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A veterinary reference library in your pocket


Because would you trust a straight-up Google search to tell you how to place a nasoesophageal tube in a cat?

Sofie-a nice twist on sofia, which means "wisdom" in Greek. The folks at LifeLearn have created Sofie to bring wisdom right to your fingertips in your exam room. Wisdom gleaned from the pages of veterinary books and journals you've come to rely on for good advice.

All those trusty books on your bookshelf housed in your computer? Yep! At the inputting of a keyword or phrase (the system relies on IBM Watson technology to support natural-language searches), Sofie searches through textbooks from Elsevier and Wiley as well as proceedings and magazine articles from AAHA, NAVC and more. Search on your computer, tablet or phone by typing a simple question, such as "How do I place a nasoesophageal tube in a cat?"

Sofie search results on a tablet. (Photo courtesy of LifeLearn)Sofie ranks the findings to filter out content that's not relevant or applicable in a natural language context. And there's a "compare" option that lets you look at the results from different sources to find the best answer for your query. You'll find everything from differentials to drug interactions to diagnostic and treatment advice. There are even how-to videos provided by DoveLewis.

Sofie "compare" results option on a laptop. (Photo courtesy of LifeLearn)LifeLearn's executive vice president of veterinary affairs and business development, David Goodnight, DVM, MBA, says he used Sofie one night during a hectic emergency shift and needed to remember key information that tends to vanish from the brain under stress. “I have access to all knowledge everywhere at any time anywhere,” he says. “We just can't know everything.”

In your searches, be sure to use American English spelling (go for “behavior,” not “behaviour”-sorry Brits!), and don your spelling bee superstar hat. The technology needs correct spelling of terms to find results.

At what cost? Always the question! Sofie is available as a subscription at differing levels based on practice size: one doc = $44 a month; two to five docs = $65 a month; six to 10 docs = $99 a month. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial.

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