Archives Offers

best practices for veterinary practice management

Best Practices for Veterinary Practice Management


You’ll learn:


  • Get actionable insights on great veterinary practice management.

  • Learn the best ways to reduce no-show appointments.

  • Find the best time management tips for veterinary practice management.


  • Discover the best practices for improving your client experience.

  • See the most negatively impactful mistakes of practice management and how to avoid them.

  • Get helpful insights for driving veterinary profitability and more!



Excerpt


Introduction


Did you know that about 70% of homes in the US have pets? This means approximately 90.5 million families and 210 million people live in a household with animals.


The rise in pet owners' numbers means more business for veterinary practices. However, dealing with many clients and patients can pose various challenges. Practice managers may find it tricky to meet the needs of all pet owners.


It may also be hard to keep up with various industry trends. These include new treatment methods, technology, marketing techniques, and customer acquisition.


Managing such issues and ensuring that your practice offers high-quality services can be time-consuming. It may also require more money, increasing overhead costs and reducing the profit margin.


Fortunately, managers can apply different methods to ensure proper control and high-quality services. This ebook will explore the best practices for veterinary practice management. It will also discuss how these measures can help you maintain more pet owners and keep your employees happy.


Chapter 1: Manage Your Finances


The lack of proper financial management is a significant issue in most vet practices. Without the right plan, you may invest in ventures that don't generate enough revenue. For example, you may get expensive imaging equipment requiring excessive maintenance, and it'll take longer to recover the money spent.


Implementing the proper financial management strategies can help you avoid such problems. Here are a few tips that you can leverage.


Budget and Track Finances


Do you find it hard to account for all funds spent in your vet practice? It is challenging to determine how much money the clinic makes within a specific period? If yes, it is time to budget and monitor how you use funds.


First, determine how much income the clinic generates each day, week, and month. You can get this information from your billing or accounting software.


After that, calculate the average annual revenue. If you receive donations from organizations like animal shelters, activist groups, and your clients, you may include them as part of the available funds.


Project your expenses once you assess how much money the practice earns and receives from other sources in a year. The items that you can include are:


  • Medical supplies
  • Equipment purchase
  • Equipment maintenance
  • Salaries and wages
  • Utility bills like water and electricity


When calculating expenses, you should include those related to patient care, including data processing, printing, and maintaining health records.


Another item to add to the list is the cost of buying vet practice management software. Include fees for solutions with a subscription-based payment model.


After you determine all expected costs, compare them against the projected income. This way, you can assess how much profit the practice is likely to make in a year. You may then identify ways to increase the profit margin, such as lowering a few expenses without affecting the quality of services.


Budgeting for your vet practice has many benefits. First, it allows you to identify shortages and develop ways to boost income. Second, you can use the budget to do regular audits and see if you are working within the proper limits.


Avoid Debt


Debts can complicate financial management in a vet practice. They can reduce your annual revenue, depending on the charged interest rate, and you also need to budget a specific amount for repaying the borrowed amount.


While buying equipment on loan and borrowing funds can help you grow your clinic, such practices can also affect growth. You will need alternative income sources to clear the debt without enough revenue.


Failure to do this can reduce credit scores and in some cases, cause business closure. Some financiers may also auction your equipment to recover their money.


Avoid debt by relying on your practices' revenue as the primary source of finances. If the business is not doing well, seek donations and devise other methods to make money. Examples include selling customized pet tote bags and having premium treatment plans.


If you must borrow a loan, it's best to invest it in a venture that will bring in more money. For example, buy imaging equipment to improve service delivery and attract pet owners to your clinic. Alternatively, use the funds for a marketing campaign to generate more leads and boost conversion rates.


Get Affordable Software


Adopting digital solutions makes work easier and streamlines management. With vet practice software, you can easily manage images taken during a diagnosis and collaborate with other vets. Such tools also enable you to back up your files and secure them for an extended period.


While digital solutions help, they may increase costs if you are not careful. Before partnering with a provider, determine how much they charge for their software, and inquire about other undisclosed costs, like subscribing to advanced features.


Once you identify the buying costs, look at the software's maintenance needs. How often do you need to update the app? Does the provider require you to pay for upgrades? If the solutions need specific hardware, how regularly do you need to service it?


Answering these questions will help you assess the long-term cost of each software. You may then select a solution that won’t lead to significant expenses.


A vet practice may have multiple departments, depending on its size. Clinics with many branches or clients often need more employees to manage the workload and treat patients. When looking for vet practice solutions, prioritize those with more management features.


For example, if you need accounting software, get one that supports reporting and data security. The tool should also enable integration with your invoicing and billing solution. If you need imaging software, get one featuring an integrated DICOM viewer and off-site archival.


Buying software with many features allows you to reduce costs. It also simplifies management because employees will need fewer tools to complete their work. 


Chapter 2: Invest in Updated Technology


Running a vet practice without technology is a nightmare. You may need more employees to check in with your pet patients and bill their owners after treatment. Attending to one patient might take a long time based on the diagnosis methods used.


Investing in technology is one of the best practices for veterinary practice management. This move simplifies work and allows you to earn more revenue by serving more patients in a shorter duration.


Get Diagnostic Imaging Solutions


Diagnostic imaging is a significant pillar of vet practice management. This technology enables you to take images of pets using less-invasive devices. You can then use the produced files to examine a patient without printing anything.


Simplify diagnosis and offer timely treatment by investing in imaging solutions. During the search process, look for a tool to streamline image management. The software should also enable you to share files with pet owners.


Image reconstruction is a feature to look for in a diagnostic imaging tool. It enables you to convert 2D images into multiple-plane ones. The feature also simplifies analysis and makes it easier to identify health conditions with fewer tests.


Other aspects to look for in diagnostic imaging software are:


  • Off-site archival
  • Authentication
  • Integration
  • Reporting
  • Image retrieval
  • DICOM and non-DICOM file sharing


Managing many vet practices can be tricky, especially when in different locations. Even with the right tools, diagnosing patients can be slower due to the limited number of radiologists.


Adopt imaging software with collaborative features to ease managing multiple practices. After that, hire several technicians to conduct tests and share the files with the available radiologists. This move will help lower the cost of processing images and mailing them.


It also simplifies patient management by reducing diagnosis delays. Another benefit of an imaging tool that supports teleconsultation is it strengthens your team and gives them access to veterinary specialists.


Get Veterinary Practice Management Software


Vet practice management software helps you deal with everyday clinic activities. For example, it simplifies checking in patients by avoiding hard copy files. It also enables you to capture patients' details and use the data for critical decisions.


As a practice manager, you must get a solution that matches the size and needs of your practice. Determine the best software by conducting a survey based on service delivery. To start, assess how much time a patient needs for their appointment. After that, identify the time-consuming processes and get software solutions to shorten them.


The next step in the search is consulting your team to identify complex and tiresome procedures. Using the provided feedback, determine if you can ease work by adopting efficient practice software.


While conducting such surveys may help you pick the right tools, it can still be challenging if you don't have enough IT knowledge. Consult industry experts to determine the key features that you need in management software.


Things that they might suggest include:


  • Appointment booking
  • Soap notes
  • Reporting
  • Secure chat systems
  • Online patient portals
  • Integration with electronic health records software
  • Insurance verification


An appointment reminder is a critical feature that experts may recommend in veterinary practice management solutions. It can help you reduce no-shows and prevent time and resources wastage.


Sometimes, it may be tricky to get a solution that includes all your required features. Prioritize what you need based on the main challenges in your practice. You can then use this information to identify a tool offering the most desirable aspects.


Adopting the proper vet practice software will centralize operations. It also facilitates communication with pet owners, helping you build long-lasting relationships. Another benefit of these tools is securing data and ensuring compliance with various regulations.


Chapter 3: Keep Clients Happy


According to research, about nine in every fifteen dissatisfied clients tell others about their experience. However, only 4% of those unhappy with your services will provide feedback.


A significant number of dissatisfied pet owners can affect management in many ways. First, your employees will spend more time addressing concerns and calming agitated clients. You will also need alternative methods to attract more people to the veterinary practice.


Read on for essential and unique strategies to keep pet owners happy with the offered services.


Hire Friendly Staff


Employees reflect a vet practice's beliefs, values, and mission. If you don't have the best team, you may lose clients to other clinics. You will also spend a great deal of money conducting surveys to determine the primary issues.


Before adding an employee to your team, use various methods to determine suitability. For example, conduct a comprehensive interview to assess how they interact with other people. Ask questions about their previous work to gauge if they maintain good work relationships.


Since you may not be able to gather all the information that you need directly from the candidates, use alternative means to learn more about them. One ideal strategy is contacting their references to inquire about the candidates' interpersonal skills.


Questions that you can ask include:


  • Did pet owners like the services that the candidate offered?
  • Were there any complaints about their work ethics?
  • How did the candidate approach work-related conflicts?
  • Was the candidate patient with clients?


Getting answers to such questions from someone who worked with a prospective employee simplifies narrowing your choices. It also allows you to learn the candidates' strengths and determine if they will be helpful in your vet practice.


A thorough recruitment process will help you get efficient employees. Still, it's vital to follow up regularly to determine how new hires get along with your current team.


Also, ask pet owners to fill out feedback forms anonymously and rate employees who serve them. They can leave general feedback and/or recommend necessary improvements.


