OBJECTIVE To determine small animal veterinarians’ opinions and actions regarding costs of care, obstacles to client education about veterinary care costs, and effects of economic limitations on patient care and outcome and professional career satisfaction and burnout.
DESIGN Cross-sectional survey.
SAMPLE 1,122 small animal practitioners in the United States and Canada.
PROCEDURES An online survey was sent to 37,036 veterinarians. Respondents provided information regarding perceived effects of client awareness of costs and pet health insurance coverage on various aspects of practice, the influence of client economic limitations on professional satisfaction and burnout, and proposals for addressing those effects.
RESULTS The majority (620/1,088 [57%]) of respondents indicated that client economic limitations affected their ability to provide the desired care for their patients on a daily basis. Approximately half (527/1,071 [49%]) of respondents reported a moderate-to-substantial level of burnout, and many cited client economic limitations as an important contributing factor to burnout. Only 31% and 23% of respondents routinely discussed veterinary costs and pet insurance, respectively, with clients before pets became ill, and lack of time was cited as a reason for forgoing those discussions. Most respondents felt improved client awareness of veterinary costs and pet health insurance would positively affect patient care and client and veterinarian satisfaction.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested most small animal practitioners believe the veterinary profession needs to take action at educational and organizational levels to inform pet owners and educate and train veterinary students and veterinarians about the costs of veterinary care.
To assess small animal general practice veterinarians' use and perceptions of synchronous video-based telemedicine before and during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
550 respondent veterinarian members of the Veterinary Information Network (VIN).
An anonymous online survey was used to gather data from VIN-member veterinarians in small animal general practice regarding their perceptions and use of synchronous video-based telemedicine. Two emails to all VIN members were used to distribute the web-based questionnaire. For consistency, only responses from North American veterinarians who reported working in small animal general practice were included in analyses. Responses were collected between September 28, 2020, and October 21, 2020.
There were 69,488 recipients and 680 respondents (1.0% response rate), 550 of whom had North American internet protocol addresses and reported working in small animal general practice. Not all respondents answered all questions. Use of video-based telemedicine substantially increased among respondents during the COVID-19 pandemic, and most (86/130 [66.2%]) reported little to no difficulty in adopting videoconferencing. Respondents also reported that telemedicine took less time (61/135 [45.2%]) and resulted in less financial compensation (103/135 [76.3%]) than in-person consultation. Several respondents reported concerns regarding legal issues and potential inferiorities of telemedicine.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Our results indicated that a substantial proportion of respondents incorporated synchronous video-based telemedicine into their practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite low perceived difficulty in adopting videoconferencing telemedicine, many planned to discontinue it for some clinical applications once the pandemic is over. Further research is required to elucidate the perceptions and challenges in successful use of veterinary telemedicine.
To examine factors that impact emergency veterinarians’ decisions in selecting a place of employment and their perceptions of factors important in fostering a work environment conducive to long-term employment.
433 Veterinary Information Network members who reported practicing emergency medicine in the US and were not diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.
An electronic survey distributed via the Veterinary Information Network data collection portal, made available from May 25, 2022, through June 15, 2022.
Factors rated as most important in selecting a place of employment included working with a highly trained support staff and collegiality of coworkers. Factor analysis was used to extract factors that can influence emergency medicine practitioners’ views of a work environment conducive to long-term employment. The factor found to be most important was leadership. All factors, except for professional growth, were rated as more important by female practitioners when compared to male practitioners.
Aspects promoted in emergency medicine veterinarian recruitment efforts should include, in addition to the innate nature of the position, the elements identified as most attractive to current practitioners. By better understanding the impact of gender, children status, and years practicing emergency medicine on the relative importance in creating workplace environments conducive to long term employment, hospitals can be better equipped to meet the needs of both their current employees as well as potential new hires.
OBJECTIVE To evaluate the diagnostic utility of ECGs acquired with a smartphone-based device, compared with reference 6-lead ECGs, for identification of heart rate and rhythm in dogs and cats.
DESIGN Prospective study.
ANIMALS 51 client-owned dogs and 27 client-owned cats.
