit. And I was using that number as a base for goal-setting and other calculations! Whoops.

VetSuccess reports and dashboards not only offer specific descriptions of all metrics, they’re also extremely transparent in how they come by their numbers, often including appendices of who and what makes up a metric. This means you can be sure that what you’re tracking is fair and accurate. 

4. There’s no way to benchmark or compare your practice’s performance.

So you have your numbers from your PIMS reports and you feel confident about what they’re measuring. You’re not only comparing these numbers against the previous months, you’re also comparing them against the same month the previous year. Your numbers are going up and you’re feeling pretty darn good. 

But in actuality, all you’re really doing is comparing yourself against yourself. 

You have no way of knowing:

  • How are you performing compared to your competitors? 
  • How are you performing compared to your region as a whole?

An example of a benchmark that VetSuccess providesIt’s extremely difficult to set proper goals without these key pieces of information. This is where benchmarks come in. 

Since VetSuccess is connected to thousands of practices, we’re able to offer benchmarks throughout our reports and dashboards so you can compare your metrics. Every KPI tells you whether you’re below your regional average, and if so, by how much. 


5. There’s no easy way to make the data actionable. 

One of the areas I struggled with when I first started managing practices was delegating. 

I felt like it took longer to teach someone else how to generate a list of who to call, email, etc. than it was for me to just handle it. Not only is “I’ll just do it myself” a fast-track to burn out, it is also a sure-fire way to completely neglect taking action on all the things you need to.

VetSuccess offers two options for taking action:

1.  Appendices – the DIY hands-on approach
2.  Automated Marketing – the set it and forget it approach

Check boxes animating with green checkmarksMy practice utilized the appendices and suddenly delegating became much easier for me. Monthly, with the click of a button, I had:

  • A lapsing patient call/email list, so we could take action before a client fully lapsed. 
  • A list of which clients hadn’t been forward booked, which allowed the staff to reach out to book and me to see which team members were struggling in this area and needed more training. 
  • A list of every patient that came in during the month that wasn’t compliant for wellness and who their provider was. With this list, my staff could easily send clients targeted emails, which we found to be much more effective than the generic emails most practices send to all clients about the importance of wellness.
  • The ability to track which veterinarians excelled in each wellness area and could therefore teach the rest of the associates.
  • A list of clients who did not have an email address on file.

VetSuccess automated marketing solutions, like RETRIEVER, basically do the work for you. A sophisticated algorithm finds lapsing patients who haven’t visited your practice in 14, 16, and 18 months and automatically sends a series of three emails encouraging them to book an appointment.

This again frees up a significant amount of staff time which is worth its weight in gold.



6. And of course, personal support or the lack thereof…

I don’t know about you but I never talked KPIs or how to measure growth with anyone from my PIMS support team! How to rebuild my species table, yes. How to measure my patient compliance rate, not so much. 

All VetSuccess clients receive a one-on-one report review in which a VetSuccess coach not only helps you understand all of your metrics but also helps you focus in on a few key metrics to work on. 

In closing, go beyond veterinary practice management software reports to get to the next level

These are just some of the ways VetSuccess reports and dashboards far exceed what you can get from your PIMS reports. And it’s not that PIMS reports are awful, it’s just that if you want to take your practice’s performance to the next level, you’re going to need more tools in your toolkit.

I was a good practice manager and I am proud of the work I did helping practices grow.  But I can’t tell you how much easier my job would have been if I had had access at the beginning of my career to the type of data VetSuccess provides. 

I sure would have made some different decisions. Sigh. But those are stories for another day! 


Sarah Susut the author

Sarah Susut is a Product Manager for VetSuccess. She’s able to use her ample experience managing veterinary practices to continuously improve VetSuccess products. She also happens to be quite a singer and can teach you to sing. If you want to ask her about that or maybe veterinary practice management.

Sarah Susut

Sarah Susut

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