Don't Keep Clients Waiting


Many pet owners squeeze their schedules to bring their animals to your vet clinic. If they don't complete the appointment within the expected time, they must postpone other activities.


Unfortunately, clients are likely to leave your practice and opt for other facilities in your area if you keep them waiting. They may also provide negative reviews, scaring away other people interested in your services.


Improve time management in your practice by using fast and reliable systems. These will reduce the time needed for billing, writing invoices, and diagnosing patients. Efficient systems also simplify check-in and checkouts, which will improve pet owners' satisfaction.


Double-booking is a critical issue that leads to time wastage in many veterinary clinics. This problem occurs when your employees schedule multiple patients to see one vet simultaneously.


When you double-book, you may have to postpone one appointment. However, if the patient has an emergency, some employees will need to work overtime and attend to all pets scheduled for that day.


Get online appointment booking software to prevent such issues and keep your clients happy. Such software will notify pet owners of the available slots to help them select a suitable one based on their schedule. You can also create a separate category for emergencies, allowing clients to bring in their animals within the shortest duration possible.


Tracing patients' medical records can be time-consuming without proper organization. This issue may also cause appointments to last longer than predicted, frustrating clients.


Before leaving your clinic, prepare for the next day's appointments by ensuring that all files are easily accessible. Alternatively, report to work an hour or two before the first session to assemble all needed items.


Respond to Concerns


Your clients may have questions about their pets' health, which don't necessarily need booking an appointment. For example, some may need information about suitable diets and signs of food allergies. Others may require advice about controlling specific behavior like aggression or anxiety.


It's crucial to respond to all inquiries from your clients for better satisfaction. Use chatbots to answer frequently asked questions.


Designate several customer care representatives if you have many practices or serve a large area. Such employees will provide detailed and specific answers to all questions and concerns. They may also help you identify the information that you need to clarify about the vet clinic or services offered.


Other benefits of customer care representatives in a veterinary practice include:


  • Improved client loyalty
  • Better publicity
  • Higher operation efficiency
  • Simplified client management
  • Lower churn rates
  • Higher revenue generation


Pet owners often require an expert's advice during medical emergencies. For example, when a dog suffers a leg injury, the owner may need help offering first aid before bringing in the pet for treatment. Having emergency numbers enables you to provide your clients with reliable support.


Include such contacts on your website for easier access. Write them on the merchandise that you give or sell and other documents, like brochures and newsletters. You should also ensure that you have an employee ready to promptly respond to such calls.


Chapter 4: Educate Pet Owners


Pet owners can make mistakes that affect their animal's health due to the lack of knowledge. For example, they may feed them toxic food and drinks, causing digestion problems. Others may give the pets unprepared or unsanitary foods, leading to infections.


Unfortunately, patients may overwhelm your team during outbreaks if your clients don't know how to care for their animals. Lack of information also increases inquiries and reduces the time available for service delivery.


Here are various strategies to educate pet owners and prevent health issues.


Upload Content on Your Website


Websites are cost-friendly tools to educate pet owners and improve practice management. Research to determine the topics that your clients may find informational and helpful.


Then, write detailed and engaging blogs to provide the needed information. You can add a search bar on the website to help visitors quickly find posts.


Since not all pet owners will visit your site frequently, though, notify them whenever you upload content. The message should include a direct link and a brief description of the discussed topic. This practice will increase page engagement and collaboration and show your clients that you care.


As you create content for your veterinary practice website, target a large audience, not just your clients. Optimize the post for search engines by including keywords and phrases — geo-target them with location-specific words. You may also optimize the pages for local searches in search engines like Google.


Other search engine optimization tips that you can use include:


  • Reduce website load time.
  • Upload content consistently.
  • Link back to reputable sites.
  • Use informational meta descriptions.


Ensuring that your content reaches a larger audience can effectively establish your practice as a reputable company in the veterinary field. It also increases awareness about your services with less effort. These aspects will ultimately make it easier to manage marketing and lead generation.


Since keeping your website active and researching the best topics can consume time, consider outsourcing these services.


Contact marketing companies to determine how much they charge. After that, find one offering quality services within your budget, and schedule when to create and upload content based on your goals.


Leverage Newsletters


One way to educate pet owners and your target market is through newsletters. Set up a suitable schedule for creating these, preferably once or twice a month. Select the items that you want to cover over a specific duration.


Topics that you can explore include:


  • Care standards
  • Hygiene and grooming
  • Training tools and methods
  • Food toxicities
  • Pet products
  • Socialization tips


Another topic that you can discuss in newsletters is managing health issues. You can provide more information on common conditions among your pet patients.


Have special editions during outbreaks to notify pet owners of the signs to look out for and what to do if their animals have particular symptoms. The documents can also include prevention tips and ways to protect other animals from contracting the condition if it is contagious.


Email is the most effective way to share newsletters with your clients. However, you may still want to upload the PDF versions on your website to give other interested parties easy access to the information.


Issue Pamphlets


While handing out pamphlets is a traditional way to advertise or pass information, it’s still quite effective. Create leaflets with basic but detailed information about specific topics. Use short sentences for explanations or bullets to make it more interesting.


You may also include visuals with fun facts, statistics, or other critical information that you want to pass across. More tips on creating a veterinary practice pamphlet include:


  • Avoid jargon and complex language.
  • Use images of your veterinary clinic.
  • Include contact details at the bottom.
  • Use eye-friendly font sizes and styles.
  • Use captivating headlines.


Once you complete designing the pamphlets, print them and place them in strategic areas. For example, put some at the doorway for pet owners to pick when entering the facility. Place a few in the waiting room to educate your clients and keep them busy before their appointments.


Another strategic area to place the leaflets is in the vets' full clinics. This will allow the experts to provide clients with a reference when discussing various topics. Vets can also issue specific pamphlets to pet owners after diagnosing their animals.


Conduct Seminar and Webinars


Seminars and webinars are suitable ways to educate pet owners who visit your veterinary practice. You can include other interested parties by sharing joining links on your social media pages.


Select the most appropriate topics to discuss in the workshop, and research extensively. Then, create a detailed presentation, breaking the matter into several subtopics. Experiment with various content formats, such as word documents, slideshows, and videos.


Once you have the needed information, compile it and set a date for the workshop. Ideally, select mid-morning or early afternoon hours on weekends to ensure that you reach a large audience.


Conducting seminars and webinars can positively impact vet practice management. First, it allows your audience to recognize you as a reliable source of information. This aspect can prompt attendees who are not your clients to enroll pets in your programs.


Marketing a vet practice is currently challenging because there are many service providers. If prospective customers find you too aggressive, they may avoid your clinic. On the other hand, if you don't use the right strategies, you may lose your current market to competitors.


Seminars and webinars are effective ways to market your services without being overly promotional. Such workshops provide value to the audience while informing them about your services. Leveraging these marketing and educational methods ultimately generates credible leads.


This aspect will reduce pressure on your marketing team and help you generate more revenue. Another benefit of the workshops is that they position you as an expert, increasing the number of referrals and recommendations.


Simplify Veterinary Practice Management with Asteris


Handling operations in a veterinary clinic can be tricky without the proper methods and tools. Implementing these best practices for veterinary practice management will solve critical problems.


The measures will also reduce costs, enable you to monitor spending, and keep your clients happy. Proper practice management will eventually deliver results by increasing your market size.


The Asteris team understands that imaging is vital in diagnosis and treatment. They have comprehensive software to help you manage and secure images. The solution also enables you to simplify work for veterinarians through teleconsultation and off-site access to files.


Asteris Keystone has advanced image reconstruction features to speed up service delivery. It also improves diagnosis accuracy and saves your clinic from legal battles.


Here at Asteris, it's our goal to help veterinarians make sound medical decisions with ease, clarity, and confidence by giving them the tools and insights that they need to optimize the way they work.
If you're ready to stop feeling like there's not enough time in your day, we can help you optimize your imaging processes and the way you work. Contact our specialists today to get started!



diagnostic imaging

Benefits of Modern Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging


You will:


  • Discover the advances making medical imaging more efficient.

  • Take a close look at the advance DICOM viewer more and more veterinarians are using.

  • See how veterinary health imaging is evolving and some future advancements.


  • Get a precise list of improvements made to diagnostic imaging and their impact.

  • Learn about how vets are finding a better way to work through improved DICOM systems.

  • Discover how sharing and collaborating on images has become seamless for veterinarians and more!



Excerpt


Introduction to Medical Imaging


Long before there were X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and many other imaging techniques, healthcare workers had no way of viewing the insides of their patients’ bodies. They had to rely only on their clinical skills to diagnose illnesses and monitor disease progression.


All of this changed with the discovery of medical imaging, which refers to the process of visualizing the interior of a body without using a surgical procedure. The purpose of this is to aid in the clinical analysis of the person or animal that the imaging is being done for and possibly improve the medical intervention that will be offered. It enables physicians and vets to view the internal organs and tissues that are usually hidden behind skin and bones, making it easier to detect when things have deviated from normal. This makes the processes of diagnosing and treating certain diseases much more straightforward than before these imaging techniques were created.


Evolution of Imaging Modalities 


The first medical imaging modality to be discovered was the X-ray. It was discovered in 1895 by a German physicist named Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen. Like many of the discoveries made in those days, he discovered the X-rays accidentally while performing different experiments. In fact, the “x” in the name was due to the unknown nature of the rays at that time. It was not until many years later that scientists discovered the nature of the rays, their association with ionizing radiation, and their harmful side effects.


