Have you ever paused during a chaotic day at your hospital and said, “There has to be a better way!” A better way to deliver Veterinary medical care, achieve efficiency and productivity, engage the clients, and provide the team with work/life fit! The short answer is Yes! The longer answer is that many people and organizations are thinking just like you – there is a better way – and taking action.

At this year’s Veterinary Innovation Summit (VIS), progressive thinkers were offering disruptive solutions, breaking barriers to improve access to care, and addressing key emerging issues – all to drive positive change and create a better way for Veterinary professionals to care for patients, clients, and team members. VIS is not your typical Veterinary conference. While there are a variety of session topics and exhibitors, there is also a pitch competition showcasing innovative companies and networking opportunities – all focusing on the future of the Veterinary industry.

One of the keynote speakers, Bertalan Meskó, MD, PhD, and Director of the Medical Futurist Institute, gave a fantastic talk on the future of medicine, healthcare, technology, and digital health. Dr. Meskó challenged the attendees to think about the future and how technology can bring about a better partnership between clients and Veterinary professionals. You can find him at The Medical Futurist (https://medicalfuturist.com/). To get you started on thinking about better ways to deliver care, check out his most recent article, “8 Practical Predictions for the Near Future of Healthcare,” at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/8-practical-predictions-near-future-healthcare-mesk%C3%B3-md-phd-c9iuf/.

There was a special session at VIS – a roast. The guest of honor was Mark Cushing, founder and CEO of the Animal Policy Group (https://animalpolicygroup.com/ ). Mark was welcomed into the Veterinary industry years ago, has a reputation for being a change-maker, and is well respected for his and his team’s work. In addition to working with all 50 state Legislatures, Veterinary Medical Boards, and Pharmacy Boards to develop strategies and build coalitions, Mark is also an author.  His recent book, “Pet Nation,” discusses the shift of pets from the backyard to sleeping in our beds. The roast was both funny and thoughtful, and I wish him continued success as he works with industry partners to make things better.

I was really impressed with the presentation “Access to Care Updates” by Dr. Mike Greenberg, co-founder of The Veterinary Care Accessibility Project (https://www.accesstovetcare.org/). Dr. Greenberg shared data on the Veterinary shortage and created a heat map of the US highlighting the shortage. Keep your eyes open for the next VCAS Version 2.0 with data on pricing, disease, health conditions, payment plans, and more.

One of the highlights of the event was the startup pitch competition. Two familiar faces whom I have seen pitch before, Inventory Ally and High Five, and a new company called Veterinarian Electronic Assistant (VEA) competed this year. Everyone did a great job, and I saw significantly improved pitches compared to previous competitions. Congratulations to Emmitt Nantz of Inventory Ally for winning this year’s pitch. Part of this year’s prize includes a complimentary booth in the startup area at VMX. Check out these great companies at https://inventoryally.com/, https://www.highfive.vet/, and https://www.veterinarianelectronicassistant.com/, to see how they can make things better at your practice.

As with anything new, there will be hurdles. – cost, integration challenges, resistance to change, and training time. Sometimes, it seems that the tools meant to provide better patient care create more work. However, despite these challenges, numerous benefits exist, such as improved record-keeping, enhanced communication, and more efficient practice management. In order to make patient care and hospital operations better, veterinarians must stay abreast of technological advances.

VIS is a two-day event where attendees can learn about significant trends impacting the Veterinary industry today and in the future through keynote addresses, breakout sessions, and networking events. This year’s schedule included  30 speakers and over 20 thought-provoking topics. Be sure to subscribe to the newsletter at https://veterinaryinnovationcouncil.com/veterinary-innovation-summit/ for updates and to stay connected with professionals building a better way to deliver Veterinary care.