Information Technology Essay, Research Paper
Information technology is a rapidly growing
part of today’s society. It affects everyone’s life in many aspects.
Every human endeavor is influenced by information technology and the increasing
rate at which what it can perform includes. One area of human endeavor
that information technology has greatly influenced is the practice of medicine,
specifically veterinary medicine. Not only has veterinary medicine
been influenced by information technology, it has also been enhanced by
it. The degree to which the practice of veterinary medicine includes
information technology is observable at the Animal Emergency Clinic of
Central New York on Erie Blvd. in Syracuse, New York.
Section I: veterinary medicine.
Doctors of veterinary medicine are the
people who engage in the human endeavor of practicing veterinary medicine.
The activities that are included in this endeavor are the prevention, diagnosis
and treatment of animal diseases. The best way to handle a disease
is to prevent acquiring it altogether. To accomplish this animals
are given the available vaccinations for the most likely diseases they
would get according to what type of animal they are and where they live.
Unfortunately not every disease has a vaccination and not every animal
has the opportunity to receive the available vaccinations. When an
animal gets sick it is the duty of the veterinarian to determine the cause
of the sickness and the best possible course of treatment for it.
Veterinarians have many other responsibilities as well. These range
from, but are not limited to, treating wounded animals and spaying or neutering
them to preventing the spread of diseases from animals to humans through
The first school of veterinary medicine
was in France. It opened in 1761. Veterinary medicine schools
started to open in the United States of America during the civil war.
To become a doctor of veterinary medicine,
DVM, one must complete veterinary school. To get accepted into a
school of veterinary medicine, a student has to meet the requirements of
that particular vet school. Most of the requirements can be satisfied
through undergraduate course work. The hard part is to have done a better
job at meeting these requirements than the competition has.
As an undergraduate, the student
must demonstrate not only academic excellence and dedication to service
and helping others, but also a vast repertoire of experience in the field.
To prove that he/she is truly dedicated to the service of others, community
service must be done and documented. Working, volunteering
and interning are all acceptable ways to gain experience in the field of
veterinary medicine. The reason behind schools requiring experience
is to ensure that the student knows what they are getting into before they
spend thousands of dollars (approx. $20,000/yr.) and at least four
years of their life in an extremely intensive academic environment.
Many people have an altered idea of what being a vet is about. A
lot of physical and emotion endurance is necessary to be a successful veterinarian.
Many people are unaware of that.
The specific undergraduate course requirements
to get into a school of veterinary medicine vary between the schools.
All of them are science intensive. Most require a well-rounded education.
The University of California at Davis school of veterinary medicine requires
one year of general biology, one year of general chemistry, one year of
organic chemistry, and one year of physics as far as lower division requirements.
Upper division requirements include a semester of biochemistry, a semester
of systemic physiology, a semester of vertebrate embryology, and a semester
of genetics. On top of that they want their applicants to have taken
courses in English composition, humanities, social sciences as well as
statistics. Simply taking these courses is not enough, they need
to be completed with a GPA above a 2.5. However, the competition
has an average GPA of 3.45. The GRE must also be taken and a competitive
score must be achieved for consideration. Tuskegee University requires
two semesters of English, two of math, two of chemistry (Enough to include
organic. Which really means four), two of physics, three of biology,
two of animal science, one of animal nutrition, and then courses in humanities,
social sciences and electives. They add that grades less than a c
are not acceptable.
Once a student has meet all of the undergraduate
requirements and has been accepted into a school of veterinary medicine
he/she still has the hard part to look forward too. It has been said
many times that vet. School is harder than med. School. The course
work is extremely intensive and demanding. Not everybody makes it
through. Nobody becomes a vet. for the money because what one must
go through to become and be a vet. is not worth it. That is why veterinarians
are so dedicated to what they do.
In order to keep up with new findings
veterinarians must continue to take courses so they can learn new findings
that have occurred since they were in vet. School. To keep up with
the competition veterinarians must stay current when it comes to technology.
This also allows them to be aware of the most efficient and effective ways
available to treat their patients. Short courses are offered to veterinarians
on such changes. Since medical discoveries have been and still are
constantly being made, and technology is always advancing, veterinarians
have always had to continue their learning of information. The only
difference over time is the actual material that they are learning.
Section II: Information uses and needs
in the practice of veterinary medicine.
There is a lot of information that doctors
of veterinary medicine need and use in the process of preventing, diagnosing
and treating animals. The courses they are required to take account
for a lot of the information they know and bring to work with them every
day. They have to know the anatomy of the normal canine
locomotor system and a normal canine head. The structure and function
of the cardiorespiratory system as well as the urinary system is imperative
information. So are parisitology, epidemiology, virology, bacteriology,
and mycology. Principals of nutrition and behavior come in very handy
when trying to determine the cause of distress in an animal. Immunology
is necessary when it comes to routine vaccinations, auto immune reactions
and pathogenic responses. Even veterinarians who do not perform surgery
must retain information on anesthesiology since it is sometimes necessary
for other procedures. In order to correctly prescribe medicines they
must have information on pharmacology and toxicology. Physiological
chemistry and correct pH balance of body fluids is another must.
