Editorial: Don’t Lose the Forest (Veterinary Vision) for the Trees (Veterinary Headaches)

by Hunter Little

I want to change gears for a moment and step back from the business of veterinary medicine, whether it be large or small, tech-based or what-have-you. Generally speaking, I’m a big picture person, I enjoy stepping back to see the greater vision that comes together from all those small details and little intricacies. It is very easy, particularly when it comes to small businesses and veterinary medicine (either together or separately), to get caught up in the day-to-day demands. So, for today, I want to be the little voice in your head that tells you to close your eyes, take a deep breath, and think back to the bigger picture (whatever it may be for you, personally).

I ask you to do this because of a conversation I had yesterday with a friend of mine regarding the job-searching process.  She told me how, in her interview, she had expressed interest in taking the position, but wasn’t willing to commit fully because she was waiting for other offers to come in. She spoke about the possibility of a “more exciting offer” coming in at the last minute and not wanting to miss that opportunity, hinting at her underlying indecision regarding her potential career path. I didn’t think too much of her comments at the time, but, for whatever reason, I returned to them later in my mind. I thought about how I might react were I a small business owner, or a practice owner trying to hire a newly graduated vet. I considered how confusing and vexing such comments might be, how that kind of hesitation and noncommittal approach must feel to someone trying to expand their business.

Granted, this is just one example, and, in all fairness, it may seem like I am being a little harsh on my friend. But there is an underlying reality here. These kinds of tasks are the little things that we can get caught up in; the hiring and firing, the daily management and oversight, the training of new staff, etc. Even more importantly, it can be very discouraging to hear that someone you’ve taken the time to interview one-on-one and extend a job offer to hasn’t bought in to your practice and its ideals, or isn’t willing to commit.

I heard a similar story not too long ago from a vet and practice owner, who came away from the experience confused and uncertain about the nature of his practice. In hindsight, all I can say is this: don’t miss the forest for the trees. Do your best to recognize when you have zeroed in too far and have lost sight of big picture; YOUR big picture. Remember, you’re the small business owner. This product that you have put forth is crafted from your vision of how veterinary medicine should be. Take stock of that vision, and if its blocked by a mountain, make sure it isn’t just a mole hill without perspective. I don’t mean this as a preachy, sports-movie-coach’s-speech moment. Rather, I’m simply trying to maintain some sense of perspective in spite of the myriad issues that plague a small business owner. If anything, take this as a friendly reminder to step back, take a deep breath, and don’t lose the forest for the trees.

You, Your Veterinary Practice Software, and The People Who Actually Use It

by Hunter Little

Over the last couple of posts, we have been engaging in a kind of free-form dialogue about your practice’s software and if it really is the best fit for your practice in 2016. Really, I’ve been trying to challenge your digital/technological paradigm, and let you know that it is ok to demand more and expect more from your veterinary software platform. So far, I think it’s gone well (I hope you feel the same. If not, I haven’t given up on you yet). Yet, I think we can do better. To this point, the dialogue has been very two dimensional. What I mean is that it’s been a conversation about you, the practice owner, and your software. But, what about the people who engage with your practice’s software on a day-to-day level (i.e. your employees)? Sure, you probably engage with your software on some kind of a regular basis, but it may not necessarily be to the same extent as your employees, who are engaging with your software with nearly every task they do. Their jobs, assignments, etc. are intertwined with your practice’s software. So, it only makes sense that, at some point, they should be brought into the fold and be included in our growing dialogue.

If you’ll recalveterinary_teaml a post I authored a while back concerning millennials in the workplace, you might remember a point I made regarding the importance of inviting conversation and input. Whether this be in staff meetings, one-on-one teaching moments, or what-have-you, in this day and age it is important to incorporate the voices of everyone involved. Even though this may feel like an unwelcome or uncomfortable exercise, consider this: you, a practitioner, veterinarian, small-business owner, bring a unique point of view to the table. You see things from multiple vantage points, but at the end of the day, you see the bigger picture, the direction you want your practice moving, as well as everything it took to get there; however, despite the importance of your vantage point, it is feasible to assume that, sometimes, you can miss the minutia of your practice. This includes the small, day-to-day details and quirks that make your practice what it is. You may think you know all, and I would suspect that you do, as a person in your position should. But, the boss never knows all. It’s just a fact. Simply put, your position as boss limits your inclusion in the employee paradigm and experience. Therefore, your employees can bring a fresh set of eyes to the dialogue, a different perspective from your own. At your next staff meeting, ask your employees what they think about your practice’s software, and see where the discussion leads.

