How big data could transform the veterinary industry

Posted by Justin Hesser on October 17, 2013

We've written before about how doctors and hospital administrators could work with software developing companies to better provide health care. Recently, though, it's a different kind of patient that could be seeing the benefits of more thorough database management. Many of them even have four legs and fur. 

No, there isn't a sudden unexplained outbreak of lycanthropy. Rather, veterinarians are coming to the conclusion that implementing big data principles could lead to big improvements in the way their business functions. The benefits of such a shift would be twofold: Not only would they be able to more effectively treat animals, they would also increase their financial viability in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Much of the data at veterinary offices is kept in paper files and other offline systems. Because of this, information is difficult to access and share easily among different practices. Partnering with software developing companies would allow these businesses to organize and cultivate this data to provide useful insights. For example, effective use of information could help vets identify pet health trends in real-time and identify the outbreak of major diseases in livestock early enough to control the spread. 

There's also a strong financial incentive. The industry is losing valuable sales and add-on services to pet supply shops, despite its marked advantage in scientific pet knowledge. Big data analysis could provide valuable insights into money-making opportunities, such as potential partnerships with pet supply companies. On the livestock side, a major disease outbreak could be financially catastrophic. According to Reuters, the outbreak of mad cow disease cost U.S.ranchers and beef processors $11 billion between 2004 and 2007. With effective data management, that number could have been drastically smaller. Could your business use custom database software to protect itself too?