How to choose the right Practice Information Management Software (PIMS) for your Vet Clinic

Navigating the multifaceted world of a veterinary clinic involves juggling diverse responsibilities—everything from scheduled appointments and emergency visits to client queries and back-office tasks. At the heart of this intricate operation is the linchpin that holds it all together: the Practice Information Management Software (PIMS).

When deciding on a PIMS, you’re not just making a budgetary decision but setting the course for how efficiently your practice operates, how securely data is kept, and how well you can serve your clients. As you sift through options, make sure you have taken the time to identify your practice’s unique needs accurately. Consider not just the immediate functionalities but also the flexibility to adapt to future challenges and opportunities.

Choosing a PIMS isn’t merely about ticking boxes for features or capabilities. It’s about finding a system that molds itself around your clinic’s specific requirements, both present and anticipated. The right PIMS should offer you more than operational efficiency; it should serve as an enabler, unlocking avenues for enhanced patient care and sustained growth. By aligning with a system that’s attuned to the complex, evolving landscape of veterinary care, you set the stage for long-term success and resilience.

Working your way through the technological jungle to find the right PIMS for your veterinary clinic can be complex. Selecting the wrong system could be costly in both time and resources. The good news is that you’re not alone—this guide is designed to give you the tools to make an informed decision, taking you through key considerations and common pitfalls.

First, Identify Your Needs


Ah, budget—the big, sometimes scary, elephant in the room. While it’s tempting to opt for the most budget-friendly solution, remember that you often get what you pay for. Some systems may have low upfront costs but come with expensive add-ons or upgrades down the road. Make sure to factor in not only the initial investment but also the long-term costs of system updates, potential new modules, and customer support.

Choosing a PIMS that aligns with both your current and future needs is crucial for the longevity and success of your veterinary practice. One consideration often overlooked is the pricing model. Opting for a system priced per DVM per month can offer a level of predictability that helps with budget planning. Such a model provides a consistent monthly expense, allowing you to allocate resources more efficiently and plan for other budgetary needs.


You may be lured by bells and whistles, but don’t forget the basics. Think about your clinic’s day-to-day workflow. Will you need to manage multiple appointments, billing, and patient records? Do you offer specialized services like boarding or grooming that must be integrated? Make a list of ‘must-haves’ and ‘nice-to-haves’ and prioritize accordingly.


When dreaming about your clinic’s future, consider how easily your PIMS can grow with you. Can it accommodate additional users, patient volume, or multiple locations easily? If your plans include expansion, selecting a PIMS that can scale with minimal fuss and without additional cost is crucial.

Who actually owns the PIMS?

Determining who owns the Practice Information Management Software (PIMS) and your clinic’s data is critical to your selection process. While some PIMS options may be part of larger conglomerates or networked systems, there is a distinct advantage in choosing an independently owned PIMS in veterinary medicine. Independent platforms often offer a greater level of customization and adaptability to meet your practice’s unique needs.

Owning your data within the PIMS is paramount for several reasons. First, it guarantees your autonomy over critical patient and client information. This impacts not only your ability to switch software providers if needed but also has ramifications for data security, legal compliance, and overall clinic governance. Secondly, an independently owned PIMS generally provides more tailored customer service and can quickly adapt to the evolving demands of the veterinary profession.

Types of PIMS


The powerhouse of customization—on-premise systems let you fine-tune every detail. However, you’ll likely need a dedicated IT team for maintenance and updates. Also, consider the costs of hardware and storage facilities, as these can quickly add up. And as more and more practices embrace advances in technology, they are choosing to retire their server-based PIMS.


Cloud-based systems offer many advantages, making them an excellent choice for today’s veterinary practices. Accessibility is a standout benefit, allowing veterinary professionals to access vital data anytime and anywhere with an internet connection. This is particularly useful for multi-location practices or those who offer mobile services.

