Answers to rural veterinarian shortage may lie in technology

An initiative at the University of Illinois is exploring how technology could help alleviate the shortage of rural veterinarians.

Jim Lowe at the U of I’s College of Veterinary Medicine says they’re thinking outside of the box…

“Everything from sensors, to classic telehealth, to how do we use artificial intelligence to think better, because there’s probably a lot of solutions out there.”  He says, “We just have to adapt healthcare to veterinary care that exist already.”

He tells Brownfield the project is a collaborative effort within the University…

“We have wonderful engineers and so we’re partnering with that community and we’ve got a donor who’s been kind enough to really spur that activity and provide significant support.”  He says, “The vision of that is how do we do care differently so that we can meet those underserved areas?”

But there are challenges to overcome…

There are some regulatory challenges about what do we do with supervision and can technicians do things or veterinary nurses do things and what can they do and what they cannot do.”  He says, “And there’s how do we deliver care? And so, there’s a lot of work to do.”

Lowe says the goal is to turn out the most productive veterinarian graduates possible.  He says they hope to see advancements from the research within the next five years.

AUDIO: Jim Lowe – U of I College of Veterinary Medicine

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