Today, much more is understood about X-rays, and scientists and radiologists have come up with ways to reduce and prevent the harmful side effects while still allowing them to be used. In some places, X-rays are referred to as radiographs.


Following the discovery of X-rays, other imaging modalities were discovered. In the 1920s, fluoroscopy was discovered. A couple decades after that, in the 1940s, X-ray tomography (the forerunner of CT) was discovered. The 1950s saw the advent of ultrasound scans, angiography, and nuclear medical imaging modalities. CT was discovered in the 1970s, and MRIs were discovered in the 1980s.


All these different modalities have different functions and specific situations that they are best suited for. Some are ideal for viewing bones, while others are better for viewing certain types of tissue injuries. 


Types of Imaging Modalities 


There are two major groups of imaging modalities, and they differ by the kind of radiation that they produce, which is determined by the amount of energy that they produce and their position along the electromagnetic spectrum.


Ionizing radiation


The first group is those that produce ionizing radiation, like X-rays. This means they can alter some of the molecules in the body cells. They exist on the higher energy end of the electromagnetic spectrum. Prolonged exposure to this may cause damage to the skin or tissue and can even cause different kinds of cancer. Examples of medical imaging modalities that make use of ionizing radiation include CT scans, positron emission tomography scans, fluoroscopy, and nuclear medicine procedures.


Non-ionizing radiation


As a result of the side effects associated with ionizing radiation, newer imaging modalities that do not use ionizing radiation have been developed. These non-ionizing radiation methods exist in the lower energy range of the electromagnetic spectrum. They do not have enough energy to remove or alter the molecules in the body cells, though they are known to produce heat. Examples of medical imaging modalities that make use of this include ultrasound scans and MRIs.


Introduction to Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging 


Veterinary diagnostic imaging is the application of medical diagnostic imaging in veterinary practices. Previously, veterinary doctors had to rely solely on their clinical skills to diagnose and treat their patients. The sensitivity and specificity of these diagnoses were low, and there was the risk that conditions would be undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, or diagnosed too late. With the introduction of imaging, there have been many improvements and breakthroughs in veterinary medicine. In turn, it has resulted in marked improvements in screening, monitoring, and diagnosing diseases in animals. Improving the diagnostic capabilities of veterinary doctors has improved the quality of the treatments that they can offer.


The development of dedicated veterinary diagnostic imaging modalities has been slower than what has typically been seen in human medicine. It is only in the last thirty years that significant improvements have occurred in this area. Prior to this, only traditional X-rays produced on film were available. Now, there are digital X-rays, ultrasound scans, MRIs, laparoscopic methods, nuclear medicine functional imaging, positron emission tomography and single-photon emission computed tomography, and thermography.


In addition to the improvements in diagnostic capabilities, these methods are desirable because they are not invasive, they do not alter or worsen the disease process, and they do not cause any unacceptable discomfort for the animals.


Digital Images


After they were first discovered, X-rays had to be captured on special media called “radiographic films.” Much work went into creating these films, and the X-rays had to be done using specialized processes and in specially designed spaces to make sure the films were properly captured.


In the last twenty years, the use of films has been on a decline, and most X-ray and other radiological imaging studies are now done digitally. 


Advantages of digital images 


There are many benefits of this use of digital images, including: 


  • Image protection: One problem with physical films was that they had to be stored under specific conditions to preserve the integrity of the images. Failure to do this would result in the films degrading over time. With digital images, there are no physical copies of the films, so they can be better protected, especially if data safeguards are used. Also, issues such as aging of the images are not encountered with digital copies.
  • No need for storage space: Digital images eliminate the need to find space to store the films, and when the images are no longer needed, they can simply be deleted, with no effects on the environment.
  • Image modification: Digital images can still be edited or manipulated after being captured. Different software can be used to enhance parts of the images, zoom in or out, or generally just work on the image as needed. This is not possible with conventional films. Additionally, conventional films needed to be developed with special chemicals using special methods in darkrooms to prevent damage to them. With digital images, none of this is necessary.
  • Rapid transmission: Digital images can be sent anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds, and if the sending platform is a good one, there will be no difference in the quality of the image being seen by the recipient. Conventional films had to be sent using physical mail or transferred from one place to another so the people who needed to view them had access to them, and this would cause delays in diagnosis or treatment. 


Processing and Storage of Digital Images 


After the images are recorded, it is essential to store them in a way that they can be retrieved for future use. There are different ways of storing images, including:


  • Locally in a computer: While this is convenient, it does not allow multiple people to have access to the images at the same time, unless they all have access to the same computer. You have to send the image to each person who wants to use it. Another disadvantage is that if your computer crashes, gets damaged, or has any issues, and there are no backup copies of the images, they may be lost forever.
  • On transferable devices: This includes devices such as CDs or flash drives. These devices can be distributed to all those who need access to the images, and they can then copy the images to their own computers or laptops. It allows for more sharing options than images that are stored on a local computer, but it can still be limited, especially when the people who need access to the images are not in the same local environment.
  • Remotely: The images could be stored within a cloud or remote server. The advantage of this is that it can be accessed by multiple people with server permission. This is the best and most secure way of storing the images because they are not bound to just one computer or device.


Introduction to Image and Workflow Management Systems 


In modern-day veterinary practices, digital images play an important role, and creating systems that can manage how these images are captured, worked on, stored, and disseminated is a critical part of practice workflow management. Workflow management is the process of identifying, organizing, coordinating, and monitoring tasks or assignments to reach a predetermined goal. Thanks to the technological advancements of the twenty-first century, there is now a variety of software available to help with the creation and automation of workflows. Having the right workflow management software can turn a good office or practice into an amazing one. This is true across every industry, including veterinary. By streamlining the processes within the business and eliminating redundancies, good software can improve the efficiency of veterinary practices in astronomical ways.


As a practice owner or manager, you know that keeping your business operations running smoothly is a major part of your role. You can do this by performing workflow optimization, which improves the organization of an office or practice via processes that reduce costs, improve efficiency, and automate various recurrent tasks. Before beginning this process, though, a thorough assessment of the practice’s needs should be conducted. This will ensure that the implemented interventions will improve existing processes and reduce redundancies in others.


Veterinary workflow optimization is crucial to any practice because it helps create a work environment that is streamlined and hassle-free, reducing chaos and making sure that communication between all relevant parties proceeds smoothly. In the long run, veterinary practice workflow optimization will help reduce the time spent on various daily tasks, reduce costs, improve the efficiency of all the parties that utilize the workflow station, enhance record-keeping, save time, and improve communication between the office manager, specialists, radiologists, referral partners, other facilities, and even clients.


Since image management forms a core part of your practice, much consideration should be put into selecting the right image management platform for your practice. This is where a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) becomes essential.


Introduction to the Asteris Keystone PACS


A PACS is an automated system that optimizes the storage, retrieval, and reporting of radiology images, enabling them to be in a digital format that is accessible from multiple locations. Modern PACS can process images from various imaging modalities, including computed tomography, X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasound. These images are stored using a standard file extension called digital imaging and communication in medicine (DICOM) that enables all the files to be stored in a central location. These systems are invaluable for veterinary medical imaging, and they are important for refining and optimizing the workflow in practices. Therefore, selecting an appropriate veterinary PACS software is crucial for any veterinary practice, and much care should be taken during the selection process.


The Asteris Keystone PACS is a complete end-to-end solution software designed specifically for veterinary practices. It is quite beneficial for the process of veterinary workflow optimization because it streamlines radiology-related workflow, enhances the processes of consultation, diagnosing, and reporting, and boosts practice efficiency and productivity. Asteris as a company believes that changing imaging workflows can have a cascading, positive impact on a business, and it seeks to aid veterinary practices in this process with its Keystone PACS. It’s the only veterinary-specific company that has dedicated itself to dealing with all kinds of manufacturers and modalities with the aim of giving its clients maximum flexibility and satisfaction. The suite is fully DICOM-compliant, and the company will work directly with you to accommodate all standard DICOM modalities. It enables data received from DICOM modalities to be processed in a manner that allows for expansion and changes to the DICOM standard, as published by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. There is also provision for non-DICOM device data to be packaged into DICOM-compliant format and structure.


The Asteris Keystone Software Suite enables the seamless and efficient storage, transfer, retrieval, and reporting of digital images. Changing your imaging workflows can impact the way that you do business. This veterinary PACS software offers improved workflow solutions; greater allowance for the management and processing of images; improved security for data using encryption, hashing, and lossless compression on the cloud-based platform; ample room for collaboration and consultation among all the practice stakeholders; and revolutionary data importing, reporting, monitoring, and sharing capabilities.


Benefits of the Asteris Keystone Suite 


There are numerous benefits associated with using the Asteris Keystone suite as the primary image management system in your practice. These include the following.


Access


It provides effortless storing, accessing, transferring, and sharing of digital images. It has a dedicated online application, and the Asteris Keystone Online app enables you to have remote or mobile access to images, reports, and files from any platform or device, anytime and anywhere.


Image viewing and retrieval


The suite comes with an integrated DICOM image viewer, which enables users to review the images and make diagnoses. The suite also works with other DICOM-compliant image viewers, allowing for better cross-functional integration. It also comes with the ability to perform 2D multi-planar reconstruction, enabling you to easily reconstruct images in multiple planes for greater diagnostic accuracy. 


