Practice on point with new equipment in your veterinary clinic


Consider how equipment can change the way your hospital practices medicine. Then learn how to influence decision-makers to make room for change.

Handwritten record keeping? Manual radiograph processing? Intravenous fluid rate calculating? No problem—veterinary team members have been doing their jobs without the help of machines and technology for a long time. However, the advancements and availability of medical equipment have helped make our jobs easier and more efficient.

Here's a look at some of the technology that makes your job easier, more efficient, and more fun—as well as advice on what to say to help your practice owners see the value in this equipment and influence their buying decisions:

Practice management and record-keeping software

Why you want it: A large part of a technician's job is to record the patient's history and treatment. Often, veterinary team members are also responsible for keeping track of the price of treatment. When you're completing these tasks by hand, this can take longer and mistakes may happen.

What to say: "Dr. Cares, I believe new software will help our practice keep accurate medical records, track inventory, and assign costs.

"It's good for our patients, because we can program treatment plans on the computer and record their completion. This ensures each patient is provided with walks or litter box maintenance, feedings, and medications at appropriate times throughout the day. It also decreases the chance that a medication is given at the wrong time, given multiple times, or not given at all.

"It's good for team members, because with a treatment plan in place, we can focus on the general nursing care we provide to patients. And it's good for the practice because it will help us work more efficiently. I believe it will take less time to record treatments and costs and reduce the chances of missed charges."

Diagnostic testing machines

Why you want them: If you're a technician, your veterinarians may rely on you to assist in performing diagnostic tests so they can successfully treat patients.

What to say: "A hematology analyzer may make a great addition to our practice, Dr. Cares. Did you know this tool could help us run blood work in less than half the time it would take a technician to do it by hand? With this extra time, we could focus on (insert a task your practice wants to pursue). Also, with proper maintenance, these machines reduce the chance of errors."

Digital imaging equipment

Why you want it: Digital radiography and ultrasonography machines have made possible diagnostics that in the past were considered a luxury in most hospitals. This equipment has helped technicians carry out diagnostic tests with greater speed and clearer results.

Talking tip

What to say: "Dr. Cares, I believe our patients would benefit from the speedy results digital radiography and ultrasonography machines provide. This would help us offer faster treatment for stable patients as well as critical ones when even a few extra minutes can make a difference in their prognosis. Could I research some products and cost and create a plan about how the practice might be able to afford this equipment?"

Fluid and syringe pumps

Why you want them: Once the doctor makes a diagnosis, your team is responsible for carrying out the veterinarians's prescribed treatment. Especially on busy days, your clinical team juggles multiple patients at once, and these tools can be great inefficiency busters.

What to say: "Dr. Cares, I believe our team would be more effective if we were able to accomplish treatments faster and more accurately. With some new equipment, instead of figuring out a fluid rate and taking time to set up a fluid set by hand, our technicians could quickly program fluid pumps to deliver the exact amount of fluids patients need throughout the day. And syringe pumps would allow us to give large amounts of medications without needing to sit with just one patient during administration. This would help us multitask and focus on more than one patient at a time without decreasing the quality of care each patient receives.

Fast Fact

Oxygen supplementation and heat support

Why you want it: Often, your team is responsible for helping to provide oxygen supplementation and heat support as needed. In the past, team members were limited to arranging handmade gadgets. But their effectiveness and safety were not always guaranteed.

What to say: "Dr. Cares, I've been reading about intensive care units or oxygen cages to provide oxygen and heat support and warm air blankets and fluid warmers to provide heat support to patients in need. This equipment has been tested, and I believe our patients would benefit from their safety and effectiveness."

Digital monitoring

Why you want it: Treatment can involve a surgical procedure. Most animal hospitals provide surgical services, even if it's only spays and neuters. Many of these hospitals only provide basic equipment to their technicians for monitoring purposes. Often we hear that the simplicity of these surgeries is the reason for the lack of monitoring equipment. However, it is necessary to remember that every single patient deserves the best care. And at times, this care is anesthesia monitoring. There's a lot a technician can tell with only a stethoscope and thermometer, but we can tell much more if we have access to a digital monitor.

What to say: "Dr. Cares, digital monitoring equipment can help our clinical team to monitor heart rate, electrocardiography, respiration rate, pulse oximetry, capnography, blood pressure, and temperature in just a few seconds. I believe patients would benefit from the care we could offer with this equipment. For example, with a digital monitor, our technicians would be able to safely and effectively anesthetize patients during procedures that range from a simple spay to a complicated orthopedic surgery. Could I research some products and cost and create a plan about how the practice might be able to afford this equipment?"

Work smarter

With all these advancements in veterinary medicine, it's possible to practice better medicine in every hospital around the world. If your practice owners aren't ready to make these purchases or aren't convinced that it's necessary, take time to do some research. For example, you could contact team members at other practices who've used the equipment to get their assessments of which equipment is user-friendly and requires the fewest repairs. Our team members also look for cases we've seen at our practice where the equipment we're recommending would have helped us out. Practice owners want to be assured that the equipment they buy will be used and it's worth buying. As a technician who's worked in some of the best and worst environments, I've seen how this equipment leads to more satisfied clients, healthier patients, and happier technicians.

Ciera Miller, CVT, is a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and a technician at Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, Pa.

Related Videos
© 2023 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.