Vets Now enhances Resource Efficiencies thanks to Star CloudPRNT™ technology

Vets Now is the UK’s leading pet emergency service providing urgent and emergency care for pets from 60 sites across the UK.  With around 2000 staff, Vets Now takes around 2 million calls a year from its customers, treating over 200k urgent and emergency cases in its clinics and hospitals annually.  Focusing on wrap around care, Vets Now operates when daytime veterinary practices close, providing out-of-hours and emergency care during nights, weekends and bank holidays.

Its hub and spoke model allows surrounding practices in any particular area to call upon Vets Now to provide out-of-hours emergency care.  Vets Now also offers 24/7 specialist referral hospital support in some key metropolitan locations, with clinicians supporting a range of specialist disciplines.

In order to print drug and address labels, Vets Now used the Star TSP700II LAN printer for a number of years before migrating to Star’s Cloud solution, thanks to the Star HI X CloudPRNT interface.  Given the interface can simply be plugged into the back of the TSP700II LAN, this provides a cost-effective Cloud solution without the need to replace the existing printer.

Prior to migrating to Star CloudPRNT, Vets Now was receiving on average between 4 to 8 support tickets a day due to clinics and hospitals experiencing various issues relating to printing labels.  This was due to the process of printing a label from Vets Now’s PMS system being far more complicated than it needed to be, resulting in unnecessary frustration for clinicians working in a high-pressured environment. 

Having looked at different options internally to see how the problem could be resolved, Vets Now considered making some changes to its PMS system as Niall Phillips, Technology and Customer Director at Vets Now explains: “Printing for us is essential to ensure that customers have the key information on the controlled drugs they are issued with for the health and well-being of their pets. Clinicians were wasting a lot of time trying to print labels and we were having to issue guidance on a regular basis, so we tried to streamline and standardise the application configurations that were being used.  However, the clinicians don’t all have the necessary IT skills and, moreover, shouldn’t need to have those skills.  We just wanted a solution that was reliable, simple and straightforward and which leveraged an existing investment rather than one which involved multiple infrastructure components that all had to line up, but which rarely did.”

Identifying Star CloudPRNT, Vets Now felt confident this would remove a lot of the manual effort which was having to be carried out by the clinicians.  Now it is simply a case of going into the PMS system, selecting the print option and seconds later an aligned label is printed with the text correctly positioned within the margins.

As Niall Phillips adds: “On learning about a trial of Star CloudPRNT, we did an initial proof of concept of the service and were blown away.  We wanted to cut all our infrastructure out of the loop, integrate directly with our PMS and have Star handle the margin settings for the labels that we used.  Star’s solution did all of that.  We just needed to buy a card and plug it in the back of the printer with minimal setup required.  In order to integrate Star’s managed CloudPRNT service StarPrinter.Online, Star’s API was well documented which made it straightforward for Vets Now with one of our developers just having to make some minor modifications.”

Thanks to the online dashboard available with StarPrinter.Online, the CloudPRNT portals notify Vets Now if there are any issues across the printer estate, for example if any of the printers are not working or if a printer is out of labels. It can also indicate if the labels have been inserted correctly. Vets Now simply provides the necessary guidance.

When a user selects a clinic or hospital in Vets Now’s PMS system, they can see the printers that are present at a particular site.  The user just selects the printer and the information is sent directly, effectively removing printing from Vets Now’s network onto Star’s network. 

“We had all sorts of security questions which Star kindly answered at the time and which satisfied our compliance requirements, giving us the confidence to proceed.  They were very responsive in obtaining the hardware we needed and, recognising that we wanted to leverage an existing investment so as to avoid replacing the entire printer estate, Star helped us to do so which has been brilliant”, comments Niall Phillips.

Since introducing Star CloudPRNT, the number of incidents each week has reduced dramatically.  Moreover, the success of the solution is highlighted in the reaction from staff at one hospital as Niall Phillips details: “While conducting tests at our Glasgow hospital, where we were installing label printers as part of our rollout, we were suddenly surrounded by clinicians, nurses and vets just extolling the virtues of the product and how it has changed their lives.  That’s how enthusiastic they were as they can rely on the solution rather than worrying whether it will work or not.”

For Vets Now, it has acted as a significant resource efficiency. “From having 4 to 8 support tickets on average a night to a couple a month, largely relating to labels being replaced or incorrect label type being installed, we had multiple scenarios where it’s taken clinicians 10 to 20 minutes to fix label printing issues.  In our calculations, we averaged it out that 3 minutes were saved per label and given we print 12,000 labels per month, based on the data from StarPrinter.Online at the time, we’ve been saving around 7,200 clinical hours over a year.  We can redirect that clinical time to deliver value to our customers and their pets.  The Star CloudPRNT service has made a massive difference”, concludes Niall Phillips.

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