So are many other areas that cannot be seen by the naked eye like cell
and tissue structure and function, endocrinology, metabolism. Then
there are other specific areas that all veterinarians must know information
about such as oncology and neurology. Much of this information is
gained through traditional textbooks and lectures. A great deal of
it, however, is made tangible through advances in technology. Cornell’s
school of veterinary medicine has modular research centers, MRC, which
greatly enhance what a vet. Student reads in a book. Cornell also has computer
labs that simulate a variety of systems and processes that go along with
what a student hears in class or reads in a text.
Fortunately for the clients veterinarians
are required to study ethics and issues in veterinary medicine. Veterinarians
must also know how to properly handle animals in order to prevent injury
to them and the animal. The rest of the information that veterinarians
need in preparing to practice comes from in-clinic experience. This
is a required part of vet school. These experiences may be gained
in small animal practices, on farm, in an equine practice facility, a zoo,
or even in a wildlife rehabilitation center. Many veterinarians learn
information on food animal practice to prevent disease spread to humans.
The information a veterinarian gains cannot be summed up in any paper.
All of the knowledge they have prepares them to practice veterinary medicine.
As they continue in the field they must continue to update their knowledge
with new findings as well as procedures that change as a result of the
change in technology.
When it comes to performing a diagnosis
and treatment of disease in an animal, a vet. needs to have all of the
above information understood, but he/she also needs information on the
patient. A lot of this information is gained from simply asking the
caretaker of the animal questions regarding the behavior and diet of the
animal. The majority of it comes from the vet’s own investigating.
This usually includes looking at the animal’s medical past, weighing the
animal and when necessary performing the tests relative to the symptoms
of the animal. These tests may include, but are certainly not limited
to blood tests, urine tests and even radiology. The use of an idexx
machine helps a great deal with blood testing. An IV pump machine
does a lot of the work when it comes to monitoring and maintaining an animal.
The office at which all of this takes place
must be set up in a very specific manner in order to accommodate all of
the needs of practicing veterinary medicine. It must be equipped
with the necessary testing equipment as well as the obvious, phone fax,
voice mail. And, of course, a way to keep track of the patients and
clients information, such as, names addresses, medical past and services
rendered to ensure proper charging.
Section III: Modern information technology
and the use of information.
Walking into one of the MRC’s is similar
to walking into a zoo in the sense that such a wide variety of animals
in different states can be found there. None still alive, but most
preserved in such a way that they can be touch and handled for examination
and comparison without deteriorating. One specimen, for example,
is a dog’s head sliced vertically from the ear to the neck. This
allows students to see and feel what it is like inside of a dog’s head
and what a normal brain appears like. The next specimen looked similar
except for minor differences in the brain. A student who studies
this now knows, thanks to technology, what a to expect if a dog comes into
their clinic with the same condition. This MRC also contained healthy,
injured, diseased and deformed skeletons of many species. Before
these labs came about vet. students really were unable to gain such experience
before they began their practice.
Another lab, which contains computers,
hasa station for different aspects of studies ranging from metabolism to
oncology to cell physiology. On each computer was a simulation relative
to the area of study it specialized in. These computers are a great
resource for trying to understand systems and processes that cannot otherwise
be seen such as a cancerous tumor dividing or the immune system at work.
They can show, in detail, what is actually happening. During the
simulation the student can stop and rewind at anytime to get another look.
He/she can also point and click on anything pictured on the screen to get
a definition or explanation of what is going on. There is always
the option of seeking out a professor or textbook if anything remains unclear.
When these computer programs were unavailable, there was really no way
for vet students or even vets to observe these micro systems.
This idexx machine tests the levels of
twenty one substances in the blood such as glucose, potassium, calcium,
and other elements. It also checks the number of platelets, white
blood cells and red blood cells to give the doctor a better idea of what
is going on inside the patient. All the doctor has to do is put a
drop of blood into the Idexx and it does the rest. It even prints
out a receipt looking report that contains not only the animals blood levels,
but includes a column of what a normal reading is for each part that is
off. This report is species-specific. If it is normal it simply
reads normal next to that element. Traditionally the doctor would
have to put the blood under a microscope to determine the cell count.
Finding the level of a certain element would require a lot more blood and
materials resembling a chemistry kit. Not to mention a lot more time.
The IV pump machine regulates the flow
of the intravenous fluids into the bloodstream of the animal. Some of them
come equipped with ways to monitor the animal’s heart rate. It also alerts
the vet. with a beep or ring when something is not right with the animal.
This could be the animal’s heart rate or it could signify that the fluid
is not getting into the animal correctly.
