We know the most pressing needs of today’s veterinary practices are not immediately addressed by technology. In April of 2021, Covetrus partnered with research firm KS&R to conduct a blinded online research survey of 514 veterinary software decision-makers at US-based veterinary practices with patient populations of ≥50% companion animals. Forty-two percent of respondents reported hiring/staff retention issues to be the biggest challenge at their practice. In a structured list of values, 98% of respondents cited quality of care to be among the most important, with 88% citing it as “very important” and 10% as “somewhat important.” Comparatively, only 31% of respondents believed “leveraging technology to improve business operations” qualified as “very important.” Based on these results, it can be concluded that matters relating to clients, patients, and processes like quality of care are paramount in the veterinary world, with technology often being much further down the list of priorities.
However, quality of care and empowered, effective team members are not unrelated to technology. Technology should be thought of like the wiring, plumbing, or other infrastructural parts of a home: we never think about it when it does what it is supposed to, but it is a big issue when it does not. Good technology, though, should not just hum along behind a curtain; it should actively enhance care delivery processes and be something that team members can easily use—and maybe even enjoy.