An angry veterinarian says “I don’t understand…”

From my wife:

I truly don’t understand why human medicine finds it is so difficult to put medical records on the computer. Veterinary medicine has had that ability at least for the last 10-15 years.

An example is the Idexx Cornerstone Veterinary Practice Management software that has easy to use programs and imports lab data directly from the company or your own in house laboratory machines.

Another example is Banfield, The Pet Hospital, who collects data from all its hospitals around the country and anonymously collates the data. Systems like this allow early detection of things like disease trends, vaccine failure and new disease processes. IMPORTANT information.

I’ve been told the VA healthcare system has had similar abilities for some time too.

We don’t even have to start from scratch on software like this for humans, just update or modify systems already created.

Signed, angry veterinarian, Virginia Rambow, DVM

Here’s what she’s talking about, from Banfield’s page on evidence-based medicine:

our centralized medical database is the most comprehensive of its kind. It allows us to electronically gather and access millions of Pet records. With this tool, our team members are able to stay informed and up-to-date in the practice of evidence based medicine. In addition, this technology enables us to conduct quality-assured, cost-effective clinical studies to facilitate the continual improvement of Pet health care.”

My goodness, and all this at the price of a veterinarian instead of a human doctor?

Now let’s hear all the vastly complex reasons why what she proposes can’t be done.


Posted in: hc's problem list | medical records | trends & principles




10 Responses to “An angry veterinarian says “I don’t understand…””

  1. It appears to me that pets don’t have as many privacy concerns as humans. Never heard of a cat loosing its job because it has be re-identified from a database of “millions of Pet records”.

    But I agree with the sentiment. Privacy is neither an excuse nor a comprehensive explanation for this observation.

  2. Well good, Gunther, that’s #1: privacy. Got that.

    Next? (I know it was a lippy post, everyone; let’s have the issues out on the table.)

  3. Bart says:

    does this confirm that adoption of EHR technology is faster in non regulated and consumer oriented markets? It seems that veterinarians don’t fear transparency. The question to ask is what do “human doctors” fear?

  4. ePatientDave says:

    New EMR post on An angry veterinarian (my wife!) writes “I just don’t understand”

  5. Hi Bart! Couple of thoughts –

    1. I don’t know if this confirms anything about different markets – one anecdote ain’t my idea of a data set for drawing conclusions. :–) If you have other data that might educate us, please share.

          As I often say, I’m new to all this. Reading up on just the basics of US healthcare in the past year has been an exhausting hobby at times, and I know I have much more to learn.

    2. From what I’ve heard anecdotally over the years, some vets are not my ideal of transparency, and conversely my own (human) doctors ARE my ideal of transparency. So I think your “seems” doesn’t pan out as a universal truth.

  6. Cindy Throop says:

    RT @ePatientDave New EMR post on An angry veterinarian (my wife!) writes “I just don’t understand” #ixie

  7. whodat says:

    and vet school is much harder to get into than med school and gets paid significantly less … they do it because they like the work

    the average veterinarian that I’ve met is more capable than the average doctor that I’ve met

    so, what does this say about the canard “we have to pay doctors better or we wont’ get the best and brightest any longer?” If we pay less, maybe we’ll simply get those people that actually like helping people and practicing medicine.

  8. Hi, whodat – don’t get Ginny started on THAT subject; beLIEVE me, I’ve heard about that one.

    Not only that, she was one of the first women ever admitted to Michigan State’s excellent vet school, and she was dissed by some people back in those days, because she was “taking up a valuable spot that a man could have, and all she was going to do was go off and get pregnant.”

    Ha: she ended up instead on the New England Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and worked on the team that created national standards for veterinary licensing. That is, SHE ended up in a position to judge THEIR butts.

    And when she found herself to be a single mom, she entrepreneurially created the business of relief veterinarians (a skilled, very specialized temp agency) so she could work from home, mixed with getting out at times. Business-wise her value proposition was that she would be a reliable broker because she could tell the difference between schlock-docs and good ones.

    It was the first such business ever in New England, and it gave her first-hand experience with over a hundred vet practices in New England. So when she talks about what vets do, she’s not talking about an isolated example.

    But hey, weren’t we talking about medical records systems? :–)

    Seriously, what are the reasons we shouldn’t just take one of the veterinary systems and have humans start using it?

    So far we have a mention of privacy issues. I’m sure there must be other reasons. Somebody, tell me.

  9. Shawn Finch says:

    Hi All! I am a veterinarian at Banfield and I LOVE our computerized medical record system! I know we do not have the emotionally and legally charged privacy issues that humans do, but pets’ identities are still protected. Banfield just published a great article in JAVMA (Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association) about the corrolation between dental and cardiac health, using all of the records from Banfield. My chiropractor was recently in with his pup and loved our system. I don’t know if he has taken it any further, but it could probably pretty simply be adapted to the human medical field.

  10. KianaB says:

    I think privacy is the biggest, but also I wonder about the initial startup costs. That might be a deterrent.

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