All posts by robert

Version 1.62.6452 onwards

  • Bug fixed affecting discount pricing when importing an estimate
  • Added facility to make it easier to send an email or SMS message to multiple clients or contacts – the email or message text can now be typed at the start of the operation and no longer needs to be saved to a template file in advance
  • Automated reminder processing now allows multiple actions to be combined. This enables for example a reminder action to result in both an email and an SMS message with an alternative action of an address label if no email address or mobile number exists
  • To cope with more complex reminder protocols, the system can now be configured to prompt the user to choose between specifiable reminder options when pricing rather than require a fixed reminder. This is useful when selling differing quantities of a monthly wormer and allows the user to choose between for example 1, 2, 3 and so on monthly reminders
  • Phone number lookup facility added – press ‘F7’ to use

For further information re. version numbers etc. see the earlier post.

Version 1.58.6273 onwards

  • Service fee additions can now be set as ‘cancellable’ – previously if an addition corresponded to a non-zero minimum invoice quantity, then the addition had to be priced and then deleted from the open invoice if the item was not required
  • When creating a new clinical note, the purpose from any matching appointment (same day and same animal) will be copied automatically into the ‘history’ section. This behaviour can be suppressed by setting the global configuration flag ‘SuppressCopyApptPurposeIntoNote’
  • System can now optionally prompt user for confirmation when deleting a single item from an open invoice – to enable this set the global configuration flag ‘ConfirmOpenInvoiceItemDelete’
  • The system ‘active date’ can now be set into the future – this is controlled by the global configuration value ‘ForwardDateMargin’
  • A facility now exists to print a listing of all animal details (eg. weight, name, date of birth, chip number etc.). To use open the ‘client details’ screen, right-click the appropriate animal in the list of pets for the client, then choose option ‘print pet details’
  • Weight charts can now be created. To use open the ‘client details’ screen, right-click the appropriate animal in the list of pets for the client, then choose option ‘create weight chart’. This will extract all historical weights for the animal from the clinical history and copy them to an Excel spreadsheet where they are used to create a ‘line graph’ which can be resized as required by the user. The Excel spreadsheet is saved on the client’s ‘Notes and Documents’ screen.
  • Both drugs and service fees can now be marked as ‘Hide if free of charge”. Such items will have their displayed description prefixed with [HideIfFOC] and will not appear on printed invoices and/or itemised account statements if they are priced at zero.
  • The displayed date information for notes now includes the time. To revert to default behaviour set the global configuration flags ‘ClinicalNotesFormatDateOnly’ and ‘NotesFormatDateOnly’

For further information re. version numbers etc. see the earlier post.

Version 1.54.6095 onwards

  • Pet details now include a “passport” number
  • System now allows clients to have multiple “default” email addresses – set the global configuration value “AllowMultipleClientDefaultEmails” to True to enable this option
  • SMS screen actions now allow an alternative action if no valid SMS number (commencing 07) exists
  • The “prompt payment discount” facilities (only for ex-vat b2b systems) have been updated in line with the latest HMRC requirements
  • The “card surcharge” option now allows manual entry of the surcharge amount rather than automatic calculation
  • Additional options now exist when printing drug labels. The control used to specify the dosage information now has check boxes to choose whether or not the species and/or batch number is printed on the label; a withdrawal period can be specified; and if required, an “unlicensed consent form” can be generated. These options can be set manually but the drug details screen also allow defaults to be set individually on a per drug basis.

For further information re. version numbers etc. see the earlier post.