Ease of transfer and sharing


DICOM and non-DICOM images of any modality can be transferred using the platform, and they can easily be shared with multiple facilities, colleagues, referral partners, and clients for review and interpretation via the Asteris Keystone Community. The patented file packaging method enables you to transfer files across a network on the internet up to three times faster than other PACS, and this requires only half of the storage capacity. Images can be viewed in JPEG format with a web browser or in DICOM format with the free online DICOM viewer.


Seamless integration


The Asteris Keystone PACS has been designed in such a way that it can be integrated into existing diagnostic equipment, radiology information systems, and practice management software. There is no need to completely overhaul your existing system just to install it, which makes it convenient to use. 


Speech-to-text capability


For those who prefer to dictate their notes, the suite has the ability to convert speech to text. 


Report creation


The suite enables you to reduce the time and effort put into creating reports, as it comes with pre-designed report templates and even enables you to create your own templates. 


Scheduling and monitoring


Asteris Keystone can be used to schedule and monitor the status of your radiological examinations with the in-built Modality Worklist/Scheduling feature quickly and easily. This comes with a simple and intuitive user interface. 


Archiving and securing data with the hybrid architecture


The suite provides a means for you to store images locally and off-site. It automatically archives and secures your data in a cloud-based platform. The patented image handling protocol helps you achieve better lossless image compression, faster off-site archival speeds, and more reliable off-site archival than traditional DICOM Send methods. Additionally, it gives you the ability to access and view studies should your practice ever lose internet connectivity. Furthermore, your users will be able to access and view acquired images in real time. This will improve patient care because you will no longer have to wait for studies to archive to the "cloud," as is the case with other cloud-only-based PACS solutions. You can be sure that your stored images will be secured, as Asteris uses encryption, hashing, and lossless compression algorithms to ensure the highest levels of security and data integrity. One fantastic perk with the suite is that the off-site archival of image data for seven years is included in any package that you purchase, at no added cost.


Recovering lost or damaged data


The in-built data recovery mechanisms can help recover your local files speedily if any of them become corrupted or lost.


No service contracts


Asteris operates a simple pay-as-you-use service model, so you do not have to pay any monthly or annual maintenance fees or costly extended service fees. You can customize your plan to fit your business needs and then pay for as little or as much as you use. 


Customizable solutions


Just like the price, this is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Asteris will work with you to determine what components of the suite best fit your practice. This will take into consideration factors such as whether you need telemedicine and reporting features, the number of office locations in your practice, and the range of imaging modalities that you will use. 


Service and technical support


Technical support is available to all users twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, all year round. The tech team can address any issues that you might have, without the use of third-party services. This, along with automatic software upgrades, is included as part of your plan at no additional charge. You will also have access to monthly reports detailing archiving activity, including the dates that studies were carried out, the dates they were archived, the names of the patients, their owners, the number of images, and the types of image modalities. 


Teleconsultation workflow


The advanced teleconsultation workflow that comes with the suite enables radiologists, specialists, specialty/referral hospitals, and any other stakeholders to expand their Keystone PACS solution and have a full teleconsultation and reporting platform. This gives referring partners the ability to easily send consultation requests to radiologists and specialists while providing a full reporting platform to the receiving radiologists/specialists.


Easy installation and setup


Depending on the size and features of your system, installation and setup can take as little as thirty minutes. No matter the size, Asteris will be with you every step of the way, and for large and complex system setups, a member of the company’s project management team will work with you to guarantee a successful launch. The software is intuitive and easy to use, so a short training session is usually all that is needed. Additionally, since the solutions are designed to work on non-proprietary hardware, you will not need to buy any new hardware to begin using it. You can utilize it on any platform that you have, such as Windows PC or Mac, and you can use it on any browser. The Keystone PACS can even work with other DICOM-compliant image viewers from other providers. The Application Programming Interface enables you to easily store and retrieve patient data, schedule and track examinations, and display diagnostic images within other veterinary software platforms.


Conclusion 


Diagnostic imaging has led to marked improvements in veterinary medical practices worldwide. Getting an image management system that can optimize stakeholder interactions with these images is crucial because this will markedly improve the workflow and efficiency of your practice.


The Asteris Keystone PACS has numerous components that are guaranteed to make the management of digital images in your practice as seamless and straightforward as possible.


Here at Asteris, it's our goal to help veterinarians make sound medical decisions with ease, clarity, and confidence by giving them the tools and insights that they need to optimize the way they work.
If you're ready to stop feeling like there's not enough time in your day, we can help you optimize your imaging processes and the way you work. Contact our specialists today to get started!



Request a Demo


Find out how Asteris can help you improve the standard of veterinary care in your practice!





What you'll get:


Flexibility: We are the only veterinary-specific company dedicated to dealing with all types of modalities and manufacturers to give you maximum flexibility.


Speed: Our patented file packaging methods allow us to transfer files across a network or the internet up to 3X faster than our competitors, and only requires half of the storage capacity.


Cost-Effectiveness: We offer a simple pay-as-you-go service model for a lower total cost of ownership WITHOUT costly extended service or annual maintenance fees.


Security: We use encryption, hashing, and lossless compression algorithms to ensure the highest levels of security and data integrity.


Service and Support: We are available 24/7/365 to address each and every issue WITHOUT the use of third-party services. And we’ve even been known to solve problems our software didn’t create!



Better Imaging, Better Veterinary Practice Management

Better Imaging, Better Veterinary Practice Management


You will:


  • Learn more about the impact imaging workflows have on the business of care.

  • Find multiple ways for you to improve your imaging workflows.

  • See unique techniques used to maximize workflow optimization.


  • Learn how to spot the best veterinary PACS for your practice.

  • Discover the role modern vet PACS play in teleradiology.

  • Know which features you should shop for in a solution and more!



Excerpt


Better Imaging, Better Veterinary Practice Management


Introduction


As veterinary imaging has evolved, better imaging and veterinary practice management systems have become enormously valuable. With more veterinarians transitioning their practices to fully digitized systems, the need for optimized veterinary workflows supported by imaging and veterinary practice management solutions has increased exponentially. That’s due to the unique benefits that optimized imaging and veterinary management systems can provide a veterinary practice. These benefits include the ease of communicating with other practitioners, learning new treatments, catching errors, highlighting unseen clinical patterns, and reducing the complexities associated with cumbersome paperwork.


What are trends that have characterized the veterinary practice management space? What are their effects?


Veterinary practice management, a profession that involves the management of business and operations in veterinary practice, plays a key role in the success of your veterinary clinic. Understanding trends in veterinary practice management and how they impact your daily operations is crucial.


One of the major trends that have characterized the veterinary practice management space in the recent past is the increased adoption of cloud-based veterinary management software. With this trend, numerous workflow-related benefits are unlocked. Cloud-based solutions improve a vet practice’s workflow by enabling access to data from anywhere and at any time. Leveraging cloud-based solutions can help your facility offer tailored services and facilitate immediate collaboration with practitioners who aren’t physically present.


Cloud-based veterinary management software also improves veterinary practice workflows by supporting real-time backups. Investing in a cloud-based solution eliminates disruptions associated with data loss. Given the real-time backup feature that’s associated with cloud-based veterinary systems, your practice can focus on other business aspects rather than worrying about data loss in case of technical problems or a disaster.


Other benefits associated with cloud-based veterinary management software that can impact your practice’s workflow include improving collaboration between veterinary practitioners and simplifying scalability that ensures the smooth growth of your enterprise.


Another trend that has characterized the veterinary practice management space is the increased adoption of analytic tools in veterinary practices. Investing in analytic tools helps your veterinary practice improve its workflow in several ways. By implementing data analytic solutions, you can improve workflows by identifying bottlenecks that hinder efficient operations. Specifically, your practice can identify long and redundant processes that increase workflow-related inefficiencies. For instance, when leveraging analytical tools, your practice managers will have an end-to-end view of the processes involved in imaging and veterinary practice management in your facility. They can easily identify processes that can be automated or made paperless. Ultimately, implementing efficiency-improving changes can help your facility improve its workflows and reap the subsequent benefits.


Furthermore, analytical tools can enhance the workflows in your practice by simplifying regulatory compliance. These tools can help practice managers ensure that all the necessary and regulatory steps are followed and reported as required. With numerous regulations and reporting guidelines, it’s easy for your veterinary imaging practice to contravene these guidelines, introducing disruptions that affect your practice’s workflow. However, investing in analytic tools helps your practice managers create audit trials on a need-by-need basis. This improves your facility’s workflow by increasing access to information on your practice’s compliance and simplifying the creation of annual compliance reports.


While cloud-based veterinary management solutions and analytical tools have been game-changers, other trends have also impacted imaging and veterinary practice management and the associated workflow-related benefits. These trends include telemedicine, increased advocacy on sustainability, optimization of digital client experiences, and increased emphasis on the importance of leadership in imaging and veterinary practice management.


What are the challenges that affect veterinary imaging workflow from a veterinary practice management perspective? What are the impacts of resulting poor imaging workflows?


Lack of Reliable Technical Support


Today, more veterinary imaging facilities are shifting toward fully digitized practice management solutions. While such a solution can be a game-changer for your practice, the lack of reliable technical support can limit the benefits. A lack of support can introduce challenges that magnify workflow-related problems in your veterinary imaging practice.