PROCEDURES Patients examined by a small animal referral cardiology service between April 2012 and January 2013 were enrolled consecutively. In each patient, a 30-second ECG was simultaneously acquired with a smartphone-based device (a bipolar, single-lead recorder coupled to a smartphone with an ECG application) and a standard 6-lead ECG machine. Recordings were evaluated by 3 board-certified cardiologists, and intra- and interobserver agreement were evaluated for both rhythm diagnosis and QRS polarity identification.
RESULTS Values for instantaneous and mean heart rates for the smartphone-acquired and reference ECGs were within 1 beat of each other when mean heart rates were calculated. Intraobserver agreement for rhythm assessment was very high, with maximum disagreement for any observer for only 2 of 51 dogs and only 4 of 27 cats. There was minimal disagreement in the polarity of depolarization between the smartphone-acquired and reference ECGs in dogs but frequent disagreement in cats. Interobserver agreement for smartphone-acquired ECGs was similar to that for reference ECGs. with all 3 observers agreeing on the rhythm analysis and minimal disagreement on polarity.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that ECGs acquired with the smartphone-based device accurately identified heart rate and rhythm in dogs and cats. Thus, the device may allow veterinarians to evaluate and manage cardiac arrhythmias relatively inexpensively at the cage side and could also allow clinicians to rapidly share information via email for further consultation, potentially enhancing patient care.
To determine the knowledge and use of safe surgical checklists (SSCs) and surgical safety practices (SSPs) in different sectors of veterinary medicine.
1,235 small animal veterinarians who perform surgery in the United States and Canada.
An online survey was distributed to veterinarians through social media platforms, specialty listservs, and the Veterinary Information Network. Respondents provided information regarding their role, practice type, as well as knowledge, attitudes, and use of SSCs. Respondents also provided information about performance of SSPs including team introductions; confirmation of antibiotic prophylaxis, patient identity, procedure to be performed; and confirmation of completion of all procedures.
A greater proportion of Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (49/77 [64%]) reported using an SSC than other veterinarians (257/1157 [22%]; P < .0001). A greater proportion of veterinarians working in university and multispecialty hospitals reported using a SSC (71/142 [50%]) than in other practice settings (235/1092 [22%]; P < .0001). Use of a SSC correlated with consistent performance of surgical safety practices listed above (P < .0001). Primary care veterinarians commonly reported not using a SSC because they did not know about them (359/590 [61%]). Of the 507 respondents who had ever used a SSC, 333 (66%) believed the checklist had prevented an error or complication.
Despite widespread knowledge and adoption of SSC use in human medicine, knowledge and use of SSCs is lacking in primary care veterinary practice. Checklist use has previously been shown to decrease post operative complications and in this study was correlated with increased use of SSPs that decreased complications.
OBJECTIVE To assess the prevalence of medical errors (specifically, near misses [NMs] and adverse events [AEs]) and their personal and professional impact on veterinarians.
DESIGN Cross-sectional study.
SAMPLE Members of the Veterinary Information Network (n = 46,481).
PROCEDURES An electronic survey regarding veterinarians' experiences with NMs and AEs was distributed via email to an online veterinary community between September 24 and October 21, 2015. Responses were summarized and compared between genders by means of the χ2 test.
RESULTS 606 veterinarians completed the survey (1.3% response rate). Overall, 447 (73.8%) respondents reported involvement in ≥ 1 NM (n = 389 [64.2%]) or AE (179 [29.5%]). The NMs had a short-term (≤ 1 week) adverse impact on professional life for 68.0% (261/384) of respondents and longer-term negative impact for 36.4% (140/385). The impact on respondents' personal lives was similar (63.6% [245/385] and 33.5% [129/385], respectively). For AEs, these numbers were 84.1% (148/176), 56.2% (99/177), 77.8% (137/176), and 50.6% (89/175), respectively. Both NMs and AEs were more likely to negatively impact female veterinarians than male veterinarians.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE These findings suggested that many veterinarians experience emotional distress after a medical error. Support should be provided to mitigate this adverse impact on the wellbeing of veterinarians and, potentially, their future patients.