Version 1.50.5925 onwards

  • Black Dog now includes the facility to set a drug as “batch information required” – the system then tracks batch information for all usages of that drug (both on dispensing and on arrival on the premises). For items where it is important (either for clinical reasons, e.g. vaccines in small animals, or for legal requirements, e.g. use in food animals) that the batch number is tracked this is now the recommended approach to use in Black Dog, irrespective of whether or not the practice uses the stock control facilities.
  • An “automatic reminder” mode is now available — this is a version of a Black Dog client that runs unattended and processes standard reminder actions such as the sending of SMS reminders. These can be staggered during the working day to ensure that:  (a) the practice is open when the reminders are sent; and (b) that reception will not be overloaded by multiple calls to book appointments at the same time.
  • Direct online microchip registration now available for Avid microchips.
  • Emails can now be saved without being immediately emailed. There are two “save modes”: either “draft” for emails that are not yet complete, or “pending” which is for emails that are ready to be sent but cannot be sent from the current PC for some reason, typically because the internet is not currently available. “Pending” emails will be automatically sent by the Black Dog server during its routine overnight maintenance checks.
  • If using the SMS message service provided by TextLocal, then longer SMS messages can now be sent (which use multiple credits).
  • Improvements made to various screens allowing automatic resizing to better fit larger application windows.
  • Option now available to add species name to all drug labels
  • Animal details now include a “not for human consumption” flag

For further information re. version numbers etc. see the earlier post.

Version 1.38.5640 onwards

  • A ‘batch’ invoicing facility is now available. This allows multiple open invoices for multiple clients to be finalised in a single operation via the global ‘invoice items’ screen (a subscreen of ‘Client Utilities’ -> ‘Takings’). This is particularly useful for businesses that bill periodically, for example at the end of each month.
  • Thresholds can be set to control automated clearing of ‘small’ client credits and debits on invoice finalisation and/or payment processing. By default these are set to zero.
  • The ‘program management’ -> ‘network status’ screen now allows forcible disconnection of clients (with automatic release of any edit locks held by that client). This avoids having to restart the Black Dog server if a client has crashed without correctly disconnecting from the server.
  • Tablet mode now allows for both horizontal and vertical scrolling so that Black Dog is usable on touch screens without a keyboard in both portrait and landscape modes.

For further information re. version numbers etc. see the earlier post.

Version 1.37.5579 onwards

  • An optional invoice format is now available which groups together charges per pet and gives a subtotal for each pet.
  • Separate email templates now apply when emailing direct from the payment/finalise invoice panel depending on whether the transaction is an invoice only, a payment receipt only, or a combined invoice and receipt.
  • Itemised account statements can now optionally include the dates and quantities of individual invoice items.
  • If required the user can be presented with a choice of email templates to use when emailing a client or a contact.
  • Multiple open invoice items for multiple clients can now be finalised in one process via a Batch finalise screen action available on the client utilities –> takings –> invoice items screen. Likewise multiple regular or fixed prices can be invoiced in one process via a Batch invoice screen action from the same screen.
  • Client detail information such as addresses or phone numbers or email addresses can now be copied between clients via the right-click context menu.
  • Likewise people details can be copied from one contact to another – the user is prompted to delete the original details once copied.
  • Takings periods can now be split at a given date and time. This is useful if a user forgot to end a takings period.
  • Additional report fields are now available: ALL_PET_NAMES, ALL_PET_DETAILS, ALL_CURRENT_PET_NAMES, ALL_CURRENT_PET_DETAILS and EMAILS. Note report fields must be enclosed in angle-brackets without any spaces.

For further information re. version numbers etc. see the earlier post.

