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You, Too, Can Beat Technophobia

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Are you a technophobe when it comes to your work? Would your colleagues call you a “virtual veterinary Luddite”?

Does the thought of computer-related veterinary work—online or for recordkeeping, in particular—give you a massive migraine? Maybe it induces panic attacks, instead.

Either way, you’re in good company.

Plenty of veterinarians among us eschew the “evils” of the common machinery that a growing percentage of practices can no longer live without. Sure, by now all our practices have computers. Maybe we even know how to use them when we absolutely have to.

But does that mean we’re willing to take our practices to the next level computer-wise? Usually the answer is a big NO. There’s always something higher on our wish list. Digital X-rays, anyone?

Different Kind of Tool

When we think of ourselves as technologically savvy, many of us point to all that stainless-steel surgical hardware we adore, the power tools that line the back of our OR’s cabinets, the fancy anesthesia monitors, dental rads, fecal centrifuges and blood work machines.

They’re cool, right? Yet add a laptop to one of those neat-o trinkets and it becomes a leering countertop tool eerily reminiscent of your next worst nightmare: the dreaded Internet.

You mean I have to log in before I can use my endoscope?

Breathe now, just breathe. Consider for a moment that none of this stuff is rocket science. Moreover, none of it actually has to be managed by you. No one is asking you to Tweet your professional life away, develop a Facebook profile or disabuse you of the notion that MySpace and YouTube are not TV kid shows.

But you do have to begin to accept that all your fantabulous veterinary toys are becoming increasingly underutilized if you can’t communicate your findings to anyone.

Those digital rads? Great quality and they free up some space. But the plus side means little unless you integrate them into a larger system of computerized medical records.

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Count the Benefits

Computer-driven medical records mean better medicine for a huge host of reasons:

  • Records are more complete. 
  • Conditions can be tracked.
  • Pre-existing medical issues are flagged.
  • All drug or vaccine reactions are prominently noted.
  • Drug labels may be printed.
  • Cautions can be included.
  • Your handwriting’s no longer a liability.
  • Specialists can receive and interpret these more readily.
  • Records can be stored on a disc so the next time a diabetic cat’s owner heads to the ER, its docs won’t have to re-invent the wheel.

For decades now, the concept of fully computerizing medical records has been out there. For the past 10 or so years, the technology has been readily available to most any health care provider. Those of us who adopted this approach are almost invariably ecstatic over its ability to force us to keep better records, catch mistakes before we make them and help us connect better with other veterinarians.

Add to that the possibility of serious revenue enhancement through invoice control features—catching lost charges, for example—and these systems practically pay for themselves.

There’s no need to be a technophobe. Even if you can’t type, the point and click option is always there. Can’t use a computer? The 22-year-old receptionist can help you log in.

Do I work in a paperless office? Heck no. But I lobby for it regularly. Can I complain? Not really, especially now that I’m finally getting my digital X-rays. <HOME>

Patty Khuly, VMD, MBA, is a small-animal practitioner in Miami and a passionate blogger at www.dolittler.com.

Are you a technophobe when it comes to your work? Would your colleagues call you a “virtual veterinary Luddite”? Does the thought of computer-related veterinary work—online or for recordkeeping, in particular—give you a massive migraine? Maybe it induces panic attacks, instead.technophobe, veterinarians, medical records, veterinary

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