Vetshots - Solutions for the Future of the Veterinary Sector
The Earthshot prize saw Sir David Attenborough and Prince William presenting awards in October 2021 to incentivise change to help repair the planet over the next decade, to improve lives for generations to come. The name was a play on President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot, which united millions of people around an organising goal to put man on the moon. Now we’ve borrowed the idea to call out the following Vetshots - key areas for innovation and change brought into focus at this year’s Kisaco Digital Veterinary Summit.
Currently, the veterinary industry is in urgent need of collaboration and action around key Vetshot goals relating to the sustainability of our workforce and provision of veterinary services, to ensure continued improvements to workplace culture, animal welfare and husbandry, and protection of our environment. The outline of the article is summarised below, and published in full on the Kisaco website, click HERE for full, free access.
1. Data – generating useful outputs
We generate a vast and growing amount of data across the veterinary industry. The challenges lie in how the data is generated and held in silos, organised and analysed, and cross-platform compatibility. As data volume grows, so does the need to expand the capacity to analyse it into useful insights. Here is where AI comes into its own, and connecting veterinary and data analytics expertise is an exciting area of continuing development.
While there is huge opportunity in the data sector, frustrations remain. Long have innovators – especially those approaching the veterinary sector from other industries – bemoaned the lack of data integration at the clinic level and beyond. The first Vetshot examines in detail how we need to accelerate the shareability of data to reach the stratosphere of data potential.
2. Environment – sustainable practice
Where do we start with the challenges facing our planet? The recent COP26 conference in Glasgow reminds us again of the urgency and enormity of the task we have as (historically pretty poor) caretakers. From the linear processes that result in accumulation of waste, to the energy used to run our practices, the onus is on us all to do our bit to reduce the environmental impact of our profession. The key is to not become overwhelmed but to start making small changes and build over time. Our profession has the opportunity to influence on a wide scale the environmental impact of the animals under our care, in addition to our own contributions.
We have the potential to influence not only carbon emissions, but responsible medicines use, resource use, waste and sustainability. The vital first step for all of us is to identify where changes can be made and start making them. The Vet Sustain website has more information and tools to start the journey to more sustainable operations.
3. Workforce – cleaning the ocean of talent
Our most valuable resource is our people, and our people are at an all-time low as demand for veterinary services far outweighs supply globally. The need to clean up our pool of talent has never been greater. Rather than relying on the opening more taps, we must focus on reducing the polluting influences of long hours, high workload and cleaning up workplace culture if we’re to stem the current tides looking to leave the profession. The looming retention and recruitment crisis has been exacerbated by the pet boom that occurred during Covid and, in the UK, Brexit. Our third Vetshot is explores tools to support our people.
4. Time – optimising use of a precious resource
That most linear and non-recyclable resource of them all, time is precious and limited. Adoption of tools that proport to save time often require an initial investment to learn and implement, hence leading to the barrier of time to learn and implement a tool with the potential to save time in the future. It's important for innovators in this space to understand existing workflows and illustrate how to integrate new technologies efficiently. The fourth Vetshot explores the time paradox and how to overcome it.
5. Integrating innovation – building effective solutions into workplace workflows
Innovation is wonderful, but also unbridled and often directed primarily towards the burgeoning market of the pet owner. For example, wearable technology and home-based diagnostic monitoring systems for pets and livestock have huge potential to improve animal health and welfare. However, vets are also being asked to make decisions based on black boxes that may or may not be consistently providing accurate and reliable data, where robust evidence may be lacking.
The fifth Vetshot explores innovations within and beyond the clinic, and the major challenges facing the development and subsequent adoption of truly game-changing solutions.