Version 1.37.5446 onwards

  • For sites that do not have a strong correlation between takings periods and receipts from their merchant services provider (credit card payments), the card payments recorded in Black Dog can now be itemised and so show separately when reconciling against bank account statements. By default this option is disabled.
  • A facility has been added to handle surcharges on card payments. For example if a client opts to pay say £100 by card, then the system can prompt the user whether or not a 3% surcharge should be added – if accepted then the client is automatically invoiced an additional £3, and the user prompted to take payment for £103 by card.
  • Banking periods now allow seperate dates for cash and cheque credits. This gives greater flexibility in business systems for paying in to the bank and then reconciling against bank statements.
  • If appointments are synchronised with Google calendar, then the system can be configured to use the same colours for appointments as used by the Google calendar.
  • There are now improved options re. dating of clinical notes and invoice items. Black Dog now has the notion of an active date which by default is today but can be manually set to an earlier date (within the last X days where X is configurable). The current active date is displayed in the bottom right-hand corner of the Black Dog window, and is high-lighted in pink if prior to today. To set or clear the active date right-click the bottom status bar (i.e. the displayed date and select option set ‘active date’. The active date will be used as the date of any newly created invoice items and as the date of any newly created clinical notes. As part of these changes an optional invoice format will be made available that shows the dates of each item in the invoice.
  • A facility has been added to handle early payment discounts. Please contact Black Dog Software for further information.
  • An option has been added that allows the user to select which pets to finalise invoice items for, i.e. if an open invoice contains invoice items for say 4 different animals, say Alfie, Buttons, Charlie, and Dino, then the user can opt to only finalise those items for Buttons and Charlie.
  • The Black Dog system can now integrate with an Android smartphone. The integration is via 3rd party software
    from JustRemotePhone and allows Black Dog to: (i) send SMS messages
    via the Android phone; (ii) automatically dial phone numbers on the phone – the phone call itself is
    still carried out via the phone, although if a bluetooth headset is used then the need to
    handle the phone in any way is removed. Additionally it would be possible (but these facilities are not yet implemented) to:
    (iii) add details of received SMS messages to Black Dog; and (iv) automatically look-up incoming phone numbers and
    display any matching clients and contacts. In order to support such usage, support can now be offered directly to
    Android smartphones using the same TeamViewer remote access software that is also used to access Windows PCs
    running Black Dog. Note both the phone integration and remote access require the installation of 3rd party software
    onto the Android phone itself, and minimum specifications apply.

For further information re. version numbers etc. see the earlier post.

Version 1.35.5340 onwards

  • Drag and drop is now implemented for files between Windows Explorer and Black Dog Notes and Document screens. For example, to import a file into Black Dog and link to a client, open the clients’ notes and documents screen, use Windows Explorer to navigate to the folder containing the file to import, then simply drag the file and drop onto the list of entries on the Black Dog notes and documents screen.

  • Drag and drop is now implemented for Black Dog appointments — simply drag an appointment and drop to a new room and/or time slot

  • The appointment and operations screens now re-size to fit larger monitors.

  • Black Dog contacts can now be merged. To merge contact A into contact B, open the contact details screen for A, allow edits, click button labelled Merge, then follow on-screen instructions.

  • Online microchip registration now supports Virbac chips

  • Black Dog contacts and/or clients can now be synced with Google contacts. For further information please contact Black Dog Software.

  • Client addresses now have an optional label that can be used to describe the nature of the address

  • Takings period details can now either be printed or viewed on-screen. This facility is also now available for current open takings periods.

  • It is now possible to set a contact alert that functions in a similar fashion to a client alert.

  • Checks have been added to prevent the accidental entry of nonsensical pet weights (eg. 45612456kg)

  • A very rare bug arising out of multiple-threads executing on the server has been diagnosed and fixed

  • The Black Dog appointments and calendar can now be integrated with Google Calendar. This is
    particularly useful for sites carrying out a lot of client visits – appointment changes made by the
    practice, eg. by reception staff, can be automatically received by the vet out on the road via
    Google Calendar running on their smart phone. Additionally Google Calendar provides an interface that could be
    utilised by the practice website for the purpose of appointment booking over the internet.

    More information has been sent to all sites by email.