In the event of technology breakdown, your veterinary practice may experience extended service unavailability due to unreliable technical support from your imaging and practice management solution provider. With veterinary practice management solutions being fully digitized, extended disruptions compound workflow challenges because veterinary imaging staff cannot access vital information. For instance, extended disruptions limit communication and collaboration between veterinary imaging practitioners on pet care. Cross-collaboration between veterinary imaging practitioners affects workflows in your facility, and prolonged disruptions can introduce bottlenecks to your facility’s workflow. These affect your practice’s ability to serve customers, affecting client satisfaction and your bottom line.


The lack of reliable technical support also affects the optimization of your veterinary practice management, introducing compliance-related challenges. In particular, prolonged disruptions affect your facility’s ability to maintain high compliance standards. To illustrate, extended breakdowns of veterinary practice management solutions limit your practice manager’s ability to ensure that employees and contractors adhere to local, state, and federal veterinary imaging regulations. This is mainly attributed to the lack of real-time monitoring and clear communication of compliance guidelines in your veterinary practice due to disruptions. Failure to stick to compliance guidelines attracts regular audits in your veterinary imaging practice, introducing disruptions that can adversely affect your facility’s workflow. From a management perspective, these disruptions can affect your practice’s reputation with veterinary imaging regulators and introduce avoidable costs in your business.


Inconsistencies in Image Quality


For veterinary imaging practices, arriving at an accurate diagnosis can be a highly complex process that involves numerous variables and is often error-prone. Since veterinary imaging is a major component of the overall diagnostic process, it can also be a major cause of diagnostic errors. While numerous factors influence diagnostic accuracy, a significant determinant is image quality and the inconsistencies therein. 


With more veterinary imaging facilities shifting to digital radiography—which has been seen as forgiving to poor exposure techniques—producing images with optimal quality hasn’t been universal due to patient positioning errors. Many veterinary imaging practitioners and practices receive images from multiple facilities that are produced using equipment from different manufacturers. The resulting inconsistencies can affect workflows in your veterinary practice in several ways.


Inconsistent image quality caused by imaging errors—like incorrect collimation, wrong exposure, centering and positioning errors, and artifacts—can cause poor imaging workflows by hindering the timely interpretation and communication of diagnostic results. The resulting inefficiencies in imaging workflows can hinder the effective treatment of pets because veterinary practitioners cannot prescribe treatment plans promptly. Studies have shown that harm to pet patients can be prevented when veterinary imaging practitioners communicate unexpected or critical findings in a timely manner. Ultimately, this affects treatment outcomes and levels of client satisfaction within your veterinary imaging practice.


Furthermore, inconsistent image quality also influences workflows by affecting overall image rejects and deletion rates. (Image rejects refer to veterinary images that don't provide diagnostic information in respect to the relevant clinical study due to low-quality images.) With the digitization of veterinary imaging and increased reliance on systems from different vendors, inconsistencies in image quality due to different protocols can introduce workflow challenges into your veterinary imaging practice. Variations in imaging quality, especially when working with referring veterinary practitioners, can adversely affect your practice's workflow via complicated diagnostic and follow-up procedures. To clarify, your veterinary imaging practitioners may need to seek additional information when conducting follow-up treatment on a pet patient. Practitioners must seek clarification on a case-by-case basis, so increased instances of image rejects can slow down operations at your practice. This can translate to negative outcomes like increased client dissatisfaction and turnover, reduced staff productivity, and increased veterinary imaging care costs. Eventually, inconsistencies in image quality can cause adverse business outcomes, like reduced competitive edge and declining profits.


Lack of Compatibility with Adopted Solutions
Today, compatibility has become increasingly important in veterinary medicine as the diversity of animal health data has grown and as more pressure has mounted on practice managers and other veterinary professionals to gather timely data for diagnostic and treatment purposes. The shift toward fully digitized veterinary imaging solutions has been essential for increasing the compatibility of animal health data. However, these systems can introduce compatibility challenges that can hinder the effective workflows in your veterinary practices.


For instance, fully digitized veterinary imaging solutions can introduce semantic interoperability challenges in your facility. Semantic interoperability refers to a veterinary system’s ability to share information and have that information interpreted properly by the recipient as intended by the sending practitioner. With variations in the interpretation of shared data, your veterinary imaging facility can experience workflow-related bottlenecks. To be specific, discrepancies in the interpretation of shared data can introduce challenges in collaboration between your staff and other veterinary practitioners. Given that cross-collaboration is a vital and regular process in veterinary imaging, the inability to interpret shared information can affect your facility’s workflow by hindering the continuity of veterinary care across multidisciplinary practitioners, organizations, languages, or timelines. Ultimately, these workflow hindrances can compound veterinary practice management issues, like inefficiencies in operational processes and reduced productivity among your staff.


The lack of interoperability between veterinary imaging solutions can also introduce workflow challenges to a veterinary imaging practice. (In veterinary medicine, interoperability refers to the ability to transfer and integrate patient data across multiple technology solutions). However, the production of veterinary imaging solutions by different vendors introduces variations in data-handling protocols and formats, limiting the sharing of images between veterinary practices. Data- and image-sharing can affect workflows by influencing the speed of diagnostic or follow-up imaging, and interoperability problems can adversely affect the quality of care offered to owners and their pets. For instance, the lack of interoperability between your veterinary imaging systems and those from referring practices may lead to an increase in image rejects, causing delays in the creation of clients’ diagnostic reports. This lowers the productivity of your staff because more time is spent solving imaging technology problems rather than assessing a client’s pet. Over time, glitches in your facility’s workflow can drive up costs via strained information technology teams, underutilized veterinary imaging solutions and staff, and prolonged periods for diagnoses.


Lack of Automated Updates and Backups


Working with veterinary imaging systems can be a game-changer for your facility’s workflows. However, if a solution fails to integrate automated updates and backups, it may spell doom for your business. The absence of automated update and backup systems can introduce system configuration and data-related challenges.


Complex and manual updates of veterinary imaging systems impact care delivery by affecting the effectiveness of different system configurations. The lack of automatic updating capabilities in veterinary imaging can delay the integration of vital changes that can improve this system’s effectiveness. Consequently, veterinary imaging solutions can lead to inefficient operations due to increased downtimes and inaccuracies, affecting your business's workflow. For example, relying on a veterinary imaging solution that needs manual updates delays the installation of new data-sharing protocols. This may increase inconsistencies in shared images, affecting the accuracy of diagnostic reports produced at your veterinary imaging facility.


Ultimately, this introduces workflow bottlenecks because staff members have to seek clarification—often from practitioners in other facilities—before making a diagnosis. The resulting workflow challenges limit the timely delivery of pet care.


Furthermore, veterinary imaging solutions that rely on manual backup systems can also affect workflows in your veterinary imaging practice. Workflow challenges mainly stem from various scenarios that veterinary practices experience. Manual updates and backup systems are more likely to experience cyberattacks. Delays in installing upgrades often increase the likelihood of an imaging solution experiencing a cyberattack, locking out essential staff from vital patient records. Veterinary practitioners rely on digitized records to offer accurate diagnoses, and the occurrence of a cyberattack in your veterinary practice can erase patient records that aren't backed up, adversely affecting imaging workflows. Ultimately, this deteriorates the quality of care that your clients get, increasing the likelihood of higher client turnover in your facility.


The lack of automated updates and backups can also affect your facility’s compliance with government guidelines and standards. For instance, failure to update veterinary imaging solutions may introduce glitches that fail to notify imaging practitioners of ionizing radiations that go beyond what’s prescribed in the International Atomic Energy Agency Safety Standards Series. Failure to comply with national guidelines attracts prolonged reviews and assessment of veterinary practices operations. These regulatory investigations can disrupt the normal operations of your staff, increasing the negative effects of inefficient workflows. In turn, the negative effects of failure to comply with standards—that result from manual updates and backups—can adversely affect the achievement of your practice’s goals.


Inefficient update and backup systems can affect your imaging practice’s workflow by influencing disaster recovery processes. Without a reliable system upgrade and data backup plans, your client’s data is at a higher risk in the event of a disaster that leads to data loss. Poorly updated and backed-up imaging systems have a higher likelihood of experiencing complete data loss when disasters strike. For your veterinary imaging facility, complete data loss would adversely affect workflows by hindering the creation of diagnostic reports and prompting clients to take retests during follow-up treatments. In such a situation, your veterinary practice will lose clients’ trust, see an increase in the costs of care, and incur additional costs trying to restore vital client data.


How can optimized imaging workflows impact doing business in your radiology practice?


In veterinary practice management, optimized imaging workflows refer to repeatable processes to which repeatable rules and automation are applied, making the processes more efficient, eliminating errors, and encouraging cross-specialty collaboration. Working with optimized imaging workflows impacts how practice managers conduct their businesses and reap the benefits therein. Therefore, assessing each benefit and explaining how they can influence practice management outcomes can shed light on what practitioners can expect when investing in solutions that optimize imaging workflows in their practices. 


