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If you were to list the skills required by a vet or VN; patience, compassion and competence in science must be right up top. However, these days, so should a good grasp of technology.
Modern technology is constantly improving the way veterinary practices function, just as rapid advances in machinery, software and analysis skills are changing the face of other career sectors, too.
However, this isn't just about gadgets and gizmos – although there is a growing range of electronic instruments (and new software) that assist veterinary professionals in diagnosis, treatment and patient care. No, there are also developments that are changing the way data is gathered, stored and interpreted to inform and support veterinary practices.
For example, medical images can be created far more easily. Radiography, ultrasound and 3D printing equipment are more advanced and accessible, meaning images can be shared more readily and be analysed using preset data, as well as professional acumen and insight.
The phenomenal growth of “big data” and the data science skills to use these huge data sets are helping to create far clearer pictures of animal diseases and the recovery pathways from injury.
Sometimes, it is about more practical considerations, too. The way practices are managed and how they communicate with clients is becoming smoother and slicker.
Modern practices also use mobile technology to keep clients informed, issuing reminders, and even sending images of pets during recovery from operations.
This sort of initiative can set vets and their practices apart in terms of “patient-centred” care.
Keep on learning
Another way in which technology is influencing this sector is the professional development opportunities offered by online education and CPD training courses.
As the technology to support human health care advances, so does veterinary science, meaning veterinary technicians are playing an increasingly important role in supporting vets in caring for, and treating patients; having access to new ways to test and diagnose, maintain medical records and even use marketing data to grow practices.
Vets and VNs need to know what is possible now and what technology is on the way, too. This means, therefore, to shine in the veterinary field today, being tech-savvy makes good sense.