In recent years we have seen advances in medical technology that would have been unimaginable just a few decades ago. From improvements in diagnostic imaging to data recording, today’s advances allow healthcare professionals to get more reliable data to determine the right course of treatment.
The term “medical technology” is mostly associated with the field of human health. Even so, as Héctor Gómez pointed out in an interview for El País, many of the advances in human health are also reflected in veterinary health: “We have the great advantage that everything that is done to research human medicine, or at least a large percentage of it, ends up being applied in veterinary medicine”.
But what do we mean by medical technology and how does it benefit the veterinary field?
What Is Medical Technology?
Medical technology is “the drugs, devices, medical and surgical procedures used in medical care”, according to the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). In other words, any advance in the field of medicine could be considered a technological advancement.
However, when we talk about medical technology today, we are mainly referring to the software and hardware that have started to be introduced in many veterinary clinics and allow us to improve the quality of service we offer.
In fact, these changes have transformed the way we operate in many areas of the clinic, speeding up some processes or even automating them. Thanks to medical technology in veterinary medicine, it has also been possible to improve collaboration between specialists
What are the benefits of this technological revolution? Among others, a longer life for patients and increased profitability for businesses. Let’s take a look at some concrete examples where these changes have been applied.
One of the most relevant improvements in veterinary clinics is the democratisation of the use of CT and digital radiography, as well as MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or X-ray. A few decades ago, this type of technology could only be used in a few hospitals and specialised clinics. Now, however, it’s much easier to access these instruments that show a high quality image within a few seconds.
Other tools that are revolutionising veterinary clinics are ultrasound scanners. In recent years, we have seen a significant reduction in the size of ultrasound scanners, allowing greater mobility for the practitioner.
In addition, the instrument is becoming more and more affordable, making it possible to have one in a clinic. There has also been a qualitative leap in image quality, which can be viewed directly on screens and tablets. Thanks to these changes, ultrasound scans will become more and more common for everyday consultations.
Monitoring for 24 Hours or More
The rise of wearables in veterinary clinics has also brought many advantages, especially for post-operative patients. Thanks to options such as the multi-parametric harness, the animal can be monitored by a professional, without having to be disturbed every few hours.
It’s possible to record up to 7 patient parameters over several hours, so that changes in the animal can be compared. This function is also very useful for post-operative monitoring from home, avoiding the need for the pet owner to keep a manual record of the pet’s behaviour.
Telemedicine in the Veterinary Sector
Finally, another notable change is the rise of telemedicine, which has been made possible by improved communication channels. Through a video call and/or the use of a wearable, the veterinarian can monitor the patient without the need to travel. Thanks to this change, the animal can be supervised by a professional, without having to suffer the stress of going to the clinic. At the same time, it makes the expert’s opinion available for more complicated cases (optimising time and resources).
New Tools to Facilitate the Veterinarian’s Work
In short, medical technology in the human field also benefits the development of new tools for veterinary medicine. Thanks to these advances, veterinarians have new tools at their disposal to help them reach more reliable diagnoses and ensure the well-being of their patients.
These technologies will not replace the work of a veterinarian, but act as a complement to support their hypotheses. What can you do if you are a veterinarian or have a veterinary practice? In this case, we recommend that you continue to keep up with the rapid advances in this field, so that you can continue to improve your practice’s procedures from year to year.