Improve Staff Productivity


Optimized imaging solutions are crucial for improving staff productivity in a veterinary imaging practice. By investing in optimized solutions, your veterinary imaging practice can increase staff productivity by leveraging improved report creation approaches, simplified image-sharing protocols, and better management of multiple modalities. To clarify, improved report creation procedures that incorporate predesigned templates and an array of time-saving features help reduce the time required to create diagnostic reports at your veterinary imaging practice. Working with optimized solutions also improves your staff’s productivity by enabling practitioners to view client images and diagnose ailments with confidence. Using technologies like integrated DICOM viewers, your veterinary imaging staff can employ features like a multidimensional planar reconstruction to achieve greater accuracy in diagnostic processes. Over time, these features will improve your facility’s overall staff productivity, helping cut the costs of care at your facility, improve your competitive edge, and enhance veterinary practice management outcomes.


To understand the magnitude of optimized solutions in your veterinary imaging practice, let’s look at Asteris Keystone software as an example. With this highly customizable veterinary imaging solution, your facility can improve its staff’s productivity exponentially. By leveraging the solution’s application programming interface (API), your staff can easily access client records, track examinations, and make schedules by working seamlessly with other veterinary imaging platforms. Since APIs improve interoperability in tech systems and enhance communication, integrating such a system into your veterinary practice management strategy can help eliminate workflow bottlenecks. Ultimately, your facility can achieve many veterinary practice management goals, like timely diagnostic reports, high-quality services to clients, accurate and timely diagnoses of pet ailments, and lower costs of pet care.


Furthermore, optimized imaging workflows can improve your staff’s productivity by eliminating distractions. Research has shown that distractions impact staff productivity because it takes approximately twenty-five minutes for a practitioner to resume previous tasks. Therefore, adopting optimized veterinary imaging workflows introduces systems that can help your staff communicate more effectively via inbuilt systems rather than personal phones. With optimized information sharing systems, veterinary imaging practitioners don’t have to stay on the phone to convey diagnostic results—optimized solutions automate the sending of diagnostic reports to all participants. Also, optimized imaging workflows can eliminate duplicate processes within your facility. They can ensure that your staff members don’t repeat history questions for a specific pet, annoying pet owners and increasing the time needed to diagnose a particular case. In turn, efficiencies introduced by optimized imaging workflows can increase your staff’s productivity because your staff will be able to focus on the most important tasks.


Improve Collaboration and Consultation
Optimized imaging workflows promote collaboration and consultation within veterinary imaging practices. Notably, optimized workflows integrate efficient picture archiving and communication systems (PACS). With PACS, practice managers benefit from the efficient storage of client images and programs that are capable of displaying images in the DICOM III format. Also, PACS can integrate tools that aid in the evaluation of images and support simultaneous viewing at different locations. This greatly improves collaboration and consultation in your veterinary imaging practice. With the capability to simultaneously view client images, your staff can collaborate with various imaging specialists to diagnose different ailments. Increased collaboration helps improve the accuracy of diagnostic reports, improving clinical outcomes. Over time, improved diagnosis helps improve client retention rates and lower the cost of treatment at your facility.


Let’s look at the case of the optimized imaging workflow that incorporates Asteris Keystone PACS. With this PACS solution, your facility can improve collaboration and consultation with an integrated DICOM image viewer that supports 2D Multi-planar Reconstruction. With this feature, your staff and consultants can easily reconstruct vital images in multiple planes, helping your facility achieve greater diagnostic accuracy. This will boost treatment outcomes in your facility. Asteris Keystone PACS also works with other DICOM-compliant viewers and integrates a patented image transfer method that can help your facility transfer DICOM and non-DICOM images two to three times faster than other providers. With the ease of sharing images due to Keystone, your staff can easily seek clarification or consult on a variety of diagnostic issues. This can improve your staff’s productivity and help your facility achieve its veterinary practice management goals.


Optimized imaging workflows can improve collaboration and consultation by making one-to-one consultations with pet owners possible. With such consultations, your veterinary practice can offer excellent customer service. Sometimes, operations can get quite involved, limiting the personal touch that clients will get when visiting your practice. However, with optimized imaging workflows, your facility can prioritize interactions between pet owners and practitioners. Due to a warm and inviting atmosphere that accompanies a human touch, your clients will feel more comfortable entrusting their pets to your imaging practitioner’s care. These minor touches can help your practice stand out among competitors and help align your veterinary practice’s activities with your client’s expectations. Ultimately, your practice manager can achieve higher client satisfaction and retention rates, cut costs of veterinary imaging care, and improve profitability.


Improve Data Safety and Efficiency with a Hybrid System


With optimized imaging solutions, which often incorporate a hybrid architecture, your veterinary imaging practice can improve data safety and efficiency. Optimized hybrid imaging solutions often employ systems that combine complementary imaging modalities to improve diagnostic accuracy and treatment outcomes. Hybrid systems ensure that more detailed diagnostic information is obtained, providing a broad view of a particular ailment. This improves your facility’s efficiency because your staff can make accurate diagnoses while minimizing expensive and time-wasting retests. Optimized imaging workflows that incorporate hybrid systems can also ensure data safety by supporting automatic updates and backups. With hybrid imaging systems, various tailored veterinary imaging solutions can be interlinked to ensure that high-quality images from your practice are stored in real time. This ensures that your facility does not experience disruptions due to data loss or have images with inconsistent quality.


For example, optimized imaging workflows that incorporate Keystone’s hybrid architecture can improve your facility’s data safety and operational efficiency. On data safety, Asteris Keystone Software Suite enables your facility to overcome the hustles and worries accompanying manual backups and system updates via local and off-site image-archiving solutions and automated updates. With Asteris leveraging cloud-based servers and an array of patented image-handling protocols, your imaging team will benefit from compression techniques that maintain image quality, high-speed off-site archiving systems, and highly reliable off-site storage systems that provide access to data regardless of internet connectivity. 


On operational efficiency, Keystone supports a variety of systems that improve service delivery at your facility. For data safety, Keystone incorporates reliable data recovery solutions that simplify the recovery of lost or corrupted files. This eliminates disruptions caused by data loss. The Keystone PACS also improves the viewing (via a web browser or Asteris’s online DICOM viewer) and transfer of client records from any device, anywhere and at any time. The improved access to patient records improves efficiency by eliminating delays caused by ineffective communication between imaging practitioners. 


Another efficiency-boosting feature supported by Asteris is the pay-as-you-go model. With this feature, your facility only pays for studies that your staff has accessed, cutting costs associated with extended service agreements. Increased costs may introduce barriers to technology use, so this payment feature can help your facility adopt the game-changing technology without expensive commitments. This benefit ensures the optimization of your veterinary practice, helping unlock numerous cost-related benefits. 


Cumulatively, Asteris Keystone’s efficiency-improving features will benefit your facility, improving your competitiveness in the veterinary imaging space.


Here at Asteris, it's our goal to help veterinarians make sound medical decisions with ease, clarity, and confidence by giving them the tools and insights that they need to optimize the way they work.
If you're ready to stop feeling like there's not enough time in your day, we can help you optimize your imaging processes and the way you work. Contact our specialists today to get started



veterinary imaging

Veterinary Imaging: Business Benefits in Optimization


You’ll learn:


  • Learn about the most impactful features of a modern veterinary PACS.

  • Get a close look at what it takes to improve radiological processes and outcomes.

  • See the business benefits of a modern veterinary PACS solution.


  • Discover how optimized veterinary PACS help you directly impact profit.

  • Find specific ways to improve your imaging processes in your practice.

  • Get the full shoppers guide to finding a solution that drives better outcomes.



Excerpt


Veterinary Imaging: Business Benefits in Optimization


Introduction


I) Overview of the Market for Veterinary Imaging Solutions


The global market for veterinary imaging equipment is expected to exceed $1.69 billion by the end of 2021 and $2.43 billion by 2025. This growth can be attributed to companies adopting a new normal following the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that necessitated restrictive containment measures like remote working, social distancing, and reduced commercial activities.


With more pet and livestock owners understanding the importance of veterinary imaging technology, many are actively incorporating veterinary imaging solutions into their operations. With veterinary imaging gaining popularity for purposes other than treating illnesses, the trajectory for the global veterinary imaging equipment market is expected to remain upward. 


Other areas where veterinary imaging solutions have gained popularity include the examination of sporting animals before purchase or for selective breeding purposes and computed tomography (CT) scans to assess meat and fat content levels in livestock.


The surge in pet and livestock populations and their associated diseases is expected to propel the demand for veterinary medical solutions, including veterinary imaging systems that help in diagnosing and assessing treatment outcomes in different animals.


II) Why Is Veterinary Imaging Important in the Veterinary Space?


When you begin navigating the intricate maze of pet care to diagnose a life-threatening ailment or assess the extent of an injury on a pet, you’ll often realize the importance of veterinary radiology.


One of the benefits that veterinary imaging introduces to the veterinary space is the capability to make accurate diagnoses. With veterinary imaging, practitioners can create images of foreign objects, large body cavities, and bones. With the images, veterinary specialists can easily detect deformities, fractures, infections, and injuries. Though radiographs may not provide all the information on the exact cause of a pet’s problem, a veterinarian can use these images to choose the most appropriate tests, thereby improving the accuracy of the diagnostic process. Accurate diagnostics help eliminate inefficiencies and reduce risks associated with excessive exposure. Over time, these translate to better treatment and business outcomes for your veterinary practice.


Assessing treatment effects on target tissues is also a crucial benefit of veterinary imaging. With different radiology features, veterinary practitioners can assess treatment outcomes on fractures, dropsies, neoplasms that cause tumors, anodynes, and much more. Veterinary imaging enables practitioners to view past and present aspects of a patient’s tissues, so they can determine the effectiveness of a treatment plan. With insight into the effectiveness of previous treatment programs, your veterinary practitioners can adjust selected treatment approaches, improving the overall outcomes of the treatment process. Ultimately, the regular evaluation of a treatment path—supported by veterinary imaging’s tissue assessment capabilities—can improve veterinary outcomes in your facility.


