Talking Tech: 2018’s Top 7 Technical Innovations to Invest In

Author: , VMD, MBA 

Veterinary Technology

Time to go shopping! But you can forget everyone else on your list. This splurge is all about you, your team, your clients, and your patients, of course.

All the new veterinary tools and toys on the marketplace this year has made me re-think how I do my job. Which is a good thing, of course. We all need a shake-up. We all need a challenge. And the recent availability of technology once deemed “too expensive to invest in” can absolutely prove stimulating in ways that keep us meaningfully engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine.

But this post isn’t just for practice owners with spending power. It’s for associates, practice managers, receptionists, and technicians too. Rest assured, the stuff you talk up and even beg for has a way of percolating in your boss’s brain, resulting in purchases eventually (if your boss is a good one).

After all, some of this gear is well-priced enough to be worth taking a little risk over. Some of it can even save the practice money in the short term given that alternatives it’s currently employing are more expensive.

So when you walk the conference hall during this year’s upcoming conference season, consider checking out all the offerings, along with these six wish list items for 2018:

1. Cloud-Based Practice Management Software

Is your practice stably connected to the internet? Then you might want to get thinking about cloud-based software. It eliminates the server along with much of the clunky code in your old-school practice management software. And it’s not as expensive as you might think. In fact, it might just be cheaper than what you’re currently using. Just be sure to do your research. And look out for any hidden costs or holes in the software’s offerings. You want to be sure the software does what you want it to do before paying to have all your data transferred.

Veterinary Software

2. Add-on Software

Let’s say you’re over the moon with your current software… except you wish it offered a few extra functions. Consider adding those bells and whistles with apps or add-on software that takes care of these holes in your functionality.

Client communication functionality is popular in the veterinary app marketplace. For example, some apps make it easier for general practices to share records with clients and specialists. Others will help you send text alerts and emails to augment or replace your outdated reminder system. And applications like Embrace360, from Embrace Pet Insurance, make offering pet insurance and processing claims a breeze.

3. Voice-Recognition Software

Sick of your keyboard? Are your fingers too slow for your brain? Maybe you’d rather speak your chart notes. If so, consider that medical software translating speech to text is extremely reliable. You might want to try it out.

4. Anesthesia Monitoring

Monitoring tools are always in fashion… and they’re always innovating. My favorite feature on most of the new devices is the capnometer. Less expensive and more reliable than ever before, these CO2-reading devices should be standard for all vet practices. If you don’t have one you probably need to look into one.

Another fun tool is the handheld pulse ox- and EKG-combo device. I love these for cage-side monitoring of anesthetic recovery. Given that most adverse anesthetic events happen when pets are off the surgery table, it only makes sense that these tools might be worth investing in.

5. Ultrasound

I’ve been meaning to work on my skills, but I’m still pretty mediocre at ultra sounding anything other than a bladder, a gravid uterus, and maybe some kidneys. For real. I suck. And given that the learning curve is steep, I’ve been realistic about the value of a device for my particular practice.

But now that a) I have two young associates, b) telemedicine services are improved, c) they’re less expensive, and d) it can even happen in real time, I might just pull the trigger.

6. Website

A website? For real? This is the tech innovation you’re hankering for? In my case, yes. And maybe you should be in the market for one too, given that Google has changed how it indexes websites so that independent designs aren’t as likely to get highly ranked. My SquareSpace site is pretty and economical, but it ranks well below what it used to only twelve months ago.

Sad, but true. So make sure you check out where you’re at and look into hiring an SEO specialist to tell you whether you’re in the market for a re-build. The up side is that the website creation process is both fun and rewarding.

7. Technical Education

Tech is nothing without the ability to implement it. So get yourself and your fellow teammates to the next big (or little) conference and get yourself educated!

What’s on your list of tech to-dos? Boning up on your orthopedics and rehab medicine? Biting into some dental radiography know how? Let me know where your team is headed. We want to hear what trends you see on the horizon.

Mind if we pay your vet bills?

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Pet health insurance is administered by Embrace Pet Insurance Agency, LLC and underwritten by one of the licensed insurers of American Modern Insurance Group, Inc., including American Modern Home Insurance Company d/b/a in CA as American Modern Insurance Company (Lic. No 2222-8), and American Southern Home Insurance Company. Coverage is subject to policy terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions, underwriting review, and approval, and may not be available for all risks or in all states. Rates and discounts vary, are determined by many factors, and are subject to change. Wellness Rewards is offered as a supplementary, non-insurance benefit administered by Embrace Pet Insurance Agency in the United States. © 2016 American Modern Insurance Group, Inc.