Medical errors are, unfortunately, part of life. But thankfully new technology systems are coming to the rescue, with electronic medical records and telemedicine platforms to help Doctors and Veterinarians limit potential errors and track health information more accurately.
A recent report from CNN highlights the alarming occurrence of medical errors in the US healthcare system. The data, cited from a recent BMJ study, suggests medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for at least 251,454 deaths annually.
Despite best efforts, the BMJ studies confirms that medical errors in human healthcare do happen and often – nobody is perfect and human error is always a factor. The same is true in veterinary medicine. Common errors include the use of incorrect abbreviations when prescribing medications, failure to gather complete medical histories, and misdiagnosis – though more extreme examples are well documented.
Medical errors present a real worry for pet parents because pets obviously lack a voice to articulate their own health information.
Drawing from his 25+ years experience Dr. Clayton Jones, Activ4Pets’ Chief Veterinary Medical Officer, explains: “Imagine a scenario where a new client wants to board their diabetic cat at your veterinary clinic but they don’t have health records indicating the correct dosage, insulin type, blood glucose curve data, or diabetic regulation history. Does the vet try to guess the correct dosage and risk severely harming the animal? Or should the onus be on the pet parent to provide more accurate information?”
This dilemma is at the core of many veterinary errors. Veterinarians are of course tasked with safeguarding our pets but they can only work with the information they’re presented with.
On the human side, Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have been successfully implemented to help doctors prevent mistakes. Indeed, survey data presented by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology found that EHRs had, among other things, helped physicians avoid medication errors, with features such as alerts and reminders aiding them in the prevention of potential patient harm.
Safeguarding Our Pets
Similar technology is being adopted in the veterinary industry with the same positive impact.
Activ4Pets, for example, provides owners 24/7, secure access to their comprehensive Pet Health Record (PHR) via smartphone and computer. This digitized medical history resource provides on-the-go veterinary information (test results, x-rays, vaccination records, medical documents, etc.), the ability to proactively monitor pet health values (weight, temperature, and blood hemoglobin), and schedule medication and treatment reminders.
Imagine the power of having this information at your fingertips – you’d never be caught short at the groomer/boarder again. But if there was a medical emergency, having your pet’s PHR in hand could actually be life-saving.
“Having encountered potentially life-threatening situation numerous times, I’m happy to see technology coming to the veterinarian’s aid,” Dr. Jones continues. “It’s great that pet parents have the ability to quickly access important health information on the fly. Having an animal’s PHR immediately to hand most definitely helps veterinarians prevent medical errors.”
So how else is technology impacting pet ownership and care?
Three little words: vet video chat.
Between work, looking after kids and running errands, scheduling in vet visits can sometimes be a challenge. That said, with new technology comes new convenience, and pet telemedicine solutions like Activ4Pets are now available for pet parents to get and use for a very low, affordable rate. Part of the key convenience pet telemedicine solutions provide is remote connection to your veterinary professional. So when travel to the vet for a follow up visit is not possible or convenient, pet parents can use the Activ4Pets e-Consultation tool to communicate directly via secure video conferencing. Both the pet parent and veterinary professional can refer to the pet’s medical information online while video conferencing and the vet has clear sight of the animal should any action be required.
This method of audio/visual communication (combined with the pet’s PHR) gives owners and veterinarians the opportunity to identify minor issues (and potential mistakes) before they become larger, more serious ones.
In the instance where a medical error or misdiagnosis is suspected, Activ4Pets provides the means to thoroughly investigate data. And, should a veterinarian require additional specialist input, they can reach out to wider network and request a peer-to-peer consult, giving pet parents an extra layer of reassurance when it comes to the health of their pet.
This type of technology is already widely and successfully used in human healthcare. Activ4Pets’ Founder and CEO, Florent Monssoh comments, “I decided to leverage my 12 years’ experience leading Activ Doctors Online, [a global human telemedicine company] and launch Activ4Pets to give pet parents around the world a convenient, secure way access to their pet’s complete health information and provide a fast, affordable method to communicate regularly with their veterinarian.”
How can Activ4Pets help me?
Life is better when our pets are healthy, safe and happy…at home and on the go!
Do you have pets? Do you know where their medical records are? Are the records complete, accurate, organized, accessible to you anytime and anywhere? Do you have online remote access to consult with your veterinarian or pet care professionals? If not, we are here for you.
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