How CKEditor becomes an intuitive note-taking tool for IDEXX
IDEXX provides Practice Information Management software (PIM) for the veterinary sector. The solution encapsulates all the data about a pet’s veterinary clinic visit. CKEditor 4 is predominantly used in medical note-taking during the consultations as well as in other parts of the software. Thanks to CKEditor 4, vets are able to focus on what really matters — which is the care of the pets.
Challenge: inheriting a copy-pasted mess
IDEXX first met with CKEditor inside a veterinary Practice Information Management software they acquired. Unfortunately, not every CKEditor implementation you see or use on the web is well-thought or adjusted to particular needs. While investigating it, IDEXX noticed this was the case. CKEditor was basically copy-pasted into the application without any configuration effort on the implementer's part. It had a lot of its main features and tools missing and it needed a stylistic rework. IDEXX also realized their use no longer fell under Open Source.
After checking out ‘the real’ CKEditor, its full customization options, and the vast number of features available, IDEXX decided to properly implement CKEditor 4 into their product. There were many rich text areas they needed, from registration, appointment scheduling and consultation to document management, messaging and diagnostics. All of these use cases needed to be adjusted to work well with the pre-existing common workflow the IDEXX products had. But the crucial part was medical notes, where vets need to quickly update the patients' records during the consultation.
Solution: intuitive rich text editor implemented in the right way
Think of a puppy named Fluffy. The owner brings Fluffy to the vet clinic and, after registration, the system creates a consultation which encapsulates everything that happens during this visit: the conversation and concerns about how Fluffy is doing, the picture of Fluffy’s hurt paw, its blood pressure, and other test results. All of this information needs to be added to the medical notes and it needs to be there fast, during the time of appointment, before the next patient comes in.
So, in order to make medical note-taking even easier, IDEXX first optimized CKEditor 4 with the most desired table and image upload features. Other requested table formatting features like table resizing and the ability to color the cell were also implemented. The team aimed to make it as unrestricted as possible with features such as bold, underline, page break and form tools. This allowed them to create a “free form” writing experience where the users themselves can decide what is most important.
Customers are used to what they know from Gmail or WordPress and CKEditor has provided us with these functionalities relatively easily.
“Customers are used to what they know from Gmail or WordPress and having those rich text features available.” — says Michael Reid, Senior Software Development Manager at IDEXX. “There are certain things you can just do and people come to expect those no matter. CKEditor has provided us with these functionalities relatively easily.”
Result: valuable medical note-taking tool
Reid says the biggest advantage of CKEditor 4 is that it is super intuitive for customers. This is because CKEditor is used in so many places all around the web that people are familiar with how it works. Reid goes on to explain: ”Vets are vets because they love pets. CKEditor allows them to enter their medical notes quickly, easily and accurately. It enables veterinarians to focus on taking care of the pets instead of figuring out how to use the software. Each vet visit takes approximately 20 minutes max, so it is vital that the vets enter the consultation notes to the system within this timeframe. With CKEditor, they’re able to do this easily.”
Currently, there are 700 practices that are using the IDEXX PIM software. This means more than 1000 veterinarians create medical notes with CKEditor 4 every day. After the release with CKEditor 4, IDEXX PIM received positive feedback and a lot of additional feature requests. They still add features based on requests and try to update CKEditor 4 regularly.
Thanks to CKEditor 4, IDEXX took the medical note-taking functionality from something that was just copy-pasted to a tool that can be leveraged and give value to their customers.
"CKEditor is easy-to-use and intuitive. It allows vets to enter their medical notes quickly and accurately."
Senior Software Development Manager IDEXX