I pose this challenge to you, in part, because it was these very kinds of discussions that led to the creation of EasyDVM. We found that employees, despite saying they didn’t necessarily hate the old software, had a lot of minor complaints and suggestions for changes and improvements. Issues like having to manually look up and enter services and products for invoices, or having to navigate multiple windows just to set up appointments. When we added them all up, we realized that all of these small issues and complaints were affecting workflow and productivity. At the end of the day, nobody really spoke up because the old software had been around for a while, and it was just the way things were done. Phrases like “the way things are” or “that’s just how we’ve always done it” can be parasitic to a small business. Complacency and acceptance of the norm can lead to stagnation, leeching away at potential growth. It became clear that those who interacted with the older software on a day-to-day basis knew something the higher-ups didn’t. EasyDVM grew out of a desire to rise above this complacency. It is, quite literally, designed hand-in-hand with input from employees at all levels so that it matched up with the needs of those who would actually interact with the software on a regular basis.

So, I once again will challenge to incorporate your employees into the dialogue. Ask them what they think, and see where the conversation leads. It might surprise you.

Veterinary Software Today: What Services Should be Standard?

by Hunter Little

In the last post, I opened up the floor for a discussion about the current state of your practice’s software, as well as the nature of veterinary software in 2016. Today, as we briefly discuss what services should be considered standard features of your veterinary practice software, let’s take a second to frame this discussion in its larger context. I think we can all agree that the current state of technology and software has progressed far beyond its counterparts of ten years ago; even five years ago! As technology continues its ceaseless march forward, our expectations for what that technology can provide should progress as well. What I mean by this is that, in 2016, you should expect more of your technology and software than you did in 2005 or 2010. Services that were once considered new or extra features five years ago should now be expected as standard features. Think of your software like a home: many years ago, certain appliances like refrigerators might have been considered luxuries. Nowadays, we consider such things to be standard features.

Hopefully, that analogy made things a little more clear as we move forward with this discussion. At the end of the day, I want you to feel comfortable and self-assured in knowing that you should expect more from your software; however, having said that, what specific features and services should you expect to come standard with your software? While you may have your own answer to this question, I’ve compiled a list below of some major software features that should be included in your practice’s software. So, take your time, read through the list, and see if what you believe should be standard features and services matches up. Remember, it’s never out of the question to demand more from your veterinary software, particularly in 2016.


Your software should have a calendar system that allows you total control over daily scheduling and appointments of all kinds. This vet_at_computercalendar system should give you the ability to customize scheduling to fit the size and needs of your practice, including different sections for techs and doctors, as well as easy access to patient records and the ability to check-in/out patients.

Medical Records 

You should have access to a system of patients’ files and records for each and every patient. This database should also allow you to add doctors notes for exams and surgeries at any time, as well as general communication notes. This database should also have a built in tracker for due dates on vaccinations, procedure reminders, medications, etc. Lab work and previous medical history should also be available as attachments to patient files, so that a complete and wholistic file is created for each and every patient.

Boarding Calendar/System

Even if your practice does not offer boarding as a service, your software should, as a standard feature, offer a boarding module or calendar that gives you complete control over your practice’s boarding schedule. You should be able to make reservations for any given day, as well as see drop off and pick up dates for each pet.

Reminders/Patient Notifications 

Your software should include the ability to automatically keep track of due dates for a variety of services invoiced to the patient via the patient records (as well as the ability to manually add reminders for patients if need be). Would also be able to easily send reminders to clients through these reminders via email or even printable postcard.


As far as invoicing features, your software should be able to easily create invoices without having to navigate different pages to do so. All your services and products should be accessible to search and select right there on the invoice, as well as the ability to add bundles of products and services for quicker invoicing. You should also be able to access a variety of payment methods without having to leave the invoice. If there is an existing balance or credit for that client’s account, it should be visible on the same page as well. Nowadays, invoicing should be a one-stop, streamlined process.


Your software should include the ability to add and edit certificates that fit the size, scope, and needs of your practice.