Moving your veterinary practice services online is a great way of keeping up with trends in technology. It also allows practice owners to free up resources and requirements of self-hosting, such as having in-house servers that host applications that are only used internally by a small number of staff and clients.
However, moving your practice services online does not eliminate the need for IT services in a practice establishment. In fact, to increase productivity, every veterinary practice, whether big or small, needs effective IT services and IT professionals to advance its goals and meet its objectives.
To continue using IT support services, practice owners have to decide whether they will hire in-house information technology experts or outsource technical support to stay competitive. The decision, although not always, depends on the size of the practice and budget available. In most cases, small and medium-sized practice owners opt for outsourced technical support to reduce IT infrastructure maintenance costs while still maximizing productivity and competitiveness.
The past few years have also seen a client base that is more reliant on technology. Recent data on customer behavior shows that clients are now more open to transacting online and the increase in demand for online services and goods has put industries on alert as they try to meet the increasing demand for clients. The sharp increase in technology-dependent clients has also been true for practice owners, with data also showing that clients are now having a preference for practices that have an online presence.
Hiring IT support after migrating online
A major decision that clients struggle with after migrating their services online is whether they should keep their IT support or drop them to reduce the cost. To some practice owners, there is a notion that since they have migrated their services online and many of the tasks they required IT support for have been automated, they will never need support services anymore. To cut costs, they end up only relying on the help desk from their online platform.
In some instances, such as when a cloud service offers customer support services to their clients, practice owners are able to enjoy almost free IT support. However, in most platforms, after-sales services are not provided, and practice owners are required to figure out how a technology works, including configurations and setups.
In such situations, it is important to have your own IT support on standby in case such services are needed. Practice owners also need to realize that an IT support expert does more than just migrating a site to an online platform.
Roles of an IT Support expert post online migration
Testing and evaluating new technologies
IT support is tasked with migrating projects to online platforms. Once a platform is migrated to online platforms, new technologies may be needed on the platform, and technical support teams are required to ensure that the new technologies are integrated properly with the core systems to ensure the smooth running of applications.
New technologies may also involve migration from one online platform to another. Practice owners may decide that their current online cloud services are not serving them well and task technical support teams to look for alternative technologies for their practice.
Providing support inform of procedural documentation
Most internet users are not technologically savvy. To ensure that all clients are able to interact with veterinary practice’s online services, technical support teams create procedural documentation for clients. These documentations act as manuals to guide them through the online platform.
Rolling Out new applications
IT support experts are also important when rolling new technologies for your practice. They understand how to configure and deploy new technologies and can also offer support to clients who are having difficulties in new technologies being rolled out.
Technical assistance with computer and software problems
Inside the practice establishments, computer and software problems may arise. To solve these problems, technical support is required to offer their expertise to ensure that services are up and running as soon as possible.
Cyber Security Protection
Most veterinary practice owners think that once they go cloud based they no longer have to worry about cyber security issues. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Now your entire client database and business are on the internet and accessible from anywhere! With a simple Keylogger I can record all your user names, passwords, key & key websites.
One of the most common hacks in the Veterinary industry are hackers key logging the info above, accessing your practice management system, re-generating invoices and then emailing all of your clients to have them pay these ‘outstanding’ invoices. Of course the money goes in their bank account not yours.
Think about the time commitment and damage to your business that can all happen in a matter of minutes because you didn’t think you were at risk because you are in ‘the cloud’!
Maintaining and optimizing databases
Company databases require constant updating to keep up with the trend and increasing demand of a practice. To do this, a technical team that understands how a practice is run is needed in order to optimize, update or create new databases for practices.
Resolving network issues
Network problems in a practice are also solved by technical support teams who are well-versed in the technologies used. This includes issues to do with internet connectivity and linking of smart devices to company networks.
Most importantly Technology Lifecycle management
A veterinary practice moves to a cloud based practice management system and never properly maintains the equipment that accesses this software. As a result at Lucca we are seeing an increase in the demand for our IT Health Assessment services. In almost 90% of cases this is coming from either a corp group looking to purchase your practice or the bank that is going to finance an independent buyer. The people ‘with the money’ are seeing the ever growing importance of technology and don’t want to be stuck with a $40,000 bill to get the practice back to the 21st century, post acquisition. Combine the increases cyber security risk with neglected workstations and this creates for a ticking time bomb.
According to the AVMA the average claim for a cyber security attack is $133,000!
A good IT provider should help to guide you through proper technology lifecycle management. This way you can properly budget and manage the technology in your veterinary hospital. Imagine at 4 o’clock on a Monday as you have a parking lot full of clients your front desk workstation crashes. Cloud bases or not this is likely the cash flow workstation for your hospital. How do you manage this risk? With proper technology lifecycle management.
What can you do?
You can start by having Lucca perform an IT Health Assessment on your practice to determine your risk level. From there we can help you create a proper technology lifecycle plan and determine what is going to be the best plan for your veterinary hospital moving fwd.
Also get your FREE copy of our “5 Simple Steps to Protect Your Practice” eBook.
Schedule your FREE consultation call today!
Schedule a call with our Director of Veterinary Data Security, Clint Latham today. Click the link below to get direct access to his calendar to pick a date and time that’s most convenient for you.