  • Note that Black Dog now requires that Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (full version) is running on all PCs. This
    is required to support the Google Calendar integration. Framework 4 was released in 2010 and whilst it has only
    been automatically included by Microsoft in Windows 8 and 8.1, it may already have been installed on older PCs
    as a prerequisite for another application. If not present, then it can be installed from the
    Microsoft Download Center

  • Label templates can now be used with contacts as well as clients
  • Multiple messages can now be set as read in one go rather than individually
  • Facility added which allows sending of emails (with or without attachments) to multiple clients and contacts via the screen action mechanism. Note both the emails and the attachments can be customised to each client/contact via the standard Black Dog templates
  • Existing facility for sending multiple SMS messages to clients has been extended to contacts as well
  • Screen action introduced to client list and debtor admin screens to allow emailing of an account statement as an attachment
  • A case facility has been added which allows the association of a client’s notes and documents with a case: each case has a description and an identifying ID. By default this facility is disabled
  • It is now possible to import files and documents into Black Dog by simply locating the file on the local PC using a Windows explorer window, right-clicking the file and selecting the option Import into Black Dog. Note this requires configuration of registry settings so if interested please contact Black Dog Software for instructions on how to set this up

For further information re. version numbers etc. see the earlier post.

Version 1.29.5094 onwards

  • Black Dog has an existing feature where despite the user scrolling downwards as far as allowed by the
    vertical scrollbar controlling the display of information, the very bottom line may sometimes only be partially visible, or not visible at all. This only happens if the first row visible in the display comprises several lines.
    To date the available workaround has been to click with the mouse on the bottom row visible, and this usually results in the listing scrolling so that all rows are visible. For additional comfort, context menu options have now been added which allow the user to navigate directly to the last (and first) rows: right-click on any display
    grid and select option Go to ...

  • Multiple email addresses can now be entered for a client with a single email marked as the default for that client.

  • Windows 8.1 no longer supports the 3rd party mechanism used by Black Dog to create PDF copies of some printed material such as account statements. Unfortunately in replacing this with an updated version, the Black Dog executable is no longer compatible with the 3rd party software used to date, even on those PCs running an earlier version of Windows. Thus there are two issues that users need to be aware of:
    1) PCs will be unable to create printed output such as invoices until the correct 3rd party software has been installed – full instructions will be emailed to all sites;
    2) the appearance of account statements will have changed and may need amendment

  • When creating account statements via a screen action on the client list or debtor administration screens a copy of the account statement is now automatically saved to the clients’ notes and documents screen. Additionally it is now possible to suppress the actual printing, and in future updates it will be possible to set these to be automatically emailed or sent by DocMail.

  • A default Pet Alert can now be configured which will be used for all newly created pets. This can act as a useful aide memoire for any activities that have to be carried out for all new pets. Once carried out the alert for the pet can be modified appropriately by the user.

  • Email and SMS templates can be added to the list of options available when creating a new client letter (the route used for creating consent forms).

  • Drug prices can now be linked to a reminder type in a similar fashion to service fees. The relevant setting can be found at the bottom of the Dispensing and Clinical Notes tab of the drug details screen.

  • By default estimates are automatically deleted once expired – the expiry period is configurable but is set to 93 days by default. If the newly introduced global flag “PreserveEstimatesOnExpiry” is set then this automatic deletion is suppressed. When importing an expired estimate, the user is warned that this is the case and that the imported prices should be reviewed carefully as they may differ substantially from the current price list.

  • The system now supports Fixed and regular prices for clients in a comparable way to the existing facility for fixed prices and regular treatments for animals.
    These are displayed on an additional tab on the client details screen and are not displayed anywhere else. They can be used to record special prices for clients that can be applied to any
    animal registered to the client: fixed prices are exactly as the name suggests, special prices that are fixed and are not automatically updated in any way, whilst regular
    prices simply match the existing price list. To invoice simply right-click the required entry and select option Invoice

  • The facility allowing direct emailing of clients has been extended to include contacts

  • An issue has been found in Acrobat Reader which has potentially been responsible for unexpected Black Dog crashes. Black Dog uses Acrobat Reader hosted by Internet Explorer to display PDF files
    within the Black Dog application window. Periodically the underlying operating system software carries out a process of garbage collection in which it attempts to reclaim any resources no longer used.
    This happens at unpredictable times and on some installations it has been found, that if Acrobat Reader is no longer being used by Black Dog (because any displayed PDF files have all been closed) then the
    garbage collection process attempts to unload Acrobat Reader and in doing so causes a crash. In order to protect against this, Black Dog can be configured to permanently display a PDF file so ensuring that Acrobat Reader
    can never be unloaded

  • For each pet a referring contact can be set on the pet details screen. This allows the user to
    link the pet to a specified contact.
    This will be of limited use for 1st opinion
    practices but more relevant to referral sites.

