BOB MURTAUGH SHARES HIS THOUGHTS ON ONE HEALTH CARE
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The challenges are many, and the landscape has changed significantly since my graduation in 1980…technology advances, human-animal bond catching fire, agribusiness evolving, gender shift, and knowledge explosion in the profession, you name it!
We need to change the paradigm on delivery of and access to care for all of our constituents; for example, at least 40% of pet owners do not have access to veterinary care; farmers in several rural areas, including in my home state of Minnesota, struggle to get needed veterinary services.
As a veterinary community we find and implement access to care solutions, including pressing issues such as well-being, student debt, and diversity/inclusion. We must welcome telemedicine applications as our human healthcare colleagues have over the past decades. Let’s not keep the door closed on a tool that may be one of the only available to many for accessing needed care.
We need more veterinary technicians, too! And as a profession, we must maximize the efficient use of veterinary technicians to ensure they are playing at the top of their game….so we can best serve our clients, and our technicians will be motivated to stay on the team long-term!
Even with maximized tech utilization, we need to explore and establish mid-level practitioners in our profession, something we can also learn from our human medical colleagues. Our physician colleagues could not imagine practicing or handling community medical needs without Physician Assistants or Nurse Practitioners. Adopting a similar approach in veterinary medicine could spell the difference in access to care in all aspects of our profession, including especially challenged areas such as rural mixed animal, equine, and shelter practice. And along with leveraging increased access to care, mid-level practitioners would provide concomitant increases in practice revenues….opportunity, not threat!
In addition, we need to maintain the rigor and eliminate the rigidity that has crept into the training of specialists; we have unwittingly limited training opportunities, while the goal truly has to be to train more veterinary specialists to meet the needs of academia and private practice.
I love this profession and the people in it.
My personal experiences and broad background give me a clear view of where our profession needs to go, and I look forward to the possibility of working with you to bring that collective vision to reality with our collaborative efforts over the coming years.