Quality assurance is an implied concept inherent in every consumer's purchase of a product or service. In laboratory testing, quality assurance encompasses preanalytic (sampling, transport, and handling prior to testing), analytic (measurement), and postanalytic (reporting and interpretation) factors. Quality-assurance programs require that procedures are in place to detect errors in all 3 components and that the procedures are characterized by both documentation and correction of errors. There are regulatory bodies that provide mandatory standards for and regulation of human medical laboratories. No such regulations exist for veterinary laboratory testing. The American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology (ASVCP) Quality Assurance and Laboratory Standards Committee was formed in 1996 in response to concerns of ASVCP members about quality assurance and quality control in laboratories performing veterinary testing. Guidelines for veterinary laboratory testing have been developed by the ASVCP. The purpose of this report was to provide an overview of selected quality-assurance concepts and to provide recommendations for quality control for in-clinic biochemistry testing in general veterinary practice.
Objective—To characterize sleeping respiratory rates (SRRs) and resting respiratory rates (RRRs), collected in the home environment, of dogs with subclinical heart disease that could result in left-sided congestive heart failure.
Design—Prospective cross-sectional study.
Animals—190 adult dogs with subclinical left-sided heart disease.
Procedures—Most dogs had mitral valve disease or dilated cardiomyopathy of various severities. Clients collected ten 1-minute SRRs or RRRs during a period ranging from 1 week to 6 months. Clinicians provided echocardiographic and medical data on each patient.
Results—The within-dog mean SRR (SRRmean; 16 breaths/min) was significantly lower than the within-dog mean RRR (RRRmean; 21 breaths/min). Seven dogs had SRRmean and 33 dogs had RRRmean > 25 breaths/min; 1 dog had SRRmean and 12 dogs had RRRmean > 30 breaths/min; these dogs mostly had a left atrial (LA)-to-aortic ratio > 1.8. Dogs with moderate LA enlargement had a significantly higher SRRmean than did other dogs. However, median SRRmean for each of 4 levels of LA enlargement was < 20 breaths/min; median RRRmean for each of 4 levels of LA enlargement was < 25 breaths/min. Both within-dog SRR and RRR remained stable for 10 consecutive measurements. Treatment with cardiac medications or presence of pulmonary hypertension was not associated with SRRmean or RRRmean.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that dogs with confirmed subclinical left-sided heart disease of various severities generally had SRRmean < 25 breaths/min, which was infrequently exceeded at any time, and that SRR and RRR remained stable, regardless of individual within-dog SRRmean or RRRmean. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2013;243:839–843)
OBJECTIVE To develop and validate a Burden Transfer Inventory (BTI) of stressful client behaviors and to evaluate whether those behaviors are associated with client caregiver burden and contribute to veterinarian stress and burnout.
SAMPLE 1,151 small animal veterinarians and 372 dog and cat owners.
PROCEDURES During stage 1, a pool of 34 items representing stressful client behaviors was created through open-ended surveys of practicing veterinarians and 3 phases of pilot testing. During stage 2, 1,151 veterinarians recruited through the Veterinary Information Network completed a survey including those behavior items and validated measures of stress and burnout. Completed surveys were randomly assigned to either a measure development or validation database for factor and item analyses. Data were then combined to determine whether the BTI was correlated with measures of stress and burnout. During stage 3, owners of dogs and cats with a serious illness completed an online survey to assess how frequently they engaged in each BTI item as well as a validated measure of caregiver burden.
RESULTS For dog and cat owners, there was a significant positive correlation between caregiver burden and the frequency that those owners reported engaging in BTI items. The frequency that veterinarians reported encountering BTI items was positively correlated with measures of stress and burnout, which suggested burden transfer from owners to veterinarians. The extent to which veterinarians reported being bothered by BTI items was a more robust predictor of stress and burnout than the frequency with which those items occurred.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated the BTI can be used to understand how client behaviors associated with caregiver burden affect veterinarian stress and burnout. The BTI may be useful to identify specific stressors affecting individual veterinarians and how they react to those stressors.