After school is completed and actual practice
is taking place, the place in which the practice is occurring must meet
the needs of veterinary medicine. Many of them have to do with information
technology. Overlooking the obvious would be easy, mostly because
these information technologies are highly taken for granted. A thermostat
to keep a constant temperature throughout the facility is extremely important
chilling or overheating a sick or wounded animal stresses it and can be
devastating. Keeping the doctors and clients comfortable is important
as well. A phone, preferably one with more than one line, is important
for many reasons. One reason being for clients to call up, make appointments,
discuss the situation of their animal and also for them to be able to check
up on hospitalized animals. Another reason is for the doctors to
be able to call out. They may need to call out to gain the permission
of their clients on courses of treatments, to notify them of the condition
of their animals and even to tell them that ’scruffy’ is ready to go home.
Doctors also need, occasionally, to confer with other doctors or pharmacists.
The fax machine is another bit of information
technology that facilitates running a vet practice. In the case of
the Animal Emergency Clinic of CNY, the fax machine is the primary source
of contact with the share holding facilities when it comes to common patients.
The medical charts of an animals are faxed to their regular veterinary
facility to ensure proper follow-up care. It is also used to send
out memos about available shifts and periods of no coverage. This
keeps vets from referring their clients to the AEC of CNY when no doctor
is on duty. The fax is also used to order supplies and medicines.
Without a fax machine most of this information would have to be mailed,
lengthening the time of notification in all of the above situations.
Keeping track of patients, clients and
the services they received is a task that was once tedious, but now, thanks
to technology, is easy, reliable and quick. In the case of the AEC
of CNY, AVImark is the software employed that gets the job done.
This software is a system of veterinary information management that is
capable of handling a wide range of information both on the client and
the patient. It makes appointments and follow-ups. It stores
a file for each patient, which links it to its owner, the client.
This file holds information such as the name, address, home and work phone
number and even chart number of the client. For the patient it holds
the same as well as, the species, breed, weight, color, regular vet, and
even the date of the last entry as well as all services received during
the current and past visits. AVImark has a catalog of all of the
possible services a patient may receive along with the price of that service.
These services are categorized for easy findings under maintenance, treatments,
and applications. And then are further broken down into sub groups
such as laboratory, radiology, injections, pharmacy, etc. Another
time saving feature AVImark has to offer is estimates. These estimates
save time because they contain the routine treatments and medications for
cases that are seen frequently such as hit by car, urinary track infection,
the Parvo. virus, and many other common situations animals are in upon
entering the AEC of CNY. When an estimate is clicked on the expected
treatments are brought up along with the charges for each. The estimate
also includes a variance column so the vet can customize the estimate for
the severity of the patient’s condition. An example of this is the
standard hit by a car dog would need to be hospitalized over night receive
a certain number of injections and IV bags. A dog may come in that
was hit by a car, but is not in as bad shape as would be expected.
The doctor would then reduce the number of injections, IV bags and hours
of hospitalization predicted for the dog. The price on the estimate
would change accordingly to give a more accurate expectation to the client.
After the estimate is complete it is printed to and brought out the client
for review. This saves the doctor time by eliminating having
to write this all out and look up the prices. Before software like
this was made available for use by veterinarians all of this had to be
done by hand and recorded on paper. Storing the files of all of the
patients who received care in a facility took up a lot of room and time
Technology has changed greatly what a vet
has to do. The above information technologies play an important role
in the practice of veterinary medicine. Over the years, however,
technology has changed. What has been available to veterinarians
has changed as a result. Thus technology has allowed veterinary facilities
to accommodate more patients at once and accept more animals as patients
in their practice. This is because the time it takes to treat an
animal is shortened thanks to technology.
It is hard to single out the most important
aspects of the role of information technology in the practice of veterinary
medicine. Primarily because know one knows where veterinary medicine
would be to today if any or all of the technology that is a part of it
had not been applied to this science. Any information technology
that increases the chance of a veterinarian being able to save the life
of an animal would be considered important in this field. The list
of these would be never ending. The ones that facilitate vets. the
most are the ones that increase the speed and accuracy of the vets. procedure.
Examples of these information technologies are the idexx machine and the
Technology of veterinary medicine has already
had an influence on human medicine. An example of this are the use
of vaccinations which are now used both on humans and animals. Vaccinations
were originally developed for animals, but were found to be effective in
humans. The use of live-virus vaccines has been used on humans since
WWII. (www.encyclopedia.com) The use of certain information technologies
in the field of human medicine are sure to have an influence in the practice
of veterinary medicine. Antibiotics are another example of veterinary
technology influencing human medicine. It is expected that
advances in human medicine will affect veterinary medicine. The use
of information technology to enable surgeons to perform surgery off site
is sure to carry over to veterinary medicine. This will have a great
affect on the way doctors perform in this field.
To prepare oneself for success in veterinary
medicine all of the required graduate and undergraduate courses must be
completed. However, the best preparation for success is exposure
to the field. In order to be completely ready for the practice of
veterinary medicine knowing how to use the relevant information technologies
is a necessity. The best way to accomplish this is through additional
courses or observation. According to Tamela, a licensed veterinary
technician who works at the AEC of CNY, watching another vet. at work,
and seeing how he/she uses the technology to his/her advantage is an invaluable
way to prepare for success in this field.”