IDEXX Laboratories: Using big data to be the top dog in animal diagnostics

About IDEXX Laboratories

IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. develops and manufactures veterinary care products and technologies including diagnostic tools and information technology. Markets include companion animals; livestock, poultry, and dairy production; water quality testing; and human diagnostics.

Industries: Healthcare & Life Sciences
Location: United States

IDEXX launches VetConnect PLUS on Google Cloud Platform to give veterinarians worldwide anytime, anywhere access to clinical decision support data that keep pets healthy.

Google Cloud Platform Results

  • Saves up to $500,000 annually in IT spending
  • Supports high performance and innovation to retain VetConnect® PLUS customers
  • Rapidly expands to more than 30TB without performance issues or needing a database administrator
  • Improves customer experience by allowing easier communications across devices with colleagues and pet owners

Cuts IT overhead by up to $500K annually

In 2016 in the United States alone, people spent nearly $67 billion on their pets, including just under $16 billion on veterinary care. Whether the pets in question are furry, feathered, scaly, or aquatic, more than 75% of Americans consider them “beloved members of the family.” They view pet health and well-being to be just as important as their own. Accordingly, veterinary spending in the U.S. rose by 50% between 2006 and 2016.

As people invest more in their pets, they expect more from their veterinarians. That’s where IDEXX Laboratories Inc. helps make a difference. IDEXX designs and manufactures a broad range of solutions specifically for veterinary care, including medical supplies, sample analyzers, and software.

IDEXX VetConnect® PLUS supports clinical decision making via fast and easy access to diagnostic test results and related resources. Veterinarians and clinic staff can access the cloud-based platform from any device at any time, including laptop and desktop computers running practice management systems or via the web, or by using the VetConnect PLUS app on iOS and Android mobile devices.

“By building on Google Cloud Platform, we could deliver the clinical decision making benefits of the VetConnect PLUS platform to our veterinary clients quickly and reliably, making efficient use of our development resources.”

Jeffrey Dixon , Corporate Vice President and Chief Software Engineering Officer, IDEXX Laboratories

VetConnect PLUS enables users to view and manage test orders and results data, including medical images. It also tracks all emails, reports, and information shared among veterinarians, laboratories, and pet owners. Users can also communicate quickly and efficiently with pet owners by loading VetConnect PLUS information into IDEXX Pet Health Network® Pro, an online portal for personalized customer contact.

Secure and cost-efficient care

IDEXX wanted to combine its expansive understanding of customer needs with back-end technology that could support desktop and mobile app development and deployment. Because time to market and cost were critical concerns, IDEXX built VetConnect PLUS on Google Cloud Platform. Besides reducing the administrative and IT overhead associated with an onsite solution, Google Cloud Platform meets IDEXX’s stability, scalability, and security criteria.

“By building on Google Cloud Platform, we could deliver the clinical decision making benefits of the VetConnect PLUS platform to our veterinary clients quickly and reliably, making efficient use of our existing development resource,” says Jeffrey Dixon, Corporate Vice President and Chief Software Engineering Officer at IDEXX Laboratories.

“Traffic to VetConnect PLUS is very spiky—it slows down on weekends and peaks on Monday mornings, consistent with ebbs and flows of cases into veterinary offices. Google App Engine scales automatically to accommodate these spikes, so we don’t need to worry about application performance or crashing due to platform capacity.”

Jeffrey Dixon, Corporate Vice President and Chief Software Engineering Officer, IDEXX Laboratories

Scalability for better performance

VetConnect PLUS is a Java-based app that runs on Google App Engine. Currently 30,000 veterinary practices worldwide have used VetConnect PLUS to access more than 1 billion test results, compare results to IDEXX Reference Laboratories, and share client-friendly summaries.

“Traffic to VetConnect PLUS is very spiky—it slows down on weekends and peaks on Monday mornings, consistent with ebbs and flows of cases into veterinary offices,” says Jeff. “Google App Engine scales automatically to accommodate these spikes, so we don’t need to worry about application performance or crashing due to platform capacity.”

Built-in services and application programming interfaces (APIs) in Google App Engine integrate with iOS and Android mobile operating systems. This lets VetConnect PLUS users authenticate new devices easily with existing IDEXX VetConnect accounts.

Furthermore, APIs enable IDEXX medical-testing devices to stream clinical data to Google Cloud Datastore, the primary database for VetConnect PLUS. Even though IDEXX has uploaded more than 30 terabytes of data, Google Cloud Datastore has scaled without performance degradation or the need for a database administrator. For emails and other communications, IDEXX VetConnect PLUS leverages Google Cloud Storage. In both cases, Google Cloud Platform security features help protect data from threats and control access to only authorized recipients.

“Google Cloud Platform security features help give us peace of mind about the security and protection of our customers’ data,” says Jeff.

“IDEXX customers who use the app exhibit higher loyalty than customers who don’t, which is important in a recurring revenue business model. This translates into high customer satisfaction, higher recurring revenue growth, and keeps us profoundly differentiated from the competition.”

Jeffrey Dixon, Corporate Vice President and Chief Software Engineering Officer, IDEXX Laboratories

Continuous platform innovation

Since 2012, IDEXX has invested more than $450 million in research and development, which the company estimates is five times higher than its closest competitor. Part of that investment supports ongoing development and deployment of new features in IDEXX VetConnect PLUS. Such continuous innovation and experience improvements keep IDEXX ahead of competitors.

By running VetConnect PLUS on Google Cloud Platform, IDEXX has increased customer loyalty, boosted incremental revenue, and kept technology expenditures low. Compared with running an equivalent application in a data center, IDEXX estimates it saves up to $500,000 in annual IT costs.

“Because VetConnect PLUS offers a differentiated, improved experience for users, IDEXX customers who use the app exhibit higher loyalty than customers who don’t, which is important in a recurring revenue business model,” adds Jeff. “This translates into high customer satisfaction, higher recurring revenue growth, and keeps us profoundly differentiated from the competition.”

About IDEXX Laboratories

IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. develops and manufactures veterinary care products and technologies including diagnostic tools and information technology. Markets include companion animals; livestock, poultry, and dairy production; water quality testing; and human diagnostics.

Industries: Healthcare & Life Sciences
Location: United States

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