I am constantly amazed how technology is changing our lives. As a veterinarian, I am always challenged to keep up with these changes, especially when it is related to how health care is delivered to my patients. I also have to admit, I am a bit of a technology junkie, and enjoy taking advantage of the opportunities to improve my patients’ care and treatment using technology.
I have been part of the digital age for a few years now. We changed from taking x-rays using films to taking digital x-rays in 2007. This has many advantages including better diagnostic images, more portable images (I can give my clients a CD with the images instead of sending a packet with x-ray film), easier to get second opinions on the images (I can send them electronically, and often have results in hours instead of days), easier to store (I have an external hard drive to back up images, instead of having to fill a room with films). Lastly, and most importantly, we rarely have to repeat taking an x-ray, which is much less stressful for the patient.
About a year ago, we changed from paper to computerized records. The greatest advantage is we no longer have to deal with interpreting handwriting, and I have to admit, my handwriting was often the worst, sometimes I even had a hard time deciphering it! In addition, it is much easier to review records when they are all on the computer, and it is one of our attempts to be more environmentally friendly, by using less paper.
I am very excited about a project I am involved in with the city of Maple Valley. Their Web site will feature local businesses, and the company they hired came out and made a 60 second video for the businesses that chose to be involved. I think that Web site will be up and running soon, so make sure you check it out at http://www.ci.maple-valley.wa.us/.
We are also involved in a project that is a big hit with our clients. It is called Pet Portal and it is a Web site that our clients can log into and review their pets vaccine history, medication history, prescription diet history, request appointments and medication refills. Since there is 24 hours access to this Web site, our clients are finding it a convenient way to manage their pet’s health care. The Web site doesn’t provide access to complete medical history yet, as is the case with some human health care Web sites, but it is still in the very early stages of development.
Lastly, and perhaps the most out of this world to me, is that we will have an “avatar” on our Web site that answers frequently asked questions about pet care. This is a woman whose image will appear on the Web site and she will speak. This reminds me of the hologram of Princess Leia in Star Wars. Our avatar, like the hologram, is not interactive.
I’m sure this is just the beginning. It is an exciting time to be practicing medicine and running a business. I want to thank everyone that came to visit me at the Maple Valley Farmer’s Market and hope to see you back again next year.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.