Is a veterinary PIMS right for your clinic?

A PIMS, or practice information management system, is like a central info hub—and sometimes much more.

exam room with computer and dog on exam table

A veterinary PIMS is one of those inventions that meets such an obvious need that you wonder why it took so long. Nests of mysterious old papers and piles of thick folders with unknown contents are so common in the veterinary industry they could be considered room decór. They’re also responsible for more than a few veterinarians’ premature wrinkles.

So turning a morass of important-yet-difficult-to-find information into a clean, easily searchable set of spreadsheets has obvious benefits.

But a good PIMS can offer a lot more than that. While they’re been around long enough for the bugs to be worked out, they’re still new enough that many vets might not be familiar with them.

On that note…

What is a practice information management system (PIMS)?

The acronym PIMS is short for “practice information management system.” 

You might also see it called a “project information management system,” or any other number of variations on the “p-something information management system.” Don’t worry about the distinctions; they all describe the same function.

A veterinary PIMS is a type of veterinary practice management software used for tasks like:

  • Organizing your clinic’s key data (like patient records and appointment schedules) 
  • Tracking important metrics (like inventory stockpiles and staff availability)
  • Executing key processes (like patient communications and billing) 

Some PIMS can handle a relatively narrow range of these tasks, while others are like a luxury car upgrade, offering the full package of perks. Of course, no matter how snazzy the title sounds, it helps to take a look at what you’re actually getting first.

That’s because one other crucial distinction between veterinary PIMS is their user-friendliness. No matter how powerful a software tool might be, its adoption ultimately depends on how comfortable your veterinary team will be using it. If they can’t figure it out quickly they’re unlikely to keep banging their heads against the wall for long.

On the other hand, the right PIMS can make all your staff members’ lives a lot easier. Here’s how.

How can a PIMS help your veterinary team?

A PIMS that’s easy to use can turn a whole range of unpleasant chores into more manageable endeavors. Things like viewing medical records to managing inventory stockpiles are much easier with an intuitive digital tool.

Some types of PIMS can also help clinic staff do things like:

  • View patients’ full medical histories at a glance: From routine checkups to major operations to medication allergies, a PIMS can provide a snapshot of all key client information.
  • Designate tasks and responsibilities: A PIMS makes it easy for each staff member to know what they have to do (and where to look for updates from managers).
  • Generate automatic invoices: When billable tasks are entered into a PIMS with accounting functionality, these can be compiled and turned into invoices automatically.

But in recent years, some PIMS have expanded their capabilities even further. So far, in fact, that it’s a bit of a misnomer to call them PIMS at all. 

What’s a patient care ecosystem (PaCE)?

A patient care ecosystem, or PaCE, is a most powerful and capable PIMS.  While PIMS can be invaluable for managing clinic processes, they’ve traditionally been an internal use-only tool. As the name suggests, a PaCE has features to handle functions on the patient’s side as well (like 2-way SMS messaging, for example).

In other words, a PIMS is useful for staff members. A PaCE is useful for staff members and clients.  And, when a PaCE is designed right, those benefits can reinforce each other.

How is a PIMS different from a PaCE?

As mentioned before, one of the key differences between a PIMS and a PaCE is the number of users. Data can be added from both staff members and pet owners. 

In other words, a PIMS might allow for one way messages to be sent, but a PaCE permits two way client communications. It’s the difference between getting a flyer in the mail and a phone call from a person.

A PaCE also combines more apps and services into a single package than a PIMS. If both can be compared to Swiss Army knives, then a PaCE is the ultra-thick model. Cloud-based PaCEs in particular are easily upgradable, allowing even new veterinary clinics to find a package at the right price point.

If you’re interested in learning more about this kind of veterinary software and how it can help your practice, we’d love to talk. Drop us a line to schedule a demo, and we’ll be in touch soon.