DVMs warming up to technology


New studies show more texting, social networking among practitioners.

National Report — Veterinarians are using technology more to do their job, communicate with colleagues and check in with clients, and pet owners are more likely to use technology than the non-pet owning public, according to a new technology-use study that surveyed about 425 small- and large-animal veterinarians.

More than half of small-animal veterinarians and about three-quarters of large-animal veterinarians are using text messaging in their business, according to the study recently released by public relations firm Nicholson Kovac, and most of those texts go to business colleagues, followed by texts to practice and clinic staff, other colleagues and least often to clients. Still, only 12 percent of the small-animal veterinarians admitted doing business with clients by text, compared to 34 percent of the large-animal veterinarians surveyed.

Small-animal veterinarians spent more time online than large-animal veterinarians, but the majority of both limit their business-related Internet use to one to five hours per week. More small-animal veterinarians (70 percent) have Web sites for their practices than large-animal veterinarians (43 percent), but about half of all the veterinarians surveyed say they believe there are marketing opportunities for their practices on social networking sites.

Most veterinarians surveyed, 85 percent of small-animal veterinarians and 91 percent of large-animal veterinarians, prefer Facebook for social networking, the study indicates, compared to 20 percent for both small- and large-animal vets on Twitter.

The Veterinarian New Media Usage Study from Nicholson Kovac examines these and other technology habits of DVMs, such as what Web sites veterinarians visit to get their medical information, what practice management software tools they use and how willing they are to incorporate new technology into their practices. A companion study, Pet Owner New Media Usage, comes packaged with the veterinarian study to shed light on how different types of clients are using technology.

For example, 85 percent of small-animal veterinarians using Facebook are more likely to "friend" cat-owning clients, since cat owners are 31 percent more likely than the average adult to engage in social networking compared to 15 percent of dog owners. However, those cat owners are more likely looking for communication and entertainment versus dog owners, who depend on social networking sites for news about their companions, the study suggests. But dog owners text 17 percent more than the average adult daily compared with 11 percent of cat owners.

For more information about purchasing the results of the study go to www.vetnewmediastudy.com.

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Aaron Smiley, DVM
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