I just got back from the annual American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) meeting in Denver. In Wisconsin, veterinarians are required to take 30 hours of continuing education every 2 years. This includes local meetings, webinars, journal reading and large conferences. I try to get to a large meeting every couple of years. It helps to gauge the state of the profession, see what’s coming down the pike, meet up with old friends and make new ones. There were a few truly incredible lecturers and I marvel at their intellect. I spent a whole day listening to Dr. Oyama from the University of Pennsylvania discussing the heart. He was so good, he made the topic seem elementary even though it is unbelievably complex. It’s energizing to be surrounded by other veterinarians and taught by these professors.
This year the big ‘pushes’ in the industry are digital radiography (x-rays), stem cell therapy, and therapeutic lasers. Some of these things are trendy but some are here to stay. We purchased a therapy laser a few years ago and have been very pleased with its ability to help our painful and arthritic patients. Hill-Dale will have to invest in full digital radiography in the next year or two. We’ve had digital radiography for our dental procedures for years but the whole profession (just like the human side) is leaving film entirely and transitioning to computer and cloud. I feel darn torn about this as we take really good film x-rays. Digital/computerized images have the advantage of being quicker, more malleable to fine tuning, save staff costs, and are easily sent to specialists for interpretation. To upgrade it will be the price of a very nice car. Ugh.
Which leads me to the point of this entry. We joined AAHA to help us be the best practice we could be. AAHA is a voluntary organization devoted to developing high standards for hospital care. Only 17% of all animal hospitals in the US are accredited by AAHA. They/we must meet over a 1000 standards in over a dozen categories to become accredited and must re-certify every 2 – 3 years. I think it’s good to have an outside source to help guide you. It also means that sometimes you have to be dragged forward to the future whether you want to be or not. The ‘standard of care’ will soon be digital radiography. We’ll do it because everyone else is doing it, because our clients expect us to be current, because it’s the right way, and because that’s the way the world is going. After we buy a digital system and learn to use it I’m sure we will wonder how we ever practiced without it. Kind of like living with cell phones and computers, how did we survive before their time?
Here is the website for AAHA if you would like to learn more http://www.healthypet.com/
I also want to thank everyone who reads this blog and has commented here and to me in person. I really appreciate all feedback and am enjoying writing it. If you have any suggestions for me, you can also email me through Hill-Dales’ webpage. Thanks!