Smartphones, when smartly employed, are a powerful but often overlooked way to enhance patient care and client perceptions. Following are 5 ways to improve patient care by leveraging clients’ smartphones.
There's an app for that!
Following are some of the many apps clients can use that will help them and their veterinary team provide better care for their pets.
|The App||The Application|
|Clients can keep digital journals of the pet’s activities|
|Clients can use to check their pet’s heart or respiratory rate|
RVC Pet Epilepsy Tracker
RVC Pet Diabetes
|Both help clients keep disease logs and remind them about specific disease care (eg, injection sites and times for diabetic pets)|
|Medisafe Meds & Pill Reminder||Clients can track multiple medications|
|Clients can use for scheduling appointments, ordering medications and pet food, and more|
Pet Poison Helpline
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
|Both provide clients with information on pet toxicity and connect pet owners with a poison control center|
|SloPro||Allows clients to video and document pet injuries (eg, lameness) in slow motion|
At-home management of certain diseases can overwhelm clients. Smartphones offer a lot of ways of easing the overload that comes with rigorously detailed treatments.
Basic applications like Evernote and Google Keep enable clients to keep digital journals of their pet’s activities that can be easily shared with their vet and remain in sync across devices.
Apps like BPM Tap or VetCalc+ have built-in tempo counters that allow clients to simply tap the screen corresponding to the heart or respiratory rate they are trying to count. These apps automatically output the rate based on the taps, and some will even store logs.
Some organizations are leading the way in disease-specific apps. The Royal Veterinary College has 2 apps worth checking out: RVC Pet Epilepsy Tracker6 and RVC Pet Diabetes.7 Both can help clients keep disease logs, access trusted reference information, and store the practice’s contact information. The diabetes app helps remind clients to rotate injection sites, provides graphical displays of glucose measurements, and even incorporates a validated tool to help track quality of life. Simply search the app store for “Royal Veterinary College.”
Helping with Medications
Clients dealing with pets on multiple medications may benefit from one of the many apps available that help organize and remind pet owners. One stand-out app, Medisafe Meds & Pill Reminder, has a visual interface that imitates a pill box that is easy to use and is particularly helpful because clients can track their own medications, other family member medications, and pet medications all in one place.
Accessing Trusted Information
Google, although the fastest way to get an answer, is not always the safe or right answer. Always look to trusted reference resources, like Pet Poison Helpline and ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Each has their own apps, which provide information on pet toxicity.
Last but not least, look no further than the built-in functionality of most modern smartphones. Lights, cameras, microphones, speakers, GPS, and accelerometers extend superpowers to those who hold these tiny pocket computers.
The camera app is a useful tool that allows clients who are describing findings. Pro-tip: Record with video rather than still photography. Even when documenting skin lesions, live video can assist the veterinary team by giving clearer context. Apps like SloPro are available to help clients document video in slow motion (eg, lameness documentation at home).