Veterinary imaging solutions also help integrate decision support systems into veterinary practices. Leveraging decision support systems can help your veterinary practice gain the benefits of veterinary information systems. For instance, your facility can decrease instances of adverse drug interactions; shorten the period of inpatient stay for pets; improve the content, consistency, and accuracy of veterinary medicine records; reduce variations in your practice; and enhance follow-up processes ensuring continuity in care. Decisions support systems can introduce radiology test ordering capabilities. With radiology test ordering, the decision support systems can help your veterinary practice select appropriate radiologic examinations, eliminate errors in veterinary radiology ordering, and highlight recent or redundant tests. This helps cut costs associated with the erroneous ordering of veterinary imaging processes and the wrongful selection of veterinary radiology examinations, improving your radiology practice’s efficiency.


With veterinary imaging, your facility can leverage picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), reaping the benefits therein. By integrating PACS to improve the performance of your veterinary imaging practice, your facility can reduce its expenditure by replacing local storage and CD costs. It also helps save the time required to burn patient records in CDs. With some PACS being cloud-based, your facility can benefit from having easy access in any location. Veterinary practitioners can access vital patient records via secure platforms, thereby improving convenience for your staff members. 


Furthermore, veterinary imaging supported by cloud-based PACS can help your facility overcome challenges associated with data loss. With regular backups, your facility’s data won’t be affected by hard drive crashes or power outages. The cumulative effects of reduced operation costs, convenient access to patient records, and fewer disruptions associated with data loss give your facility a competitive edge in the veterinary imaging space.


With the importance of veterinary imaging solutions and associated technologies, it’s vital to determine what optimized veterinary PACS are and how they influence veterinary imaging operations. Assessing the significance of optimized veterinary imaging solutions to business outcomes is essential.


Optimized Veterinary PACS and Why They Matter 


Optimized PACS or image management and communication systems are systems developed and tailored for the effective acquisition, storage, retrieval, and sharing of veterinary radiology images and records. Ideally, optimized PACS comprise image generation, distribution, and archiving capabilities. These are integrated with medical and radiology information systems (RIS), helping increase benefits for digital veterinary radiology systems.


With optimized PACS, practitioners in your veterinary radiology practice can enjoy immediate access to images and records, both onsite and remotely. Due to the information stored in the optimized image management solution, veterinary professionals can view different studies simultaneously, regardless of location. This has a profound and positive impact on consultation and collaboration procedures, thereby improving efficiency and treatment accuracy in your practice. 


Optimized PACS can enable your veterinary radiology practice to post-process general radiographs. Previously, enhancements in general radiographs were impossible once general radiographs had been developed. However, the storage of images digitally permits post-processing, helping to compensate for incorrect exposure during radiology procedures. This helps your practice reduce the number of required retests and provides your veterinary radiology specialists with accurate diagnostic information. In turn, this improves treatment outcomes and cuts costs linked to retests in your veterinary practice.


Integrating optimized PACS in your veterinary radiology practice can help your facility leverage digital archives, helping to eliminate lost images. Unlike film or CD-based images, digital images do not leave the archives. Rather, retrieved images are copies of the stored images. This helps prevent loss, essentially protecting your client’s images.


What’s more, optimized PACS can help your specialty leverage images in different modalities. These include CT, magnetic resonance imaging, and digital subtraction angiography. Optimized PACS can help your facility connect with other computerized veterinary radiology solutions, like RIS. These features help your facility access different images and leverage different radiology details to offer accurate diagnoses. This improves the effectiveness of treatment outcomes in your veterinary imaging business.


Optimized PACS can enhance the security of veterinary imaging operations within your facility. By leveraging standards, like digital imaging and communication in medicine (DICOM), optimized PACs can help your facility use acceptable protocols in the interchange of non-proprietary data, adopt accepted digital imaging formats, and document structures. DICOM standards address the management of key areas: imaging procedures, network imaging interpretation, printing images within a network, and offline storage. Therefore, working with an optimized PACS solution that’s adherent to DICOM guidelines can help your veterinary radiology safeguard client records by leveraging suitable data transfer and archiving procedures. 


Working with optimized PACS that adhere to DICOM standards will help your facility leverage automatic interoperability with other veterinary imaging solutions. With standardized storage methods—made possible by DICOM standards—your facility can integrate digital pathology with existent IT solutions, lowering collaboration barriers between disciplines. Ultimately, the benefits from DICOM-compliant PACS can lead to improved cross-discipline communication and improved bottom lines.


What Business Benefits Can Your Veterinary Imaging Service Reap from Optimized PACS Solutions?


With veterinary imaging businesses having varying needs, optimized solutions can help such facilities address their needs accurately. That said, investing in optimized PACS can profoundly benefit your veterinary radiology business. Here are a few benefits that you can expect to reap from these game-changing technologies.


I) Enhance Viewing and Analysis of Veterinary Radiology Images and Reports 


An optimized PACS can enhance the viewing and analysis of your veterinary radiology images and reports. It can enhance the viewing and analysis of veterinary radiology data in your facility through centralized archives. With this, your facility can eliminate several challenges that may hinder the viewing and analysis of client data. This helps your business accrue significant benefits. 


The first problem that your facility eliminates with a centralized archive is vendor “lock-ins,” the inability to interconnect system components from different vendors that offer archive solutions. Adopting different archives from different vendors can limit the viewing and analyses of images and reports at your facility. Different vendors employ unique data-sharing protocols and formats that may adversely affect interdepartmental sharing of client records. However, with a centralized archive provided by a single vendor, your practitioners can view images using a single viewer. This helps improve the sharing and viewing of patient records, helping your facility overcome workflow-related bottlenecks, cut waiting times for clients, and enhance treatment outcomes. 


Let’s look at an example. Take the case of Asteris Keystone PACS. Investing in this optimized PACS solution enables your business to reap the benefits of patented image handling protocols and browser-based DICOM viewers.


How do these features translate to improved outcomes for your business? 


First, with Asteris’s patented image handling protocols, your business can compress images without loss in quality, achieve faster off-site archiving speeds, and have the ability to view client images in case of lack of internet connectivity. These benefits improve your facility’s workflow and efficiency within your radiology business. 


Second, integrating a browser-based DICOM viewer into your operations helps your staff access and view client records in real time while maintaining the quality of renderings of the initial DICOM images. These features ensure that your facility eliminates any delays encountered when your staff members wait for studies to save to cloud-based archives, a common phenomenon with cloud-based solutions. Ultimately, such benefits can help your veterinary imaging facility develop an edge over its peers in the imaging space.


With a centralized archive, your facility eliminates complexities that affect the viewing and analyses of client images. Decentralized archives often introduce complexities to a veterinary radiology practice through proprietary standards. These heterogeneous standards limit the portability and interoperability of archiving systems. Moreover, heterogenous archiving solutions and interfaces can bind your organization to one type of archiving technology because it’s expensive to port client data to a different vendor’s interface. To your business, these un-optimized PACS can hinder efficiency by limiting the accessibility and sharing of essential client records. The resulting delays in diagnostic procedures can adversely affect treatment outcomes, patient satisfaction, and employee productivity. However, your organization can leverage an optimized PACS solution to reap the benefits of having a centralized archive in your practice.


Let’s look at Asteris Keystone as an example. When investing in this optimized PACS solution, your veterinary radiology business can leverage a homogenous and patented data packaging mechanism. This mechanism helps your staff share client images that are reduced by 55% without degrading image data. With this feature, your staff can assist in the faster transfer of files across networks or over the internet. The timely access of veterinary imaging records frees up more time for analysis and diagnosis, so working with this optimized imaging solution can improve accuracy and efficiency within your facility. Over time, this can help increase profitability.


Optimized PACS enhance the viewing and analyses of veterinary radiology images and reports by enabling the use of different computer tools to manipulate and process images. By working with soft copy images, optimized PACS enable the alteration of an image’s contrast and width, enabling the viewing of bony structures and soft tissues on a single exposure. For instance, with soft copy images supported by an optimized PACS, your veterinary radiologists can assess the left lower lobe behind the left cardiac silhouette. However, on an unexposed hardcopy chest radiograph, your practitioners may not be able to access this information. Thus, investing in an optimized PACS solution can enable your staff to increase the amount of information extractable from an image. Combined with technologies like photostimulable phosphor plates, your staff can enjoy a more dynamic range compared to working with traditional screen-film combinations. With these features, your staff can reap benefits related to the simultaneous visualization of structures with different radiodensities, helping lower exposure. 


With different computer tools to manipulate and process images—thanks to optimized PACS solutions—and technologies like photostimulable phosphor plates, your facility can reap significant benefits that relate to the efficient viewing and analyses of client data. The first benefit is shorter wait times for clients. Your staff can easily provide accurate diagnoses in record time. This cuts costs associated with delays and ineffective treatment plans. The second benefit relates to fewer retests and the subsequent costs. With your practitioners viewing and analyzing client images in more detail, they can provide accurate diagnoses of ailments, eliminating the need for retests. Given that retests can incur additional costs for your facility, eliminating errors helps improve your facility’s reputation and bottom line.


