One thing that I’ve learned over the years, despite all our drooling over newfangled shiny toys and the latest in technology, when it comes down to it the medical professions are fairly resistant to modernization and change. It happens, but very very slowly.
Think I’m kidding? How many of your vet clinics are on Facebook? I rest my case.
The last conference I went to was BlogPaws, where every lap held a laptop and the speakers looked out onto a sea of head crowns, bent over the keyboard, rehashing the talk in real-time over Twitter. #Shejustcoughed #Speakerjustgaveintroduction #Speakerturningonmike . The conversation was perpetual, instantaneous, and virtual. Granted this is a little more than the average person needs to know, but I applaud the enthusiasm with which modern media is embraced.
I was actually pleasantly surprised to see how well the Western Veterinary Conference has kept up with the times. Instead of flipping through my brochure trying to track down what room I need to be in for the next talk, I can download an Iphone app and have the information at my fingertips. They also provided free Wifi throughout the conference. I know if you are in another field this would be a given, but like I said, we tend to the Luddite side of things in this field so that’s a huge deal.
Well, I thought to myself, we’re wired now! I’m good to go! So I went into a conference room and set up shop: my laptop in my bag, my iphone for texting, and my ipad for taking notes. The people around me, many of them younger than me, pulling out their notebooks and pens (how quaint!) looked at me like I had three heads. A moderator actually asked me what that, and I quote, ‘newfangled phone looking thing’ was, pointing to the ipad. I said it was a portable ultrasound machine. Well, it probably will be soon enough.
It was great. When the speaker mentioned a website, I could pull it up in real-time and bookmark it for later reference. I ordered some books someone recommended. And I got to take an impromptu Facebook vote when I couldn’t decide whether to go to a potty issues lecture or one on animal hoarding.
By the end of the day I had taken to sitting in outcast land on the side, pointed toward the wall out of fear the glow of my LED screen might offend someone who hadn’t yet seen the light (ha!). Yes, they may mock me now, but mark my words- in a couple of years the pen and notebook will be the way of the dodo.
Embracing technology and keeping up with that aspect of life and business can only reflect well on you as a practitioner, right? If you’re willing to keep up with that, you’re probably also adapting to changes in the medical field. If you’re stuck in the 80s with your IBM and your dot matrix printer, what does that say about the medicine you practice? Am I going to go in the back and find mercury thermometers next to the xylazine?
As I sat typing merrily along on the latest in litterbox aversion therapy, I caught the slight but unmistakeable glow of another LED screen off to my right. There, banished to the periphery next to me, sat another woman, another visionary, plugging the same notes into her ipad. There’s hope for us yet.