For nearly the last 30 years, the notion of going paperless has been at the center of an ongoing dialogue on veterinary business innovation and evolution both large and small; however, the paperless dream has been mostly just that: dialogue. It is certainly hard to argue with the stalwart tenure of a veterinary practice management paper-based system. Like an old friend, the paper-based system has been -for the most part- reliable and steadfast, a constant companion that has seen us through the good and bad times. Yet, paper is also cumbersome, time-consuming, and –something no veterinary practice owner wishes to hear – costly. Either because we don’t yet see the benefits of a paperless system or we simply don’t like change (which is entirely possible and not without its merits in the veterinary practice community), going paperless hasn’t quite yet taken the firm hold so many believe it should. But, I’m here to tell you that going paperless is no longer the hassle it once may have appeared to be. Given the ease-of-use of most current veterinary practice paperless platforms, the increasing demand for mobile-friendly businesses, and the numerous veterinary cloud-based software systems now available, it is nearly impossible nowadays to argue for a paper-based system. As with any comparison of this magnitude, there will always be some give and take. Having said that, let’s get perhaps the biggest detractors of going paperless out of the way.
The difficulty of the transition from a paper-based system to a paperless one is one of the few remaining arguments against going paperless still out there, but quite frankly it’s a talking point that loses ground every day. What I am speaking of is the fear many veterinary practice owners have that going paperless – if they haven’t already- will give way to learning curves and breakdowns in workflow, veterinary clients may become upset as changes occur, inefficiencies will ultimately arise and the flow of business and profit margins will be affected. Granted, it is always healthy to have suspicions and keep a keen eye on anything that may change or affect efficiency and productivity. But, it is 2016, not 2006. The reality is, technological literacy (particularly among the younger generations now entering the workforce in droves) is up; computers and operating systems are no longer foreign languages to the average person. Moreover, the number of mobile users is growing, which means the demand for mobile-based platforms is growing. If anything, the average veterinary client is now more readily prepared for a paperless system than they ever were before. Additionally, the average veterinary assistant tasked with learning the paperless system is more than likely already technologically versed to some degree, making that once daunting learning curve far more manageable, if not nearly painless. Of course, any transition is going to bring with it bumps and hiccups, but this notion that a technological transition is nothing but a pitfall simply isn’t the case in a technologically-versed 2016.
Data security, or the notion that files simply aren’t as secure electronically, goes down much the same route as the transition argument. While a veterinary practice paper-based system requires the physical removal of files (thus making them seemingly harder to steal), they can also be subject to physical and thereby permanent damage. More often than not, there are not multiple copies, so the damage is often irreversible. Additionally, there is the longstanding fear of hackers gaining access to sensitive data stored electronically or files being damaged by viruses or malware. But, once again, this is 2016, not 2006. Nowadays, particularly through veterinary practice cloud-based software, data is backed up through multiple systems to multiple locations. This makes data security far more robust, as well as providing multiple copies of files to reduce to potential for data loss.
Although no argument is ever definitively right all of the time, it would seem that those few remaining arguments against going paperless have lost some serious steam. If nothing else, simply consider the fact that technological evolution over time has given way to the paperless system. It is never a good idea to invoke change for the sake of change. This certainly may have been the case 10 or even 5 years ago, when the notion of going paperless was considered more of a revolution. But now, given the current technological climate, going paperless is no longer a daredevil’s endeavor. Going paperless is now an evolutionary process, an opportunity to let your veterinary practice evolve and progress.
As a sort of bonus, here are a few additional ways that going paperless can benefit your business:
- the access time for veterinary medical records and data, when paperless, is instantaneous
- veterinary medical records can be edited and updated at any time from anywhere
- the copying and sharing of data can occur instantly whenever it is needed
- redundancies and file maintenance, as well as file loss, can be avoided with the help of electronic systems
- going paperless can vastly reduce the amount of space needed for file and data storage, which can, in turn, save money
- the legibility and accuracy of files and veterinary medical records improves when digitally stored and maintained
- the environmental impact seems rather obvious and self-explanatory, but you can learn more here (that may be a little snarky, but I felt that we should focus on the less obvious business benefits first)
EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.