Optimized PACS also enhance the viewing and analysis of veterinary radiology data via the automatic and chronological ordering of client records. With optimized picture archiving solutions, your facility can improve the correct orientation and labeling of client data, easing the process of retrieving and utilizing such data. Criteria that optimized PACS can use include ordering client data, such as name, date, hospital number, and referring clinician, among others. With these features, optimized PACS promote the reviewing and examination of preceding studies and conducting intermodality comparisons, which help increase the accuracy of diagnostic procedures. With grouped and well-ordered client images and reports, your facility enhances its staff’s productivity, minimizing delays and incidences of lost data. Eventually, this promotes the accuracy of diagnostic procedures, improving your facility’s efficiency.


II) Leverage Cloud-Based Storage Systems to Improve Veterinary Radiology Efficiencies


Investing in an optimized PACS can help your facility leverage cloud-based archives. The goal of cloud-based archives is to provide scalable and simplified access to information technology services and computing resources. That said, your facility can exploit advantages availed by private cloud-based archives that adhere to government standards and that aim at improving the privacy and security of client data. 


With a cloud-based archive system, your facility can facilitate collaboration between veterinary specialists. Investing in a cloud-based PACS for your veterinary imaging practice simplifies the process of exchanging client records via web-based solutions.


By leveraging the ease of sharing client records between practitioners, your facility can increase cross-collaboration and consultation, improving the accuracy of diagnostic imaging reports. Noting that veterinary specialists can have unique skills in particular procedures, increased cross-disciplinary collaboration during the diagnostic process can help overcome challenges that lead to inaccurate diagnoses. With the ease of sharing client records, your business can leverage international expertise to help your facility take advantage of veterinary advances in other parts of the world. These can help your facility increase its operational efficiencies, reduce costs associated with retests, and improve treatment outcomes.


Investing in an optimized and cloud-based PACS helps improve your facility’s efficiency through convenient access. With cloud-based archives, your staff can leverage off-site and mobile access via any device and from anywhere. To add, your facility can benefit from online viewers and apps, reducing the need for on-site viewing of client records. With increased convenience, your staff can provide veterinary imaging reports in record time, enhancing the efficiencies in your facility. These benefits come from improvements in your workflow and help cut the costs of veterinary care, improve your patient’s satisfaction, and increase your staff’s productivity.


Let’s look at the cloud-based platform supported by Asteris Keystone PACS. Investing in this solution, your veterinary imaging staff can easily share and view client records, enabling cross-collaboration. Taking advantage of the Asteris Keystone Online app, your team can reap the benefits of accessing mobile and offsite veterinary imaging data via any platform. Your business will benefit from the automatic upgrade and update of Asteris Keystone’s viewing software and PACS. These can help your facility overcome bottlenecks that affect your efficiency.


Furthermore, investing in a veterinary radiology solution that integrates cloud storage can help your business cut operational costs and improve efficiency. Cloud-based veterinary PACS replace CDs and local archives, helping cut costs associated with the repurchase and maintenance of the conventional technologies. Adopting a cloud-based PACS also cuts the need for a huge internal IT department and reduces the office space required for local archives. With the reduced costs, your facility can invest in veterinary imaging solutions that help improve workflows. For instance, saved resources can be repurposed to acquire a leading cloud-based archive that incorporates a universal viewer. This will help your facility improve efficiency by leveraging patented image transfer methods and new technologies like web-based viewers. Ultimately, this will help boost your business’s effectiveness.


III) Improve Interoperability with an Optimized Application Programming Interface (API)


APIs are points of communication between systems that enable the communication and transfer of data between different archiving solutions. Depending on the configuration, APIs can enable systems in your facility to retrieve or send client records that are needed in making diagnostic reports. They can also help your facility share client records between systems.


So, how can optimized PACS that integrate APIs benefit your veterinary radiology business?


The first benefit relates to increased interconnectivity between PACS. With more veterinary radiology businesses shifting to cloud-based IT infrastructure and the use of digital information becoming an industry standard, interoperability between image archiving systems has become more challenging. However, adopting optimized PACs that integrate APIs simplifies interoperability for your business, enabling your staff and clients to share data more efficiently.


With increased interoperability due to open and secure APIs, your veterinary imaging business can take advantage of ethical standards relating to data use and privacy. Open APIs would give veterinary businesses the freedom to choose platforms, systems, and apps that suit their operations, and you can easily change a veterinary imaging solution to one that’s best suited for your operations. By overcoming problems associated with vendor “lock-ins” and expensive portability from one solution to another, your facility can adopt solutions that adhere to the ethical standards of managing pet parent records. These include principles of veterinary medical ethics and the veterinarian-client-patient relationship. With interoperable systems, your facility can easily migrate to a solution that adheres to DICOM standards. This can help your facility transfer images close to three times faster than your competitors, improving cross-specialty consultation and boosting client satisfaction at your facility. Adhering to ethical guidelines helps your facility avoid disruptions that relate to violating ethical guidelines, improving efficiency.


For instance, leveraging interoperability that’s supported by APIs can help your facility transition to a novel technology like Asteris Keystone PACS. With this PACS, your facility can enjoy compliance with veterinary medicine standards and DICOM guidelines, eliminating challenges introduced by non-compliance. Over time, this can help your facility improve data security. Compliance with standard protocols in managing the transmission of veterinary images and related data helps you fulfill your facility’s imaging and encoding needs. In turn, this helps eliminate risks that can put your client’s data at risk.


Increased interoperability also helps your facility seamlessly connect with diagnostic equipment, practice management software, and RIS. With interconnected veterinary imaging solutions, your facility can benefit from improved workflows and increased productivity among staff members. Highly interoperable systems can leverage an array of time-saving features—including pre-designed report templates and speech-to-text—when creating diagnostic reports. This helps cut the time required to deliver reports to veterinary practitioners and pet parents, contributing to the timely treatment of clients. Ultimately, highly interoperable veterinary imaging systems and their interlinked solutions help improve treatment outcomes and client satisfaction within your facility.


In addition, open-access APIs can help your PACS leverage increased interoperability, eliminating errors. With interoperable systems, your veterinary imaging staff can receive the benefits associated with laboratory information systems, radiology PACS, and electronic medical records. Effectively, this helps reduce the likelihood of errors. To clarify, by integrating decision support systems, your staff can avoid mix-ups that lead to misdiagnoses. This helps avoid expensive retests and resulting client dissatisfaction. API-based interoperability also helps your team access vital client records, helping save pet-parents the agony of losing their best friends. Over time, these benefits can help your organization improve diagnostic accuracy and eliminate costly delays.


Here at Asteris, it's our goal to help veterinarians make sound medical decisions with ease, clarity, and confidence by giving them the tools and insights that they need to optimize the way they work.
If you're ready to stop feeling like there's not enough time in your day, we can help you optimize your imaging processes and the way you work. Contact our specialists today to get started!



Find out how to do something really important with this free eBook!


You’ll learn:


  • Vivamus iaculis est et diam lobortis, sed suscipit ipsum interdum.

  • Curabitur eu mauris fringilla, porta magna ac, consequat arcu.

  • Integer finibus eros sit amet libero dapibus scelerisque.


  • Vivamus iaculis est et diam lobortis, sed suscipit ipsum interdum.

  • Curabitur eu mauris fringilla, porta magna ac, consequat arcu.

  • Integer finibus eros sit amet libero dapibus scelerisque.



Excerpt


The Ultimate Guide to Something Important


This is a title


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Morbi facilisis eu quam venenatis pharetra. Mauris finibus ligula sed tortor convallis, vel blandit nunc suscipit. Nulla facilisi. Suspendisse potenti. Curabitur accumsan erat sed eros feugiat, eu euismod dui suscipit. Donec eu sollicitudin enim. Integer id dui dui. Cras condimentum congue mi vitae maximus. Praesent posuere dignissim lacus, non gravida sapien ullamcorper ut. Curabitur sit amet interdum purus, id tempus urna. Pellentesque tincidunt commodo dolor, ac tincidunt nunc placerat id. Nam egestas sollicitudin tincidunt.


This is another title


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Morbi facilisis eu quam venenatis pharetra. Mauris finibus ligula sed tortor convallis, vel blandit nunc suscipit. Nulla facilisi. Suspendisse potenti. Curabitur accumsan erat sed eros feugiat, eu euismod dui suscipit. Donec eu sollicitudin enim. Integer id dui dui. Cras condimentum congue mi vitae maximus. Praesent posuere dignissim lacus, non gravida sapien ullamcorper ut. Curabitur sit amet interdum purus, id tempus urna. Pellentesque tincidunt commodo dolor, ac tincidunt nunc placerat id. Nam egestas sollicitudin tincidunt.


This is a third title


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Morbi facilisis eu quam venenatis pharetra. Mauris finibus ligula sed tortor convallis, vel blandit nunc suscipit. Nulla facilisi. Suspendisse potenti. Curabitur accumsan erat sed eros feugiat, eu euismod dui suscipit. Donec eu sollicitudin enim. Integer id dui dui. Cras condimentum congue mi vitae maximus. Praesent posuere dignissim lacus, non gravida sapien ullamcorper ut. Curabitur sit amet interdum purus, id tempus urna. Pellentesque tincidunt commodo dolor, ac tincidunt nunc placerat id. Nam egestas sollicitudin tincidunt.