Wired

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.

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  • Tonya

    You go, Dr V! The rest of the “vet world” will catch up with you in 15 years. :)

  • Tabitha W

    Thats too funny, my vet clinic is on facebook.
    Glad you got to use all your toys (you are too lucky to have them!)
    I think your right, some professions need to move into 2011, like my profession… We still take case notes on paper….*sigh*

    • http://www.pawcurious.com Dr. V

      That’s awesome that they are on Facebook! All too rare these days!

      • Megan

        I don’t facebook personally, but I have BIG PLANS to start a facebook page for the new clinic I’ll be working for. Any tips on how to do it for a FB virgin?

  • Leigh

    Can’t wait to hear what you thought about the behavior issues lectures with Sophia Yin. Yay!

    • http://www.pawcurious.com Dr. V

      I had quite literally enough material to do a full week of blog posts. She outlined a plan for management that I am going to implement with Apollo for his marking.

      • LindsayP

        I am DEFINITELY interested in hearing about the management plan! My cat and I have been through a lot. We tried Prozac, didn’t work, and are 2 or so months into trying Valium. It’s definitely still hit or miss, so I’m always looking for more info on it! I follow http://www.thehappylitterbox.com now thanks to your recommendation :)

  • http://www.romeothecat.com Caroline

    Can I expect another guest post on http://www.thehappylitterbox.com about what you learned in your pee issues seminar? :)

    • http://www.pawcurious.com Dr. V

      Of course! A lot of it I had heard before but just as much was new to me. The best part was that she was hopeful that owners can find resolutions, which is missing a lot of the time. Oh well, that’s just cats, deal.

  • Cindra

    I’m glad there are vets like you embracing technology! I hail from the Silicon Valley, and I was so inculcated with the world of tech that it just seemed like the normal way of life. Then I moved here to the OC; I’m amazed how many people seem to think I’m Steve Jobs’ love child. I hope more and more offices start seeing the advantages of “being wired” – I’m shocked how many places don’t even have a website. (In SV, if you don’t have a website, it means you’re not open for business yet.)

  • Sassy

    My vet clinic is on Facebook – I got them on it! Then when I left, a vindictive former collegue blocked me so I can’t go to their Facebook page, even though I have no reason to diss them – or I didn’t until then! Ahhhhh, social networking – you can be cold shouldered in the virtual world too!

  • Tamara

    LOL!!! Yes, veterinary medicine is a little slower to pounce on new technologies that don’t directly affect medicine. Laser therapy, digital x-rays, the industry is all over, but iPads, iPhones…a little more risky ;-) That said, I would hate to see pens and paper go away! I love pens and paper.

    • Tonya

      I do love pens and paper too!

  • Drsteggy

    I found the wifi spotty the first 2 days. It was much better yesterday. And we must be in different lectures…I see several ipads around me. I’m stuck on my IPod touch but I was still able to pull up lecture notes when I made a last minute change of plans. My screen is far too small to be practical though. I’ll be IPadding it next year, I think.

    • http://www.pawcurious.com Dr. V

      Agreed, the first day was very spotty. I got kicked off every 10 minutes. I love the wvc connect- it’s fantastic! So where are all the technophiles? They want nothing to do with shelter medicine or behavior. Maybe I will see some at the Bojrab lectures.

      • lin

        They can’t afford it! After the school payments, I would think shelter vets would have to go back to their Gateway running Windows 97. I would love an iPad, but could only justify one if I could write it off as a work expense (and really, I couldn’t)

        I’m not sure what my clinic would use FB for; you really have to have at least one dedicated staff member who will keep up posts and make it interesting. It also depends on your institution; I dropped my local library because it just kept sending out promos for itself, not the personal items that make me feel there are interesting people there (there are, but doesn’t look like they’re allowed to post). I’m happy that the clinic has e-mail; I just sent them the blood glucose curve of my cat, and we got the ok to adjust her insulin levels.

      • DrSteggy

        The techies seem to be hanging out in internal medicine and exotics. I did see someone at Seibert’s talk yesterday with a very spiffy iPad…maybe I was sitting next to you!

  • Kari

    I love my iPad so much. I’ve been at jury duty for an hour and the battery is still at 98%. And typing on it is a lot easier than I thought it would be… I’ve been pleasantly surprised. :-)

  • Diane N

    My vet uses a website, plus Facebook and Twitter – and very effectively! Of course, the vets at this clinic are also eager to use all the new technology – the laser therapy, for example. I love my vets (so do my dogs).

  • http://www.vetwisdomcafe.com Tammy

    I was jealous while at Blogpaws in Denver! While, I’m connected and online ALL the time at home, I don’t even have a cell phone, let alone an iPad. But, wow, did I ever want one while at the conference! Glad that some vet clinics are joining the social media age, but it seems to be few and far between yet.

  • Jamie

    My Vet Clinic is on Facebook! However, there are not very many people who have ‘liked’ it and the clinic doesn’t update it, all that much, which makes me sad. It would be nice if they used it more.

    One of my friends (who live in a different city), their Vet is on Facebook too and it is very active. It makes me a tad bit jealous!

  • http://girl-dog-oven.blogspot.com Diana

    I agree that medical (including vets!) professions change veerrrryyyy slowly. Someone in my nursing classes showed me this video, though, and I was blown away (again) by the as yet unimagined technology that we have at our fingertips.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dY7ZQM5eah8

  • http://thelearningvet.wordpress.com The Learning Vet

    This is such an interesting topic to me! Great post! I like following the human medicine side of this issue, as they are certainly ahead of us in vet med, but still exploring the way as they go. My favorite social media MD blogger is 33 charts: http://33charts.com/

  • http://olatheanimalhospital.com JC Burcham, DVM

    I wish the others who said their vet’s clinic is on facebook posted a link so I could go “like” them! I love following all kinds of vet clinics on FB. Here’s a link to ours: http://www.facebook.com/olatheanimalhospital

    • http://www.pawcurious.com Dr. V

      I love it! I’m glad to see more clinics getting on board, but as you know you are still the exception. Great job with the page, btw.