Utilizing Telemedicine to Improve Veterinarian Response Time and Service More Farms

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The typical day for a swine production veterinarian is a busy one. It includes upholding a regular schedule of site visits, writing production site reports, evaluating treatment records, implementing vaccination programs, training employees, and interpreting diagnostic data. When a problem suddenly arises, veterinarians are expected to coordinate a quick response plan to ensure that their clients, colleagues, and production partners have the resources they need to execute an effective solution – all while performing their many daily responsibilities. Time management and scalability are critical.

During the pandemic, telemedicine became a common way for medical professionals, including veterinarians, to address patients while adhering to social distancing protocols. Veterinarians pivoted their practices, embracing advancements in digital health to perform their regular duties. As we shift back toward pre-pandemic normalcy, telemedicine technologies adopted during the pandemic continue to have an impact. This article explores how telemedicine, enabled by innovative platforms such as EveryPig, has improved veterinarian response times and allowed veterinarians to service more farms, more productively.

Telemedicine Offers Veterinarians a Solution to Overcome Everyday Challenges

Time Management

The most common problem that swine production veterinarians have is time management. Veterinarians often ask, “How can I maintain a regular schedule of farm visits, complete the necessary paperwork, develop a treatment plan, and still manage urgent health problems that will inevitably arise?” To abate this problem, veterinarians choose to take phone calls during their free time or while they are commuting. This tactic allows them to start a treatment plan before arriving at a farm. However, phone calls are often not an efficient use of a veterinarian’s time, they do not offer a convenient experience for production managers, and they leave room for human error when verbal exchanges are unclear.

EveryPig offers a digital solution. EveryPig’s Digital Daily Checkups application allows the production manager and working crew to focus on problems like mortalities, treatments, symptoms, and animal movement. The application is accessed through a mobile user interface that reduces unnecessary time spent talking on the phone or driving to farms. The application also automatically notifies veterinarians of events and issues they choose to track. Veterinarians can opt to receive these regular checkup reports directly to their smartphones, decreasing the pressures and inefficiencies associated with relying solely on in person interactions. This automated reporting system streamlines communication between veterinarians and production sites, supplying each party in the swine production ecosystem with access to swine health data in a time effective manner.

Management of Production Sites

Another challenge that swine production veterinarians face is effective management of production sites. Historically, there has been no way to oversee production sites without having a physical presence at each site. The best solution was to create a schedule of production site visits with minimal downtime for veterinarians. It is not uncommon for swine veterinarians to spend their days driving from production site to production site, leaving little opportunity to perform other important tasks involved with running a veterinary business (e.g., business development, business management).

EveryPig gives veterinarians a tech-enabled alternative. EveryPig uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to conduct trend analyses that make it easier for veterinarians to adhere to downtime protocols on farms, visit as many farms as possible, and remotely monitor production sites they cannot visit in person. EveryPig’s FarmFeed provides a user-friendly newsfeed that displays updates from each production site a veterinarian services, keeping veterinarians abreast of their customer needs. A simple scroll through the feed shows data that would otherwise take hours on the phone or at a site to collect. The FarmFeed even hosts a feature that allows users to set parameters, or “flags,” that automatically alert a user when a triggering event occurs. These digital features empower swine veterinarians to service more production sites at one time.

COVID-19 altered the way everyday healthcare practices are conducted in the swine production industry and beyond. As we leave the pandemic behind, we should keep in mind that digital platforms have helped businesses adapt to new working environments and veterinary businesses are no exception. EveryPig has been a driver of this movement, reshaping how swine production veterinarians do their jobs and offering time and productivity advancement for veterinarians, their employees, and their production partners. EveryPig will continue to make the lives of veterinarians easier even as social distancing becomes part of the past – telemedicine is here to stay.

-Dr. C. Grace Elijah for EveryPig