On the financial side, the cloud model is generally more cost-efficient, removing the need for substantial upfront investments in hardware and ongoing maintenance.

Security and data integrity are often enhanced, thanks to robust protection measures and frequent backups. Scalability is another plus, offering the flexibility to adapt resources based on current needs. Updates and system upgrades are typically automatic and seamless, ensuring the practice stays current with minimal effort.

Additionally, the cloud facilitates easier real-time collaboration among staff and often takes care of regulatory compliance updates, making it a comprehensive solution well-suited for the complex, fast-paced environment of veterinary care.


Although not commonly found, the hybrid nature, combining cloud accessibility with the ability to work offline, makes it a suitable option for veterinary practices that need the flexibility of remote access but also want the assurance of offline functionality. While you can enjoy the benefits of both on-premise and cloud-based systems, remember that this often comes at a premium. Also, double-check how seamless the integration between the two platforms actually is.

Data Security & Compliance

In the world of patient data, security isn’t just a feature; it’s a necessity. Your selected PIMS should comply with legal data protection and patient confidentiality requirements. Encryption, secure login protocols, and regular security updates are all features to look for. The last thing you want is to risk a data breach or compliance issue.

User Experience

It’s software, but it should feel more like a helpful colleague than a complicated puzzle. Easy navigation, intuitive layout, and quick loading times are not just aesthetic concerns. They contribute to the efficiency and job satisfaction of your staff. Also, check if the vendor offers training and the level of customer support they provide.

When your employees use modern smartphones with beautiful, intuitive designs, when they have Alexa at home and turn to Chat GPT to generate ideas for a birthday party, it seems unreasonable to make them work on software that looks like Windows 95.

Integration & Compatibility

Can your chosen PIMS shake hands with your existing accounting software and play nicely with your digital imaging tools? Interoperability can save hours of manual labor and reduce the chances of error. Look for systems with API access or built-in integrations with popular third-party tools.

Support & Training

A strong support system isn’t a luxury; it’s a requirement. Does the vendor offer 24/7 support or just Monday through Friday, 9 to 5? Are there extra costs associated with support services? And don’t underestimate the value of comprehensive training resources—they’re your lifeboat in a sea of new technology.

Vendor Reputation

We all know that in any relationship, reputation matters. Do background checks, read user reviews, and ask for client testimonials. The reputation of a vendor can often speak volumes about the reliability and quality of their system.

Flexibility & Customization

Your clinic is unique, and your PIMS should be able to reflect that. From custom templates to tailored alerts, determine how much of the system can be customized to fit your specific workflow and needs. But be cautious—some systems charge extra for every tweak.

Data Migration

Transitioning to a new PIMS should not require a herculean effort. Confirm with vendors about the ease and cost of migrating existing data into the new system. Some might offer this as a complimentary service, while others may charge. Either way, a streamlined data migration process is worth its weight in gold.

Red Flags 🚩

Dive deep into those terms and conditions and look for hidden costs like setup fees or data storage charges. Read reviews not only on the vendor’s website but also on independent forums. Take note of any recurring complaints or issues. These could be your red flags.

10 questions you need to ask when choosing a PIMS

1. Is the PIMS cloud-based?

2. What about data security and ownership?

3. Are there frequent updates and innovations?

4. Does it offer the most complete solution for your practice?

5. Does the PIMS offer a solution for invoicing and inventory?

6. Does the veterinary software offer solutions for compliance?

7. Is it intuitive and easy to use?

8. Do you have access to customer support at all times?

9. Does it cater to modern client expectations?

10.  Does it have integrated Artificial Intelligence (AI) ?

Here is more information on what questions to ask when choosing a PIMS.

Choosing a PIMS is more than a business transaction; it’s a long-term commitment. This system will be an integral part of your clinic’s day-to-day operations, influencing administrative efficiency and patient care. Take your time, research, and choose the best aligns with your clinic’s current realities and future aspirations.