  • Communication preference settings have been added to the client details screen. Due to space constraints this has
    required the introduction of Addresses … and Status … tabs immediately below the Client Alert

  • The client status lists displayed on the left below the navigation panel can now be customised in various ways. Additionally they are now subject to
    colour warnings. If an entry remains in the list for longer than a configurable threshold period, the background colour of the list will
    turn yellow; if double the threshold period, orange; and if triple, then red.

  • Direct emailing faciliites have been added. This allows emails to be sent from any Black Dog client (or can be restricted to certain PCs only) with the text of the email automatically stored on the relevant ‘notes & documents’ screen. Basic functionality is now working so anybody that would like to make use of this facility should contact Black Dog Software with details of an SMTP server including port, encryption settings, username and password, and reply-to email address.
    Note also that Black Dog will not be handling any incoming email as this would require provision of anti-spam and anti-virus facilities which is simply not sensible. Thus users need to make seperate (or continue with existing) arrangements (eg. using webmail or a client such as Mozilla Thunderbird) for receiving email.

  • When Black Dog is displaying multiple images from a Black Dog image folder (extension bdif on the ‘notes and documents’ screen), users can now move to the next image by double-clicking the current image.

  • Service fees can be excluded from a given PC on a per category basis. This can be useful if wanting to use different prices for a branch or visiting vet (with laptop) from those applying at the main site.

  • Under a contact it is now possible to list additional people with an individual landline, mobile, and email address as well as an arbitrary note. Due to space constraints this has
    required the introduction of Contact Details, People and Default Payment Information tabs.

  • Additional facilities have been added to allow practices to track the insurance status of pets. The Pet Details screen now includes an insurance expiry date, and various configurable options for user warnings relating to the recorded insurance status
    of the current pet.

  • Context menu options now exist on a client’s account history screen to credit and credit and re-invoice to another client.

  • A context menu option on the drug list screen now allows generation of an on-screen current stock value.

For further information re. version numbers etc. see the earlier post.

Version 1.26.4850 onwards

  • There has been a long term feature of the Black Dog system in that when switching from another Windows application to
    Black Dog, very occasionally another application, typically Microsoft Internet Explorer or Outlook, would appear front of screen
    but deactivated – in other words, Black Dog was in fact the active application but was not being displayed. This behaviour
    was inconvenient without being a disaster but with Windows 8 it seems that additional error checking in the operating system itself
    was detecting an actual error and forcibly shutting Black Dog down – more inconvenient. The behaviour is now believed to be fixed
    but as it only happened rarely and not on all PCs, it is difficult to be certain.

  • The printed day sheet listing visits/appointments now includes by default any client and/or pet alerts. These can be suppressed by setting the global configuration flag SuppressAlertsOnDaySheet

  • On start up Black Dog now checks if it was previously shut down normally. If not, then an email is sent to Black Dog Software. Note a common reason for an abnormal shutdown is a forced reboot following automatic installation of windows updates.

  • Online registrations of microchips is now implemented via the VetEnvoy service. Note some microchip databases also provide a direct route so anybody wishing to make use of this, should get in touch whether they are VetEnvoy registered or not.

  • Invoice items can now either be delayed indefinitely or delayed until a set date – the system then automatically un-delays them when that date is reached. Additionally an invoice item can be split into multiple parts, each delayed to a scheduled date. This is expected to be particularily useful in handling monthly payments for members of loyalty or discount schemes.

