The Promising Potential Of AI Tools In Veterinary Medicine
Alex Douzet is CEO of Pumpkin, a pet insurance and wellness care provider founded to help ensure pets live their healthiest lives.
The surge of publicly-available artificial intelligence (AI) tools has caught many industries off guard. Yet, as innovation cycles are compressed to shorter periods, every industry will be compelled to learn and adapt.
The veterinary medicine field has already made significant technological advancements in recent years, but AI is poised to take them to the next level. Informed by my experience building tools and applications with AI, I predict AI tooling will fundamentally change how veterinary medicine is delivered. Best of all, it has the potential to enable veterinarians to provide an even higher quality of care to pets.
Pet Owners Are Early Adopters Of AI Tools
Historically, pet owners have catalyzed shifts in the veterinary industry. They quickly embraced data analytics to study their pets’ health, with GPS tracking and health monitoring technologies becoming increasingly popular. Modern pet owners influenced better appointment scheduling software and more billing solutions in veterinary practices as well as increased the demand for 24/7 telemedicine services. Now, many are pushing for AI.
Pet owners are already using AI tools to analyze their pet’s health, as demonstrated by the viral Twitter thread where a man described how he successfully used ChatGPT to analyze his dog’s health tests. To explore its capabilities, I experimented with AgentGPT by asking it to create a customized care plan for a six-month-old French bulldog. The results were not perfect, but impressive. AgentGPT reduced weeks’ worth of personal research and veterinary consultations into a cohesive plan, including a vaccine schedule, supplement recommendations and meal plans.
As tools like AgentGPT and newly-created VetGPT evolve, the industry faces a future where pet owners will demand that AI software analyze their pet’s results in addition to the veterinarian. Just as we once considered the stethoscope experimental but now consider it standard practice, pet owners will expect AI to be used as a tool that veterinarians leverage to assess their pet’s health or symptoms.
AI Can Increase The Efficiency Of Veterinary Practices
AI can never replace the expertise of veterinary staff. It can’t pick up a scalpel to perform surgeries or demonstrate how to administer at-home physical therapy. However, integrating AI tools can enhance the efficiency and productivity of practices. Currently, tasks like data entry and diagnostic test analyses are time-consuming. This is where AI can excel, for it can perform these tasks more efficiently than humans.
For staff to get started with AI, the tools don’t have to be veterinary-specific to add value. By using accessible options like ChatGPT or software with embedded AI like Notion and Slack, practice staff can reduce time spent on manual data entry or drafting transactional emails. ChatGPT, for example, is great at helping efficiently organize and summarize information, so your staff can use it to simplify medical records and SOAP notes.
While it requires upfront investment, practices can also opt to leverage AI-powered tools designed specifically for veterinarians. For example, VETSCAN IMAGYST is a first-of-its-kind tool by Zoetis that uses image recognition to effectively identify parasite infections (full disclosure: Zoetis is a shareholder in my company). Another unique tool is SignalPET, which uses machine learning to analyze radiographic tests and identify common diseases.
Generative AI also has untold potential for veterinary practices. These tools can already process data and identify patterns with unmatched speed and accuracy. Soon they’ll learn how to provide automated diagnoses and create personalized medicine recommendations based on specific breed traits. If an untrained AI could accurately diagnose conditions based on blood work patterns, just imagine the diagnostic capabilities of an AI trained on millions of pet health records.
Greater Efficiency Creates More Time To Deliver Personalized Care
The demand for veterinary care is high, but each hospital is limited in its ability to meet that demand with its labor supply. Time saved by automating tasks means more time is available for staff to focus on the aspects of the job they love: performing life-saving treatments, providing personalized care and bonding with pets and pet owners.
Increased efficiency in practices also has the potential to reduce the overall cost of care for pet owners. In my experience, much of the cost of veterinary care to pet owners consists of labor costs. If practices deploy AI to automate image analyses, language processing and predictive analytics, that can help veterinarians make higher-quality care available for the same cost or lower cost to pet owners.
To embrace the potential of AI, veterinary staff should foster curiosity about AI in their practices and get creative with new ways to use AI in their everyday work. Once integrated, AI can significantly improve veterinary medicine with more accurate diagnoses, personalized treatment plans and disease prevention. This greatly benefits veterinary staff as they can devote more time to delivering exceptional care and a great client experience.
Since I’ve dedicated the last decade of my career to helping pets live the best lives possible, I look forward to being a part of this revolutionary next chapter in pet health care.
Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2023/06/08/the-promising-potential-of-ai-tools-in-veterinary-medicine/?sh=44f5dabb75a4