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Veterinary Ethics In The Digital Age


The digital age has ushered in many changes in our everyday lives. Many of the things we do regularly can be done solely through the use of technology. Even veterinary medicine can be done online in certain cases, and while this can be convenient, it is also controversial, as it raises ethical and legal questions.

Millennials are the largest demographic of pet owners as well as the largest users of smartphones and other technology. The increased use of technology means new responsibilities as well as challenges. What will happen to the veterinarian-client experience in the future? How will it change?

Client expectations are changing. Pet owners are focusing on the experience they have with their veterinarian. The veterinarian needs to maintain their position as a trusted advisor for animal care, regardless of technology.

New technologies will revolutionize pet care, making it easier for veterinarians to connect with clients and transform the client experience. The right data and software can help veterinary medicine realize the four Ps of medicine: participatory, personalization/precision, prevention, and prediction.

This requires that veterinarians understand how technology works and not be scared of it. They must be knowledgeable about how to best use technology. They have to select the right software and applications to align with their visions and goals.

However, technology can bring about unexpected issues, such as data privacy concerns. Customers and veterinarians alike should be concerned about data-collecting companies that may sell data. In many cases, the information that clients share with veterinary practices can be shared beyond the clinic. Veterinarians will be faced with decisions about how to use the information. Veterinary clinics primarily use this data for marketing purposes. They want to identify their clients’ spending habits so they can determine who has the money to spend on pet care.

Therefore, veterinarians should keep the following in mind:

  • Do engage in technology. Don’t get left out of the technology loop. However, do so with full knowledge. Don’t agree to terms you don’t understand.
  • Take control of data. Let clients know that you will never share their personal information or other data without express permission.
  • Consider cloud-based product information management software. This ensures the practice’s data is always backed up. It also reduces the risk of unintended or forgotten data connections.

Digital assets will be needed to prevent commercial use of the data. There will need to be constant vigilance to protect data from unintended negative consequences, prevent animal diseases, and improve the veterinary practices’ financial health.

Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Veterinarian Licensing Lawyer

It’s important that veterinarians keep up with changes in technology, as this can impact ethics. Pet owners are relying more on technology for all aspects of life—even pet care. As a result, veterinarians need to stay up to date on trends and the ethics involved.

Concerned about making ethical decisions? Tampa veterinarian licensing lawyer David P. Rankin can assist you with licensing and disciplinary matters. Schedule a consultation today by calling (813) 968-6633 or filling out the online form.