  • The document preview on the Document Import now handles Word documents. This is achieved via facilities provided by Internet Explorer and may require additional configuration to ensure Word documents are displayed within the browser rather than seperately.

  • Reminder types can be configured (set field ConfirmMode non-zero with a negative value allowing cancellation) so that the user is prompted to confirm the issue and due dates whenever a reminder
    of the corresponding type is automatically created or modified via a pricing event. This is particularily useful for practices that
    often find themselves pricing on a day subsequent to the actual vaccination.

  • Drug prices, service fees, and reminder types all now have an additional field ValidSpecies that can be used to restrict
    their usage to specific species. If the field is left blank, then no checks are made on species (the default behaviour) but by setting to a space-seperated list of species IDs (see the configuration table Pet Species for the appropriate ID numbers to use) then pricing will fail unless the
    corresponding pet belongs to one of the set species.

  • Client status types can now be configured (set flag ClientAlert) so that the status name is added automatically to
    the client alert prompt. Client and pet alerts are also now displayed on creation or modificiation of appointments and operations.

  • Client status types can now be configured (set flag SuppressAutoAllocation) so that the default auto-allocation process that occurs when new transactions are created is omitted for clients of that status type.

  • If a drug label is created for a VetToLabel drug as a result of pricing when the user is not a vet, the system prompts the user to identify the actual prescribing vet (which is the behaviour to date). The system now additionally automatically adds Authorised by …. to the MISC section of the current clinical note which has the additional affect of preventing the system from automatically saving the clinical note without user inspection on the basis that the sale of prescription only medicines is likely to require some non-automatic entry on the clinical history.

  • Additional facilities have been added for reminder processing. The reminder list has additional columns that record the
    last action performed for each reminder plus indicate the next action due. The latter applies if the reminder type has been configured so as to detail the actions required during the lifetime of the reminder relative to the issue and due dates. This is particularly helpful if wanting to carry out several actions for a single reminder; for example, on the sale of a 4-pack worming
    stop-on, a practice may like to send three SMS reminders at intervals to remind the client to apply the next spot-on, plus a further
    reminder to purchase another pack.
    If fully utilised these facilities can remove the need for users to remember what actions are required, and instead reminder processing can be a matter of simply once a week, asking the system to perform all the actions due in the next 7 days.
    For further information please contact Black Dog Software.

  • When printing multiple copies of a drug label, the system can either split the quantity dispensed between the labels, or can print the total quantity on every label. This option is controlled by a checkbox set by the user immediately prior to printing. By default this checkbox is set so that the quantity is split between labels but this is now configurable.

  • The system now uses label templates – these allow the addition and customisation of labels in a similar fashion to the existing facility for client letters, consent forms etc. Possible examples include a pet details label.

  • The document import screen now provides additional support for VetScan HM5 and PocketChem UA test results – abnornals are automatically extracted from the result file and summarised as part of the imported document description

  • Screen actions that are configured for the appointment list and operation list screens (which by default include SMS appointment reminders and SMS operation complete notifications) are now available via the right-click context menu on the appointments and operations screens themselves

  • During download of delivery information as part of the order check-in process, an option has been added to automatically create a new drug price if there is not an existing one corresponding to the supplied item. Note this only applies if the downloaded delivery data contains sufficient information with which to create the new drug price – currently this means that the option applies to Dunlops only. By default the option is enabled – to disable set the global configuration flag “SuppressAutoCreateOnDelivery” to true.

  • SMS messages can now be sent to multiple clients via user-configurable “screen actions” (see sections in the system manual “Using screen actions” and “Screen actions” for further information). Such actions are available via the client list, reminder list, pet list and debtor administration screens and thus can be used to send for example: Appointment reminders – the appointment list screen can be used to easily send SMS reminders to all clients with an appointment the following day; Booster reminders via the reminder list screen; Debt reminders – the debt admin screen could be used to send SMS notifications of current outstanding balance to all clients on a weekly basis.

For further information re. version numbers etc. see the earlier post.